Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Walking Through the Fire

Last night, I slept.

For those of you who know me, you will understand why that is worth celebrating. For those that are my online friends, know that I don't sleep very well or very often. But last night, I fell into a deep, restful sleep. Because I had walked through the fire.
I don't know why my thoughts shifted yesterday. But they did, and all the pieces fell into place and the earthquake finally made sense. I understood my role. I saw why things needed to happen the way they did. I now know how my story is going to end. Or, at least, how it is not going to end.

Since that horrible F.U. evening that changed everything, I could clearly see the path Mr. E needed to take. When I saw him the following day, I told him what he needed to do. He needed to go back to his children. He needed professional help getting himself grounded and emotionally well. He needed to repair relationships. He needed to stop self-medicating and start taking care of his body. He needed to find control and find happiness.

I knew, as I was saying all this to him in the middle of a noisy restaurant, that what I was also saying was:
You need to leave me behind. 

I have been thinking over the last few weeks that I should have pushed E more strongly to return to his children. My actions may not have backed up what I was saying he should do. Because I also wanted him near me. And I knew I could never go with him.  Maybe I didn't push hard enough. But over the last few days, I realized that there were other women in his queue that would have stepped into the vacancy that I would have created if I had pushed harder. E would have quickly tired of hearing about all the things I thought he needed. He would start to see me as just another harpy bitch that was trying to tell him what to do. And another woman would have jumped into that void, interfering with what he needed to do.

So it had to happen this way. I was a placeholder until he was ready to go back and renew his relationships with his children.

Earthquakes create a new landscape. They cleave continents in half, sending each in a different direction. My job--my role, my task--was to make sure Mr. E was on the right continent as mine drifted away from his. And he is. He is with his children. Everything else--all other fallout, the pain, the sadness--it is only an afterthought. It means nothing. A minor casualty. E is where he needs to be. 

The day my son was born--the hour he was born--I knew I would be in this parenting thing alone. I was heavily drugged as the C-section was going on beyond a drape. But I remember a couple things very clearly: the nurse saying 10:45, my mom tapping me on the shoulder and pointing to a red, squalling baby, my son's scrunched up face being brought down to my eye level so I could look at him.

By 11:45, I knew how things would play out. We were wheeled back to my room, and introductions were made. Newly minted aunts touched his tiny hands and kissed his beautiful face. The grandparents held him, cooing messages of love. Then my ex, the Tornado, said, "OK, I'm going to take my mom to see the condo."

It was almost midnight after a very long day. It's true that his mom and sister hadn't seen the condo we were living in since we moved back to Salt Lake. But they weren't leaving for their home right away. There would be time tomorrow. But T insisted on showing her right then.

My dad tried to intervene. He said he would take T's mom to see the condo so that T could stay with his wife and brand new baby. But T left anyway. 

I was alone with my baby, recounting fingers and adjusting his little hat so I could peek at his hair. The nurse came in to tell me she needed to clean me up a bit. She was a little surprised I was alone and asked where my husband was. I mumbled something about him running home, too mortified to tell her the reason why. The nurse told me she would have to take the baby to the nursery while she took care of my post-childbirth needs. 

That is when I knew. I was alone in this. I burst into tears. That lovely woman pulled a chair over to the side of bed and put my little Kidlet burrito in the nook where the back meets the seat. He dozed while the nurse did what she needed to do, then she returned him to my arms. 

From that moment, my life had purpose. I knew how I would make the world a better place. I would raise a man that would never leave his children alone when they needed him. My very tiny gift to the world would be to leave behind a decent man. A good man. 

I am very heartbroken right now. I just hurt in indescribable ways. By pushing E south--back to his kids--I knew I would lose him. I'm not sure why it actually took me by surprise. 

But it gives me such happiness to think I have a small hand in the raising two more good men. Those little men need their dad more than any adult needs any other adult. Those little southern boys will grow to be good husbands, good fathers, and good people.

An earthquake creates volcanos. Fire cleanses. My path is now clear to do the things I am going to need to do. The things I am determined to accomplish. Things that I might have hesitated doing if I was holding on too tightly to something that needed to drift away. I see what needs to happen now.

Before I tried to sleep last night, I saw this posted online. 

Now I know everyone I love is going to be ok as I take care of what needs to be done next. My karmic debt is paid. My purpose in the earthquake has been fulfilled. I loved with all my heart, I lived as gently as I knew how, and I let go. Some people are consumed by the fire. The strong ones walk through.

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