Why keep 'em in the closet all the time? That's not fun.
Seriously though, we all have them. These bony little bastards hanging out in dark places, threatening to out us if we get too close to someone that likes us just the way we are. It's kind of scary actually...thinking if people knew the WHOLE truth, they'd hate you. We perpetuate this all the time when we chastise people for "airing their dirty laundry" in public, but how about the laundry that was dirty, that we're working diligently to get good and clean? What about that laundry? I feel like sometimes it's cathartic to share certain things that have hurt us, those we love and people we barely know...because sometimes when we share the hard stuff, we bless other people in the process.
Today, I'm ready to do just that.
A long time ago, I did something foolish. Something very much "Not Me." And the effects of that are still hanging around, in their own faint ways.
As most people know, seven years ago Jamie and I lost a baby boy. That's it's own story. When we left the hospital, we were given all sorts of pamplets about grief, and specifically about it's effects on marriage. Pffft, I thought. Maybe for OTHER couples not as close as Jamie and I. We'd be JUST fine thankyouverymuch. On the outside, I think we were. Or looked like it. We sort of went through the motions of life. We had a lot go on in a very short time.
Wednesday-Sonogram showing baby not okay
Thursday- Waiting for an appointment to see specialist, Googling my way into sheer insanity
Friday early morning- waking up not being able to breathe, getting into specialist, getting confirmation
Sunday-Wanting to die, getting a phone call that Jamie's grandmother has suffered stroke on the way home from church
Monday-Getting stuff ready some more, being really upset about Jamie's grandma
Tuesday-Mom coming in to take care of the kids
Wednesday-Had Matthew, came home
Thursday-Laid in bed, cried, cuddled my kids, Jamie had to go take a test at college, seriously!!
Friday-Mom was too sick to come and help? She wouldn't stay with us, but stayed down the road where there was a casino (hmmm....wink)
Saturday-HUGE blow up with my mother resulting in her storming out of the house shouting to my children "Bye, I'll never see you AGAIN." Lovely.
Sunday-Jamie's grandmother passes away
Mon-Trying to figure out how to get Jamie back home, making phone calls
Tuesday-Planning a trip, we're ALL going (Less than 7 days postpartum....)
Wednesday-Buy the van that will get us all there (we couldn't all fit in our van after getting my nieces) and get on the road to Missouri
Thursday-Arrive in Missouri, funeral, I am dragged to the food get together with the whole family, despite my overwhelming protests that I DID NOT WANT TO GO. But as it was with Jamie's family, my postpartum body, bleeding and exhausted should always cater to what was best for THEM. Lovely, again.
Friday-Visit with family
Exhausting. In every single possible way.
And then we just started life as usual. We fought more than usual. Usually over Jamie forgetting to pick up Matthew's ashes. He finally breaks down and admits he hasn't forgotten, he just can't face it. I am angry, completely unable to help him through his grief, because my own is so deep.
A monthish later, the girls we are supposed to adopt leave. In the middle of this, every Christian person I know has turned their back on me, chastising me for "aborting my baby" and not "taking in the orphans" as the Bible has directed us. It was a swell time, let me tell you what. I always love how people make judgments and think they can do better without having even one single fact about the circumstances. Like the fact that those girls had serious issues and that one was asking to play with my son's penis and wouldn't stop. So yeah, all one big ball of happiness ;) Not.
Time marched on and I faced severe insomnia. I couldn't sleep at all. I stayed up really late, on the internet, working. (I had a business at that time that was thriving. Sometimes being up late was necessary in order to chat with clients overseas) I did all this through Yahoo. My business contacts were ALL, without exception, moms with small businesses. So, yeah I had my profile picture up on my page, and I was ALWAYS available for chat.
One evening, or very early morning, I was still awake, and decided to see what was up in the chat rooms. I didn't know if they still even had real people in them or what, it had been forever since I chatted online. So I persued the Parenting and Arts and Crafts forum. Risque stuff right there. But it WAS. I was blown away that no matter what room I wandered into, I immediately got PMs saying "Hey there hottie, what are you wearing??? " and other such nonsense.
Until one dude just started chatting to me within the room. He wasn't rude, or gross, or obnoxious. Just "Hey how ya doing? Yeah I have kids too, I hate Dora, and I don't even want to THINK about what's in Chicken McNuggets because we eat them 8 times a week." Just normal stuff. Little did I know how good he was. And that was it. We just chit chatted. He could have been male or female, it didn't matter. It was interaction at 3 am, that I desperately needed.
Signed off, thought nothing about it.
