Part Five- Interlude

Focused and Unfocused

If we were to keep with the curtain metaphor from the last entry, we’d call this intermission.

A new dawning had happened in our lives. Our darling son, C. had been born. Suddenly what mattered didn’t and what didn’t matter did.  I went from working full time, as I had been doing for so many years up until then, to staying at home.  Sometimes I felt at a loss.

All I had learned of having kids while working with kids flew out the window.  The things you were told were right felt wrong.  Given my background in child development, I began researching.  We became an attachment parenting family and it felt right.  I honestly could write so much more about the different aspects of parenting like this, but I know it’s a tangent that will just avoid the painful topic this blog is about.

P. was a loving and doting father.  At some point, that began to taper off.  He was always loving, but C. began to matter less.  I began to matter less.  P. began to push the boundaries we had established after S.  He began to talk to female co-workers about their relationships.  This is how he told me S. drew him in, by asking for a ‘guy’s perspective’.  We agreed…that was a boundary not to be crossed.  He crossed it and told me it was ok- as long as he didn’t reciprocate by talking about us.  There were other incidents of me struggling with my trust.  But I had been counselled to ‘forgive and forget’.  P. had insisted I don’t show my pain, or even be overly effusive in my love.  He called it manipulative.

So I buried it.  I focused on our family.  I had already been exposed though, and the illness began to take root.  The depression that slowly grew was blamed on postpartum depression, on my Gram dying, on the lifestyle changes. Never once did anyone dig deep enough to make the connection.  Finally, on the heels of a job disappointment, P. decided to take a job in Hawai’i.  He believed the sun would wash away the depression.  He refused to listen to me when I told him that it was the situation that needed to be changed.  I felt unloved and ignored.  He thought things were just fine.  My attitude needed to be adjusted.  It wasn’t him.  It couldn’t be him.  I had the cause of my pain buried so deep that even I didn’t realize what this was all about.  I just longed to be heard, to be loved.

This habit of not listening is deeply ingrained in P.  I watch him totally tune out his mother.  I can’t stand for it, it’s so disrespectful to me- not acknowledging a human being is speaking to you.  He didn’t listen to me either though.  Our first home he insisted on buying.  Our first dog, a Greyhound.  The move to Hawai’i.  Even the house we bought in Hawai’i…and another Greyhound.  As though the first hadn’t been so emotionally unstable we had to return him.

We lived in Hawai’i for a year and a half.  During that time, P. was pretty much in paradise.  He could play gold of his lunch breaks, go the the beach whenever.  To be honest, I don’t really know what his life was like then.  I know I suspected him of cheating, but I had on and off over the years and he still denies it to this day.  C. and I were isolated.  We didn’t fit in unless we were in a tourist area.  There were very few stay-at-home-moms and those I met were hard to wedge myself in with, I was an outsider.  I was also trapped by this mild but chronic depression. I found a church, the only fellowship I got was when they learned I used to work in childcare.  Suddenly I would get phone calls asking me to volunteer.  When I sat alone during fellowship time, tears streaming down my face, I was not good enough. We did go through an intense period of lovebird nesting.  So much so that by the time we had an opportunity to move back, I was six months pregnant with our second child. We did go through an intense period of lovebird nesting.  So much so that by the time we had an opportunity to move back, I was six months pregnant with our second child.

We moved back home.  The housing prices had come up.  We had to live in a rental.  I had a hard time fitting back into my old life after being isolated for so long.  Our second child was born about two months after we got back to the mainland.  Unlike C., J. was a fussy one.  She was great at first, but then fought sleep as I paced the rental.

I was fighting depression all the time it felt like.  I found a therapist and went onto anti-depressants.  The problem was, no dose was high enough to take away the suicidal thoughts.  I began to have full body shakes and insomnia.  The anxiety attacks were the worst though.  My therapist refused to switch me since J. was breastfed and she didn’t want to play with meds that were working for her.  Even when I researched other alternatives.  I eventually ended up just never going back.

After two years, P. decided it was time to own our own home again.  He looked at the other side of the D.C. ‘burbs.  It wasn’t as built up there.  He found a house.  We agreed- it just wasn’t for us.  I had been watching the signs and I knew the housing market was finally falling.  No, that wasn’t to be.  P. insisted on buying the house even though we had agreed not to.  So we moved.  Two hours from my closest friends.

Two Lives

I decided to make the best of this situation.  We moved near the end of the school year and I spent part of the week commuting C. to his last weeks of school.

Then I began to look around and try to get into the community.  I did not want it to be like it was in Hawai’i.  I started a mom’s group based on my interests in attachment parenting.  I found a couple of playgroups and tried them out, I started to go to Weight Watchers and I began to explore the streets I ran my errands on.  I amped up my little at home business of sewing and crafting.

