One of my favorite people moved house recently. I’ve basically been living with her the last couple of weeks as we edited her old house and moved her into her new home. It only figures, then, that she’s been on my mind; enough to substantiate her being the subject of last week’s Meditation and this one.
See, before that comment she made about moral support, we had stood together in her sons’ bedroom, just beginning the conversation of the editing process.
She, I’m sure, thought nothing of it, but I was overcome with the transformation that had occurred in the two years since I’d created that room.
Two years ago, we had stood together in that room–completely empty at the time. She had just separated from her husband, a man, were he to be characterized as a textbook narcissist, would be getting off stupidly easy. He was everything a genuine, loving partner was not. He was, instead, manipulative, controlling, and indescribably selfish, like a towering dictator of a small tribe.
It had taken everything she had within her–all the guts and chutzpa and homeschooling and homemade meatballs–for her to leave, which is to say that she didn’t exactly take a whole lot with her when she left, other than their five children.
So we started from scratch. She did. Together, we created a home for her and new family. Back then, underneath her resilience and pluck, she was shaky with doubt and desperation. She was doing the thing, but just barely. (Which, for the record, is just enough.) She was still living in fear of him, of how he might punish her.
Speaking of moving-in, I spent most of that summer living at her house, witnessing the epic-ness of scorched earth, newfound freedom, and blind faith.
Two years later, and we were standing in her sons’ room again. For the most part, everything looked as I had left it. Like it could have been two years ago. Only everything was different now.
As we got down on the floor to sort through a bin of toys, she adjusted her shirt, which stretched over her expanding belly–number six, cooking away. A rush of fur burst into the room, wagging his tail and stealing the first plastic dinosaur he found, which he would contentedly chew to imperceptible bits.
“Babe?” She called out. “Ollie’s being a menace; can you come take him?”
Her fiance walked in the room, reaching for their pup. “Think that’s yours to eat?” He said. “Ollie, get real!”
The two males–human and canine left, and then it was just the two of us again.
“Oh my gosh,” I said. “You did it.”
“Did what?” She said, in her classic upbeat, casual superhero, “what this old thing?” tone.
“You 180-ed your whole life.”
“I mean, two years ago, you had just escaped a horribly shitty, toxic marriage, you were pretty much on your own, wondering who on earth would want to get seriously involved with a single mother of five children, and now look at you: engaged to a completely amazing guy, pregnant with a little babe, pup-mom, about to move in to a house you just bought with the partner you’ve always deserved. You 180-ed that shit.”
She laughed. “Yeah,” she said, “I did.”
She had joined the ranks of The Unstoppable, the Inspirational, the It’s-never-too-late, you’re-never-too-old, any-kind-of-life-can-be-yours-when-you-choose-to-claim-it. Her life had become the loveliest, most incontestable retort to the question, “You think you can’t begin again?”
She had already moved on, digging in to a bin of legos.
I stood there for a moment longer, marveling, before tearing into the closet. “So what size clothes are the boys wearing these days?”