Meanwhile, in our house, things weren't so good. Our intimate life was suffering, for reasons I really can't pin down at all. Maybe I was afraid of being too close, getting too close, whatever. I'm sure a counselor would have a field day with all the reasons that were there. In a very heated argument, my husband made a statement that infuriated me and I can't even remember how it was said, but it was something about me being a prude now. It was a cruel and hurtful thing to say, but in his defense, he was hurting and men get a lot of their love through physical attention. I think his goal was to get me to realize how my with holding this was affecting him, but in the end I felt like 'Oh yeah...you think I'm a prude??? I'll show you!!" Now, in MY defense, I wasn't myself at all during this time. I went CRAZY. Dyed my hair, lost weight, smoked cigarettes decided it was high time I tried pot (ha ha...high time,) routinely got my nails done, drove all over creation even though driving is something I hate, went to bartending school and got a job in a sleezy American Legion.
And I chatted with my new friend, and never once (at first) saw anything coming from it. I was a Mom. With a body nothing like it's 18 year old version and I just felt like there was this anti-sex forcefield around me. I was immune to all that nonsense. It was just chatting. To day I was naive was an understatment. I had gotten married so young and tucked safely under my husband's wing since I was 18. I had no idea what men (and women) were capable of.
Long story short, it morphed very fast. His intentions weren't pure and he drew me into considering the same. I wasn't nurturing a fantasy of clandestine meetings or "secret love" but the idea that maybe I had just married the wrong guy, maybe this OTHER guy would make everything better. Cliche, cliche, cliche. A very painful, demoralizing cliche. In the end, I told my husband and he was shattered. It didn't get better before it got a whole lot worse and it was a horrible, horrible time.
On a Saturday, I felt really sick and Jamie asked me to go to the drugstore just to get a pregnancy test to see if we might be expecting a baby. Even though we were fighting, we weren't totally frigid towards each other. Lo and behold, those two lines announced Mallory's existence, and the second, the VERY SECOND I saw them, everything switched back on for me. I was a Mom again. It was the weirdest thing. I got out my sewing machine and nested the entire nine months. I sewed and quilted and decorated and cleaned and hugged my belly over and over again. She didn't replace Matthew, but she did provide healing for me, in so many ways.
We really didn't talk about this that much once it was all said and done. Jamie asked if I wanted that "other" guy and I truthfully said no. It wasn't about him at all, it was this person who didn't see (see? On the computer? Not sure how that works, but whatever) the lady who had let her entire family and her entire FAITH family down by losing a baby and not adopting these two little girls. I felt honestly like if I wasn't a good Mom, than what was I? That's all I wanted to be good at (consequently, after finding out we were expecting Mallory, I was also ready to let go of the business I had built and I sold it for a not shabby price) I just felt at the time like I wanted all that to go away. I wanted a fresh start, but in the end, with a "fresh start" you can't bring all that you were and all that you've learned with you. A fresh start is new, it's not an extension of everything you've been.
I really hurt Jamie and he really hurt me and we haven't dealt with it until now. I explained I felt like he should have protected me to an extent. Kept me from that grievous sin instead of allowing me to be "my own person."
When my mother had that huge fight with us (that started because we wouldn't spank our children over something stupid....we just didn't agree with her method of disciple or her reasons for it) she went home and told everyone that knew me that my husband "controlled me" and all sorts of other nonsense. I am not sure where she got all this or what compelled her to lie in such a disgusting way (we're good now, but still...wow) but it REALLY affected Jamie. He knew he had a traditional wife, and I DID ask him before I bought anything big (and he did the same, but I digress) and I DID ask his opinion on things like what to eat for dinner, what dress to buy, what kind of flowers to plant...you know husband and wife things. But he said that statement by my mother really shook him up and make him question if he WAS a controlling husband, that wasn't "letting" his wife do things and he felt like if he asked me to stop staying up late, and running around, he would just confirm that's the kind of husband he was. And he said he couldn't stand the thought of being like that with me, because he loved me too much.
In the end, every single person in our circle let us down big time. The "friend" who accused us aborting Matthew, my family who made this horrible situation about them and their feelings, his family for not realizing his wasn't strong enough to support them all in the loss of his grandmother because he had just lost his son (His mother actually chided him for not "being there" for his sister, dealing with the loss of her grandmother....I still want to ring her neck for that. Hello he just lost his SON AND HIS GRANDMOTHER...why is NO ONE concerned with THAT??) Us for not realizing all that stuff about grief and marriage totally DID apply to us.
And I found out later this dude, the friendly one that just wanted to chat...then talk...then meet...then...whatever?? He was married to a lady I knew. As in REALLY knew and he was a low down cheating SOB who did it a lot . I wasn't special to him but in order to entertain that idea, I hurt the person who I WAS special to.
And now you know at least a little more about my very imperfect self. And my very imperfect husband. And how much we truly do love each other and want to be with each other, faults and all ;)