To read the first part of Rebecca’s story, start here.
You know when something big happens and you think you will remember the details? The details that keep you up every night while you are in the thick of it all but later you bury them away. I labored over those details years later while a lawyer harped on me to remember them all. Yet now I look back and it is all a bit fuzzy. I’m sure it is fuzzy for a reason.
During my divorce I sat in my therapist’s office and she asked me about Rebecca. The therapist made me share the story and looked at me dumbfounded. Somehow I don’t think it was the professional thing to do but she pulled it together and asked if I ever talked to anyone about it, had some help coping? I remember picking at the couch and quietly answering, Nope.
She looked amazed I hadn’t slit my wrists or something. Because really that is the look she had on her own face while she asked me, How did you deal with it all?
I got up every day and I just did it. There was no other option. Life didn’t hand me any other option. I didn’t want to talk about it. So we didn’t.
If I remember right, her biological Mom asked me to take her after the wedding. You know, just for the weekend. Would you like to help me out? I could use a break.
How could I say no?
My ex-husband and I loaded her up and took her to college with us. This is where things really get fuzzy. The avalanche that happened. One day we were college students and the next we were college students with a tiny baby in tow. Rebecca would stay for longer and longer periods of time as her biological Mom “needed a break.” The Mom that is bi-polar, manic-depressive, and everything else on the list. The Mom that was selling drugs from her apartment, with Rebecca’s biological Dad, as that man kept an arsenal of loaded weapons in the place that would soon help land him in jail.
Days turned into weekends, that turned into long weekends. It all ran together with her biological Mom hardly wanting to see her. Both my ex and I worked at a day care, which worked out great during the day. Then she would be tucked in her car seat while he worked nights at the radio station and we would go from staying in dorms to staying at a friend’s apartment. Nights weren’t just spent studying but were spent walking the halls with an infant that was born with marijuana in her system. Which in turn means a very fussy baby that was constantly gassy and never kept a bottle down.
In those first weeks neither my ex or I questioned it. It just happened. This baby in our lives and no, my ex NEVER questioned it. It was like we knew this was just supposed to happen. I really cannot explain the slow cycle that this turned into.
I just remember pieces from that beginning. The swing we kept at the friend’s apartment that gave us reprieve as we studied for finals. How we went from watching ER every Thursday night to crowding around the baby and entertaining her. Late nights of switching on and off with the ex to get some sleep. Learning the cost of diapers and formula because there was never enough sent along in Rebecca’s bag.
Just like that our lives were nothing like what we knew. You know when people tell first time parents how their lives will never be the same, well ours never were. It sounds funny now but I think it actually made my ex and I stronger as a couple. Perhaps though, deep down, this is the one thing we were good at together.
While my ex and I had been together for years before any of this, it was this path that was a turning point. It was all of this that changed our relationship. That baby was becoming the glue for my ex and I without us knowing.