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And then what?

January 09, 2007 | Category: In My Life

This blog is a true story.

It's my life.

And now the question I am facing... is there anything left to write?

Yeah, the last 7 years have been like a soap opera.

You know the plot, right? First Luke and Laura break up. Then they get back together.

The bad guy ties her up and she swings over a vat of something nasty. "Oh, Luke!" she cries, her hair rippling down her back. "I've always loved you!"

He shouts her name and struggles to get to her, but in a puff of mist.. she is gone!

Or maybe that was Bo and Hope.


The dips and rises of a life can seem like that sometimes. Like the chapters of a story. Working through time ... to find love, to get pregnant, to stay pregnant, to give birth, to stay married, to stay faithful.

In 2000, the first crisis tied up with a little blue bow. Bear was born after a very high-risk pregnancy. For 7 tense months I had written out my fear and his progress. But on September 6, he was born pink and squirming.

I remember thinking that I was at 'Happily Ever After'.

Yeah, anyone who has ever watched a soap opera knows .... there is no 'Happily Ever After'.

But who could tell me back then? After so many pregnancies, and so many months, there I was. Happily married and a new mother to the most amazing child ever born (just saying).

We'd just bought our first house, a fixer-upper on a quiet street yet so close to the city that we could see the top of the Sears Tower in the morning sun.

We were unpacking. Living in clutter. Hunting the extra toilet paper out of a box titled 'kitchen' and laughing over dinner made in a single saucepan.

Wasn't that the way it was supposed to be?

But just underneath the Rockwellian picture, there was something wrong.

Cue the music from Jaws.

You know how it is. Like a cold coming on. I knew something wasn't right, but I couldn't know how bad it would get.

It got bad.

Dread, anyway.

My baby was pink and perfect. My husband was ashen and oversleeping each morning. Struggling to get through the days.

It wasn't a cold.

I called my old company and asked for my job back. They gave me a new one. In North Carolina. I hired a nanny, and stuffed my swollen boobs in a blouse, and got on a plane every week.

A few weeks later, "Honey," he said on the phone as I paced a garden in Raleigh. "I was just fired."

After that firecracker explosion came the avalanche. All the stuff we'd built up slid down and I watched, horrified, as the next 6 months ruined the bright man I loved.

Until October came, with brilliant orange and red leaves. In a moment of utter exhaustion and agony, I asked him to leave.

Just for a while, I said. Just until we remember how to breath.

He wasn't supposed to agree. He was supposed to suddenly change back and put on a cape and swoop me into his arms and tell me that everything would be all better now.

He left.

You know how it is. People rally. They help out. But behind your back, they don't understand. They say things like what an awful guy he is and how everyone saw it coming.

I didn't see it coming.

And he isn't awful.

He came back 6 weeks later and we had to face facts; what was driving us apart was more than just a little bad patch.

And for the next 3 years, we struggled. We did not go lightly into turning things around. To keep sane, I started another blog. I started writing it all out. Teeth clenched, wit sharpened.

Furious, invigorated, screaming over the soap opera life could be:

And then the smoke alarm went off in the front of the house... My living room was on fire.

Perversely, in the midst of it all, I was getting promoted. Get a larger staff, larger budgets, more responsibility. Projects to install a new server somewhere became projects to replace all servers, everywhere.

It made me all dizzy. The highs and the lows and the ominous organ music.

Some days, I would wake up and still be in love with the man I saw - even if I hated how we far apart we were. Some days, it would seem like there was no hope.

Some days, I would eat too damn much chocolate.

Most days, I thought I would break.

So I went a little crazy myself and got into fights with the people at Dunkin Donuts, and watched my own health declinee - taking my sanity with it.

"Well, OK," I told her. "But you understand that it's no win if my fingers stop hurting but I wet the bed."

And just when I thought it was already as crazy and awful as I could stand, came that day. My son had been suffering with a 104 fever for 7 days and nothing was helping. The hospital could treat the heat but couldn't find a cause.

And I was ready for him to crumble. I was ready to deal with the craziness that normal had become.

But in a stunning turn of events, my husband was steady. He seemed ready - the crisis proved something we hadn't even realized....

We were all right.

You know how it is. You struggle with something for so long that you can't exactly know when it got better. When the cool began to warm. When the pouring rain began to putter down to a drip.

A week later, one lazy afternoon, in a big bed. My husband rested at the center. Our blessedly recovering son asleep in the crook of one arm. Me curled up under the other. "I'm going to quit my job," I said. Like I had threatened so many times before. "I'm going to stay home, and take care of him. While he still needs me to. While I still need to. I'm going to give my notice, I mean it this time."

And he sighed. "I know," he said.

And then it was quiet.

It was almost year ago that I told my management that I was leaving. Started a long, slow, chaotic rebuild of this unpredictable life. It was almost 100 days ago that I decided to stop mourning what had happened, and challenged myself to make more of this time and this chance.

