Monday, November 27, 2006

Growing Up Part 3's been awhile since I blogged much about the growing up process...

Like long enough to have had a baby. This has not happened in real life, believe you me - you'd have known. But since the
last installment on this series, I did have a baby. LMNOB.

I know why it's been so long for me to get to where I could write about this. Because the bitter of the bittersweet far outweighs the sweet of LMNOB's babyhood. And.....I hate it. Let's go back in time, shall we?

2000 to 2001 was a year of many changes for me personally, but also for us as a couple.

I graduated from college in December 2000. Up until that point, I'd always wrapped my self worth up in the role of being a good student. Now that I wasn't a student, how would I prove I was a person worthy of love?

Our marriage took a a few big hits from pornography that year. It wasn't the first time, and unfortunately, they weren't the last, either. The big incident occured about 6 weeks before LMNOB arrived...More whispers from the Prince of Deception about how unworthy I was.
I'd write more about that, but it's just not coming. It is written out in Chapter 21 of the book Every Heart Restored. Yep....that's our story, and it ain't pretty.

Up to the point of LMNOB's birth, and even after, I faced my torn ambivalence, hurts, and fears about my experiences with mother and daughterhood.

Talk about a tortured existence - worrying that I wouldn't get it right, mourning my derailed plans for the urban-chic lifestyle and wondering if I would ever look my child in the eye and say, "Because of you...", praying that nature would conquer the so-called nurtured part of my past. Still more whispers from the Prince of Deception, this time about how inadequate I would be.

Then...on March 1, 2001, she came. She came and she stole a piece of my heart. She shall forever have that piece until, and even after, this heart of mine stops beating.

What lay ahead for us was more of the above - and I remain convinced that had God not given me this tiny little angel to care for, I probably would not be here today - typing "memoirs" at the ripe age of 27, a mostly happily married, do-gooder mother of 2. I weep at having found this realization long after this time in our lives, and mourn that I didn't see her for the ray of golden sunshine that she was in my life at that time. And, don't get me wrong, she still is a ray of golden sunshine - she's just got the ability to sass along with shine nowadays.

In May of 2001, all of my college buddies - all 3 of them, lol- were graduating, moving away and becoming post-graduate career people. We attended a couple of graduation parties, with baby LMNOB in tow. That was weird, and grounds for a few fights as I saw Charlie Brown eyeing some of the more luscious co-eds around the town.

Money grew tighter and tighter, and it became clear that I needed to find a job. When LMNOB was 4 months old, I applied for all sorts of jobs. Office assistants, social work, child care, restaurant work, anything. When none panned out, my ego suffered.

And what was a nagging case of Post Partum Depression escalated in the midst of situational stressors. We're talking several nights where I had to talk myself out of "just going out for a drive....." right over Horsetooth Reservoir's steep cliffs.

I thank the Lord that He designed us such that we do not have memories (usually) of our infancies - because Charlie Brown and I were failures as parents that first year with LMNOB. We were not good to each other, either. I'd learned to numb myself and escape from reality as a child, but I mastered that skill during this time.

Just before LMNOB's first birthday, I secured a job with our local mental health center. Note to self: LMNOB should not go into teaching or non-profit/social work if she ver intends on repaying her student loans. It wasn't working with kids or families, but it was a job. And I took it, gladly. (If you do the math, it was SEVEN months of rejection letters) At the time, I saw it as just a job.

Now, however, I know that it was the starting place for me. I found myself in that job, not only in the friendships formed, or the job description - homeless outreach worker and subsidized housing coordinator for persons with mental illness - but also in the trials I faced with some programmatic frustrations, systemic barriers, and downright ethical dilemmas.

I like to think that I "came of age" there, even though I was married, a mother, and all of 22 prior to working there ;-)

Well......that wasn't so bad.....memory lane proves to be rough terrain, but not so bad when one is well-prepared. More next time...

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