I did the mom thing like I never had before.  I juggled appointments, tried to keep our home nice, attempted to socialize even out of my comfort zone.  All the while, P. began to come home later and later, blaming new traffic patterns.  I knew for sure we had a problem when I tried to kiss him and he turned his face.  I couldn’t say anything that night, but I confronted him the next day.  In a series of emails he said that it was obvious I didn’t love him any more and wanted a divorce.  He kept pushing it.  I begged for marriage counceling instead.  He kept dragging his feet.  Desperate, I ordered some sex toys.  We had never used anything beyond bodypaint.  I wanted to be what he needed and if that was it, I was going to be that.

By the time that non-descript box came in the mail, P. had pushed me away so thouroughly that I just hid the box and its contents in my sewing room.

By early November I realized I was pregnant.  There was a faint positive on the test, I hadn’t been charting but I knew the signs and knew the last time we had sex we had cut it too close to ovulation.  I was torn.  I had wanted a third, I had a third.  Now though, I was looking at being a single mom to two and one on the way.  I began making plans to free myself.  To go back to our old college town where I had a church and support.  In the meantime I sought out a church nearby.

I’m not even sure I can define the misery I felt during September ‘06 and the end of the year.  I would crawl into the bathroom in the middle of the night, shutting the two doors between myself and my sleeping family.  I would howl silently, beating myself on the breastboone for maximum pain, minimum bruising.  Not that P. would have noticed anyway.  He had all but completely checked out from the entire family.

One day, when I was maybe seven weeks along, I began cramping.  My period started and it was awful.  The same tissues were present as the time I lost an early pregnancy right before I concieved J.  I had no reason to hide this secret anymore.  I had kept it to myself, I didn’t want P. to feel trapped in a marriage that he didn’t want due to a baby being on the way.  I told him, that night- days later- I can’t remember.  He was sad for me, said I could have told him, he would have understood.  It was a turning point of sorts.  I had seen glimpses of my husband in the weeks prior.  This was new.  He took an interest in us. I still felt isolated.  I lost my baby.  Not ours, mine.

One night soon after that I was in the bathroom again.  The pain was so palpable that I couldn’t believe my family couldn’t feel it.  My body shook with sobs, cried into my bitten lips.  My hands were trying to beat the pain out of my chest.  I cried out for help.  What I was given was the revelation of small demon-like creatures.  They had pointed ears and faces.  Their hands were like claws.  They had razor sharp teeth and they were tugging at me.  Trying to pull me to that brink of suicide that I had been to before.  Then, a thought in my head.  “Moment by Moment”.  I realized, moment by moment I could live through anything.  I bought a posey ring to remind me.  Divorced or married, I needed to adjust my life to moment by moment.  If not for myself, for my kids.  I thought I had found a church, but they were unwilling to provide the help our first church had.  So, I contacted my old pastor and his wife.  They prayed over me and reminded me, prayers are our moment to moment in this life.

I cooked my first from scratch Thanksgiving dinner.  Always until then we had gone to the in-laws or a friends.  I did cook a dinner in Hawai’i, but part of it was take-out from a local resteraunt. J. had just had oral surgery the day before and P. missed it due to training to prepare to go to Iraq. I pulled out all the stops and made sure I had his favorites.  He was kind, complimentary and loving.  I did fall apart a little when I was cooking all morning and nobody spoke to me, then again during clean up.  There was a blip that day.  T. the psuedo-sexual encounter guy had found my (other) blog.  From that, he found my MySpace page.  I had a tracker on the blog and could see he searched for his old username.  As if I would mention him in a blog about my life ten years later.  I didn’t even like to remember him.

He sent a fishing message through MySpace.  He didn’t sign his name and I only knew it was him due to the blog tracker.  I told P. and deleted the message, blocking him.  P. got very angry and kept insisting there was more between T. and myself if he looked me up after all this time.  I was so deep in denial I honestly kept insisting there wasn’t.  All I remembered after nearly a decade was the disgusting way he kissed, a feeling of intense shame and relief when P. knocked on my door.

The next weekend we went to get our Christmas tree.  It was one of two happy family outings between September and December.  The other was a trip to a local pumpkin farm and corn maze.  On both outings I felt my husband might actually love me.  I tried not to give myself false hope.  In the store, he put his hand on the small of my back to guide me through the crowds.  I put more into that protective gesture than maybe I should have.  When we got home, he was happy and loving and insisted on taking so many pictures of me.

I felt, things were looking up.  We had a chance.

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