And today, this morning, I woke up to my son climbing into bed next to me. Laying his soft cheek on my shoulder.

I opened the door, and blinked at the sun.

I ground the coffee, and made breakfast.

I checked my mail, and hunted up clean underwear.

I touched my toes, and brushed my teeth.

I had a thumb war with my son.

The thing about Luke and Laura is that they can never just be. I mean, who would watch that?

Would anyone watch if Luke got Laura down from her perlous perch, and took her to live in the suburbs?

The most amount of drama we have these days was when my husband used a flashlight to find a pair of matching socks yesterday morning, because it was still dark and he didn't want to wake me up.

It's not much to read about, I guess.

In fact, it's not much to write about.

It's this fragile, new rhythm in our lives and sometimes I don't understand. It leaves me with calm days and little inspiration for dramatic posts and a kind of dizzy unfamiliar sense of things.

But God. I think it's happiness.

It's happiness.

You know how it is.

You struggle to find things to say, wondering what happened to all the brilliant drama.

And realize...

Life got good. Well, better.

But it makes me wonder... what does it mean when these 100 days is done? What will there be to say?

And I don't have an answer.

I don't know if there is one.

What if video killed the radio star. And there was no 'then what' to the former Corporate Mommy?

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Tagged: Corporate, Mommy, Life
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For all of the reasons mentioned above and more, I would love to continue reading your blog. You can write, girl.

Of course, do what feels right to you. But if you do want to post your grocery list, I'll still read it.

Posted by: laura on January 17, 2007 06:30 PM

Whatever you need to do, but don't let this blog become yet another thing to feel guilty about. There's enough of that in life.


Posted by: Flikka on January 16, 2007 02:35 PM

This was so so so beautiful to read. Wow. (((HUGS))) I am so happy for YOU!

Posted by: Angela Giles Klocke on January 16, 2007 09:35 AM

I feel you but also .. dude, you can't stop writing!

Often times I sit down ready to type out a meaningful blog post ... it just doesn't come. The most drama I have in my life these days revolves around whether or not Abby has pooped today or not. While some women have been able to make great blog posts out of the child's poop (or lack of) I just can't seem to pull one out of my ... well, you know! LOL

I've gotten lazy. I've started reading all of my blogs through Google Reader. I scroll through the list and quickly land on those who I love to read the most. You are right at the top of my list. I love to know what's going on with you, Bear, and CD .. the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Love you, mean it!

Yeah, it took me a long time to post this comment ... I really suck at commenting and replying to email. Even if I don't comment know that I am here reading.

Posted by: Michele on January 15, 2007 11:07 PM

Hi, just delurking to say, please keep writing. Your writing is clear and honest, I always enjoy reading it. I will keep reading, whatever you write.

Posted by: Angela on January 15, 2007 10:47 AM

Okay, I read what you write not because you were a Corporate Mommy, but because you have a very similar family life AND absolutely gorgeous writing skills. I LOVE your style. I RELATE to your posts, happy, sad, stressed, content, boring, exciting, whatever you have to give. So, don't stop, please... If you do, I understand, and enjoy your lovely boy and husband. Best wishes E.

Posted by: Amanda on January 11, 2007 06:22 PM

Ok, I admit this is selfish but...please keep blogging. (That's bad for me to say because I'm pretty "over" the blogging thing myself but hoping the enthusiasm will kick back in at some point).

But You! your writing is so pleasant to read and even this long sought after "happiness" you've found...as dull as it may seem to you, is like a breath of fresh air for those of us still balancing the corporate life with home. Also? life is still a soap opera and you never know which day drama (good or bad) will enter again, and it always does enter again...when it happens we'll want to read about that too.

Posted by: Kelly on January 11, 2007 01:02 PM

It's not just about the blog. I think that this lesson that you have learned - that drama *can* be effectively replaced by happiness - is important to know in life, as well. I am learning from you, E. I am about 100 steps behind you and am inspired by you. I keep wanting to ask - "How did you DO it? What is your secret?" I want to get to happiness, too. I would love to continue reading about your happiness, so I can keep trying to cobble together my own recipe.

Posted by: Monica C. on January 11, 2007 10:57 AM

It was Bo and Hope.

If you no longer feel the need to write, stop. It obviously helped you through some very hard times. Your readers, including me, would love for you to continue. We want to hear about selling the house, going to Iceland, and where you end up. We don't need the drama. We want YOUR story, whatever that may be. But don't do it for us, only do it if you love to write. And then write about anything that you truly care about.

Posted by: kinda cuz on January 10, 2007 04:00 PM

Interesting that I comment just after RP. Because I once told HIM that I would read his grocery list.

When you write well, you write well. It matters not what you write.

