She’s single and divorced now and heading home for Christmas. Her 15-year-old son is in tow. He’s quiet, but a good traveling companion.
Years ago, she had left her home in Colorado. Newly married, she and her husband began their life together in a city 12 hours down the road. They drove in those days. It was all they could afford.
She remembered their family all gathered to say goodbye around their U-Haul attached to their old truck. Back then, they couldn’t fill up that trailer. They had so little, and yet they had so much.
There’s something about adventure, starting up, and going on the journey that gives you hope. She and her new husband labored together. His job was tough and the hours long. She took a job as a clerk to help them make ends meet. When she found out she was pregnant for the first time, they made plans for her to quit to stay at home with the baby.
She didn’t see it then, but the lines of strain were beginning to form. The pressure of providing. The pressure of keeping up. The pressure of…pretending—perhaps that’s what they should have called it.
The first baby was followed by a quick second. The speed called for a pause as they wrestled through sleepless nights, changing diapers, and the pace of work and life. They did graduate to a bigger house and to better cars, and life seemed to be good. Yet the pause was longer than they thought, because the third time it didn’t happen as easily. Five years passed and they’d given up trying when a “surprise” popped up. Her “flu” symptoms were really just a baby in waiting.
But by that time, the strain had grown to cracks—a visible distance. It was an unspoken thing. It came into the room just needing to be called out, but neither had the words for it. She supposed she shouldn’t have been surprised when she noticed his work nights became later without explanation, along with the occasional weekend work trip. Next came the note on her nightstand, and he, a little sheepish about the affair, agreed quickly to her terms.
Her two oldest daughters returned to her family home in Colorado for college. They married and stayed there. So now at Christmas she packed up her son and headed home as well. When her son graduated, she suspected she’d move back to Colorado for good.
She knitted socks for her first grandchild. Not sad. Not happy. But she would press on for her story.
This was her family, and she would keep fighting for them.
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash
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Published December 27, 2019
Topics: Lessons with Bill