I know in many of our hospitalizations, I have sat down with the laptop with intentions of sharing our story, especially because they are some of the unspoiled moments when we were blissfully unaware of what lie ahead for the tiny baby in our arms. But it was still too raw to explore, to deal with my real feelings about what we have lost or had to endure. Our lives were forever changed, but lately its feeling more and more like a blessing and not a curse....so I think I am finally ready to write it all down and summarize the last 3.5 years of our lives.
In July 2009, I was a newly single mom of two under two, setting out to start my life over after a painful and heartbreaking divorce. I moved from Virginia Beach back to my hometown of Temperance, MI. After making the incredibly difficult decision to end my marriage, I just wanted to be close to my family. I wanted a quiet life with my girls and so I came home and I bought a little house just for us, down the road from the house I grew up in.
Just a couple weeks home, some of my girlfriends were anxious to get me out of the house. I knew they were right, that I needed to learn to have fun again and try to keep moving forward in my new life. I figured a few drinks would help me take the edge off the pain I'd been carrying around.. so I met up with a couple of my best friends for a girls night. We ended up at a little bar and grill, where my friend Raelyn was hanging out with some mutual friends of ours. So there was a relatively good sized group, about 8 or 9 of us. One of the guys was sitting alone watching football highlights intensely while everyone else chatted away. He was a mutual friend of my friends who I had hung out with many times socially, but never really gotten to know very well. I heard he had just broken off his engagement, so I figured if anyone could appreciate my failed-marriage-induced funk, it would be him. While I waited for my drink, I asked who he was rooting for. We talked and joked for a few minutes before the conversation led us over to the jukebox - we learned pretty quickly that we shared a deep hatred of bad bar music. Over the next $15 or so, I found myself confused. What was this strange sound coming from me? Laughter?! It felt good to laugh. It felt even better not to have a plan, to just be sitting enjoying life with another damaged person who didn't want anything from the conversation either. We sat at a little table away from our friends. The conversation drifted to my moving home. Which of course brought up my marriage, or lack thereof - we exchanged miserable stories of love gone terribly wrong and laughed at our great misfortune. We smiled and shook our heads reassuringly when the other wondered aloud what they had possibly done to deserve the hand they had been dealt. I told him I was certain no one would be interested in a 24 year old divorced mother of two young babies. I asked how he thought he would ever be able to move on with someone new, something I believed was a near impossibility for my own heart. He said, "Its crazy, I've completely changed the way I look at women..... I find myself talking to a girl and the only thing I'm thinking is 'Could you see yourself spending the rest of your life with this person?' If not, you're wasting your time."
And in that moment, that milli-second, there was a lightning strike. We locked eyes and the Earth spun faster than it has undoubtedly ever moved - and yet time stood still. I didn't breathe. The words hung there echoing in the silence, while we continued to stare into one another's souls. It was as if everything had changed in one instant... and yet, everything appeared exactly the same. It was maddening, suffocating. It was intoxicating. And just like that, I abruptly muttered an excuse and walked away to my friends.
I pretended to enjoy the rest of my night. I did my best to ignore him without making it obvious I was purposely ignoring him. I couldn't meet his gaze, it was like looking into the sun. My phone rang and I got into an unnecessary argument with my ex-husband, trying to justify my night out, that ended with me running out to the car in tears. I sat there crying, feeling so foolish for believing I ever deserved to be happy again or that one stupid night out could make my bitter outlook any brighter. Part of me wanted to be left alone and part of me wished desperately someone would come out and hold my hand and tell me I was going to be okay. I eventually gathered my thoughts and drove home.. and on the way there, prayed like crazy that God had a point to using my heart as a punching bag. At 2:30 am, I laid in my bed, in my old room, staring at my ceiling. Absentmindedly, I flipped through the contacts in my phone. Adam. Wait- what? I hadn't been hanging out with those guys for years and yet there sat his number, right at the top. I'd probably scrolled past it thousands of times without ever giving a thought to who it was. On a whim (and what remained of my vodka-induced inner voice) I typed a simple text, joking about something we had laughed about earlier in the night. A couple minutes passed. No response. Stupid Stupid Stupid. Of course he didn't write back - you are a total emotional mess, you have TWO kids and you aren't even technically divorced yet. Its 2:30 am....What did you think he was going to say? I'm sure he read it and thanked himself for his good judgement on not being the person crazy enough to marry me. I shut my eyes and willed myself to sleep.
The next morning came and went without any more thought of the night before, I pushed it out of my mind and spent the day taking care of some of the arrangements from moving. Later that evening, I got a call from my best friend Amanda. She was checking up on me to see if I was okay after leaving the bar so upset. We chatted about that awhile and suddenly she said, 'You and Adam, what the heck was that about?!' I just laughed and said trust me, there was absolutely nothing between us. Just a couple people commiserating over their bad luck in love. She laughed but told me it looked like a lot more than that from where she was standing. I assured her it was her imagination.
A few minutes later the phone rang again and it was Raelyn. "Soooo... you and Adam? You guys were talking an awful lot!" Oh my gosh, NO. Nothing there. Seriously, he would be certifiably insane to even consider a relationship with a train wreck like me. And he's screwed up too. We'd go down faster than the Titanic.... I told her it was just nice to talk to someone who knows what I'm going through. I didn't need or want any kind of relationship. A couple days later, she called again and told me that they had talked about me to one another.... That she thought we should just hang out together and see what happens. That sounded good to me, someone to just hang out with and be myself.... I was really lonely. But I did nothing about it.
A couple days later, I had arranged for a couple friends to come over and hang out in the hot tub after I put the girls to bed. Early in the evening, I hopped online to confirm plans with a girlfriend. A new message popped up on my facebook. Adam! I hadn't realized how much I was thinking about the other night with him, until that moment. He all but invited himself over, and then he pretty much did that too. I sat there confused and ecstatic - my head saying "Woah, you just said you have no desire to start anything with this person" and my heart demanding I find out what all those sparks were about. Until he showed up, I was convinced he wasn't really coming over. Why would he? But he gave me a half smile when he pulled in, like we've been hanging out forever and I should have expected him. He was quiet, sitting there observing me from the corner of the hot tub. One by one, our friends headed out for the night, and he stayed - then it was just the two of us. We talked. And talked. And laughed.... About everything under the sun. One minute it was barely getting dark and the next it was 3am and I was lying in his arms smiling like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was sooo late, and we eventually made our way to the back porch to say goodbye. I sat in a trance, trying to say something that would keep him there - I knew if he left, the moment would be lost forever. I knew this was still nothing - it was two lonely people finding comfort in one another for a few hours. Enjoying each others company and laughter. But he wasn't going. The moment of goodbye finally came, he leaned in closer and I panicked. Oh my Gosh - he's going to kiss me. My mind raced with a million reasons to stop him and yet I couldnt, didn't want to. I both wanted and feared that single kiss more than I even thought possible. But we held that maybe-moment for a few seconds and he quickly turned and waved over his shoulder as he walked to his car.
I sunk down on to the steps. Somehow I pulled it together enough to go inside. I scolded myself for imagining that there had been anything more than 2 friends enjoying each others company for a couple hours. I went upstairs, crashed into my bed and drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep - hoping to forgo any more crazy thoughts I might get in my head about impossible love.