I moved out. Out of DH's home. I took three, and soon four of our children with me. I moved on. I found someone else. I found refuge from the fighting, frustration, and general feeling of ambivalence that had taken over my life. Mentally, I left a long time ago. I left the moment that I woke up with my eye swollen shut and my hair matted with blood. Each day, as I watched the bruising fade and the scar emerge, I left just a little bit more, until finally I wasn't an emotional presence, and at last, not a physical presence in his home any longer.
I lost myself in those last months, I lost a little of my sanity, a lot of my pride. I lost my ability to focus, make decisions, and really even to function. I drank to the point of excess. I took pills to try and recover what I had lost...me. I avoided my home, DH, and by proxy, my own children. I snapped.
Then, I met J. Slowly, I started to wake up from the walking coma I was in. I could assess what my life had become while I was beyond caring about myself. It wasn't pretty. At first he was a solid reassuring presence that helped me feel strong. Then he became the rock that anchored me when I was missing my children. Finally, he became my best friend. For the first time in my life, I knew what love wasn't. Love wasn't what I thought I had for this last decade and change. Love wasn't roses, empty words, broken promises, or flashy declarations.
One day when Iwoke up, I knew what I had been missing all these years, because he was sleeping peacefully next to me. Love. I found it when it was unsought and even an unknown entity. I realized that it was the strength shared with me, the shoulders helping hold my burdens, the quiet acceptance of me at both my best and my worst. Love was the feeling that compelled me to watch him sleep, the sadness I felt when we weren't together, the unmitigated joy when we were. I was in love for the first time in my life. It was quite the realization for a mother of seven.
Of course nothing can be as simple as just a happy ending. DH was convinced he wanted to keep the children, and I let him. I thought it would be the easiest way to prove to him that he wants the joy of having his children close, not the work of raising them. It was a good plan I thought, but, I couldn't have been more wrong. He stopped cleaning, doing laundry, taking care of the kids...or rather after I left, he never started. Then on a Saturday morning I was 'surprised' when DCF ordered my kids out of the house due to the conditions inside.
I blame myself. I should have fought to get him to let me in before it came to a head, afterall, I knew he didn't know how to be the parent in charge. Things shifted. Suddenly instead of just fighting him, I was fighting the state too. The children went to stay at my Aunt's house for a few days while
To this point I had been cherishing each and everyday with J, I mean, who would want a woman with seven children? I decided I had found the answer to the age old question, "Is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?" I knew it was better to have loved, I wasn't sure how I was going to deal with the inevitable loss, but, I figured time would tell. Much to my surprise, out of the ashes that had become my life, came something beautiful. It turned out J wasn't just my true love, he was also going to be my forever love. He didn't just love me, he loved my kids too.
We moved the baby girls into our home, previously known as J's home, first. Then came my 10 year old. Saturday, he saved my dogs' lives. He rescued them from the 'rescue.' At least he rescued the two of my dogs that didn't die in there. He built them a phenomenal shelter out in the vast, but, sadly unfenced backyard. As soon as the remodel is done in the back bedroom, Baby Z will join us here too. As you can see, I didn't underestimate true love.
He doesn't just want to be there for my children, he wants to be there for our children. He may not be their father, but, he is fast becoming Daddy. At first it was 'J,' then it was 'Daddy J,' and now more often than not, it is just 'Daddy.' Did I die and go to heaven? I keep wondering...
My 6 year old adores him too, and while my 12 and 14 year olds resent the hell out of me, they both like and respect J. The 14, 12, and 6 year olds will stay with DH. He is better able to handle the older children, and they want to be with him. The happiest balance that is possible, has been found. We live less than four miles away from DH, so the visits are nearly daily.
As for me, I have found the man who puts his arms around all of us, because he is just big and strong enough to be able to, and tells me, "It is us against the world baby, through thick and thin." I believe him. He is brilliant, handsome, loving, funny, tender. He was my salvation, and now he and my children, our little family, are my whole world.
From now on this Proud mom is blogging from the happiest point in her life, about our lives, and I think I am going to love it...I hope you all, my bloggy friends, will keep following me, commenting, and supporting me. Just like 'Footprints,' this is where I need as much help as possible, to be carried through these rough patches, because there is still a long, hard, steep, road ahead.