The first five years of my life as a adult were beautiful. I had a small son who was adorable, obedient, and intelligent. I had a small but tidy home that I rented. Most of my transportation was done by bike (with a trailer for my son to ride in), so I was in wonderful shape physically. I was attending college and getting fantastic grades. One of my professors nominated me to be the editor in chief of the college newspaper. I was busy, happy, and feeling confident about my course in life.
Then, disaster. During the next eight years of my life, my confidence and happiness were shattered, over and over again. The man who had abused me during my childhood made a reappearance, bringing flashbacks. I had two life-threatening pregnancies, and the births were only eleven months apart. During the second pregnancy and recovery, I missed so much work from my well-paying job that I was fired. I ended up leaving the father of my children after he got hooked on drugs. I rallied by starting a home-based business which slowly grew and thrived, until someone jealous of my success set out to sabotage my work - and succeeded. The loss of income from that sabotage resulted in homelessness, and while I was homeless, the storage unit that held all our belongings was destroyed in a fire.
Again I rallied, fighting to better my life and the lives of my sons. Again, I was struck down. Over and over and over again, for eight years.
During that time period I grew very depressed. I eventually got a job outside of the home (at a fast food restaurant), and settled into a life of drudgery. I took no pleasure from my job, and I was too exhausted when I came home to take pleasure in parenting my children. Keeping the home clean and organized seemed an insurmountable task, and at this point I gave up on a lot of things.
I gave up on keeping a clean home.
I gave up on finding a better job.
I hid the fact of how miserable I was from those who loved me.
I gave up on the idea that I could ever be successful, or reach the dreams I've had since girlhood.
I gave up on the idea of ever finding a significant other who could make me feel whole again.
And then Sean walked into my life. Honestly, I was so depressed at that point, and so terrified to take a step towards bettering myself (out of fear that I would be struck down again), I'm really not sure what he saw in me. I certainly wasn't any kind of catch at that point! I was nearly 200 lbs overweight, and hadn't done anything for my appearance in years. My wardrobe at the time resembled that of a goth chick - just without the sexy corsets and artfully ripped jeans. I looked dumpy, to tell you the truth. (Recently I asked him why he found me so attractive when we first met - he replied that he saw the person I had the potential to be hiding inside the person I had become.)
He asked me to marry him that night. I laughed, thinking he was joking - I mean, for goodness sake, we'd just met an hour before! But he was utterly serious. And I realized, as I laughed, that I hadn't smiled in so long that it hurt to smile - as though those muscles in my face had atrophied from lack of use.
He devoted himself to courting me. The next couple of months were a whirlwind of laughter, teasing, and an awakening of my awareness of myself as woman rather than mommy. I felt alive in a way that I had almost forgotten was possible to experience. When he asked me to marry him a second time, I said yes. And he gave me my dream - the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mother and housewife. He's worked hard to make sure we have a steady income, and he's gone without to provide the extras for the children. He's treated my sons as though they are his, and made it clear to the boys that he considers himself their father, even though they don't share genetics. His wisdom astounds and humbles me, and his intelligence awes me.
And over the last three years with him, I've gotten reacquainted with the woman I always had the potential to be. And I realized that I always had this potential within myself - I had just grown so scared of the possible downfalls that I wasn't willing to reach for the heights. I credit my husband with my success, but he refuses to accept that credit.
He insists I did it all by myself. And that is why I love my husband.