And you know, high drama is VERY MUCH overrated. :)

Enjoy the ride, m'love.


Posted by: Just Me on January 10, 2007 12:58 PM

Start a food blog LOL! You have to eat everyday.

Seriously, I read your blog regularly and I don't feel as if you've reached the end of your story. It's not all about drama. Those little moments are nice to read about too.

Posted by: paula on January 10, 2007 12:13 PM

if you stop writing then I will have to start stalking and find you, so I can talk to you every day and hear how you're coping...even with happiness. Because your words have become my words although I cannot blog right now, although I deal with the mundane and exciting and scarey and the boring....I cannot blog right now and talk. So I live through your words.
Don't make me stalk you.

Posted by: speckledpup on January 10, 2007 10:52 AM

but I LOVE the way you write. even if life is boring, there's still SOMETHING to write about. Hell, all I do is go to work, commute, teach a piano lesson or two, and play with my kid -- but I write in my blog every day! Sometimes it's more about finding the couple things in your day that are worth remembering or worth acknowledging are special, than it is telling the world about your drama.


Stick around, eh?


Posted by: Jen_Jake'smom on January 10, 2007 10:03 AM

thankyou for the glimmer of hope

Posted by: dodo on January 10, 2007 03:31 AM

Awesome writing. Awesome healing. Awesome happiness. Thanks for sharing...

Posted by: Janie on January 9, 2007 10:23 PM

With "better" comes more opportunity for introspection, meditation, creativity. My guess is that you will not run out of stuff to say. Well, that's my hope, too!

Posted by: Kris on January 9, 2007 08:40 PM

there's a lot to be said for daily routine. it beats drama any day. as long as every one is healthy... there are no problems. the craziness at work/ on tv/ etc. makes us think that's what life is supposed to be... don't believe it.

Posted by: Margaret on January 9, 2007 05:56 PM

What draws me to your blog, to your posts, is not the drama, the tension. It is your willingness to thoughtfully explore and then to express things that are on the minds of all parents, especially mothers, or all women who been around the block once or twice.

Your writing is emotional without being turgid, clear and precise without being cold, and generally very pleasing to read. You have a book somewhere in this collection of stories from your life. Whether you continue with this blog or not, I hope you continue writing. You have a gift for writing in an intimate way without sentimentality or melodrama. I find that rare, especially in the blogsphere.

Posted by: paige on January 9, 2007 04:55 PM

Most of life is just showing up. One day after another, nothing particularly dramatic about each and every day, sometimes just the weather changes ... or not. There is a routine to most days that is, well, routine. It's only the accumulation of days where change is noticed. What happens when the 100 days is up? Another 10 or 25 or 50 or 100 days to set some more goals. love, Auntie Marfa

Posted by: Auntie Marfa on January 9, 2007 04:52 PM

Let me first say, I love your blog and look forward to reading it. I often read a post over and over and find that they stay with me long after I read them. They are thoughtful whether talking about the good, the bad or the mundane. I hope if you want to continue the blog you will.

I also think that you, like all of us, need to take care of yourself and your family first. If that includes this blog wonderful! If it doesnt, I'll miss you but I'll understand.

Posted by: m0m2one on January 9, 2007 04:23 PM

I'm with RP. OK, so there's no drama. I think that's great. (and obviously a big relief for you) You've got a wonderful talent and your posts don't need to involve drama to be compelling. I'm pretty sure you could find a way to make the phone book an interesting read. How about just starting by writing each day on a subject corresponding to one letter in the alphabet. Just your thoughts. That's what we want to know. (Plus it keeps those writing muscles limber for that big publishing break) That way if something dramatic comes along you can take sort of a commercial break from the alphabet schedule and blog about that. Just a thought.
Either way it would be a loss if there was no "then what".
I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Cathy on January 9, 2007 03:42 PM

What a beautiful post! Who says entries have to be all dramatic and full of tension? Sometimes its the deepest thoughts, about anything, that keep us awake at night, wondering, and make for fantastic blogging fodder.

Happiness means you can write with even more depth, more clarity, more understanding, because you've been to hell and back and you survived, you thrived. Share that.

But don't stop writing. In whatever form it takes, dramatic, funny, boring, informative, contemplative, narrative, writing is therapy. Stretch the 100 days to 200 days, then to 300 days, but never stop writing. For some of us, not writing means the death of something inside that needs the writing to continue drawing breath.

Posted by: Jenn on January 9, 2007 03:32 PM

I've been a lurker for awhile. Even if there's no "then what" it's all good. I'll read anyway.

Posted by: RLGelber on January 9, 2007 03:28 PM

Well, to answer the last question, then we get posts like this one, brilliant and introspective and full of meaning and life and love and happiness and doubt and sugar and spice and flashlights and kisses and cuddles. And the posts come with all that and gorgeous writing, too.

Look, to make it even briefer: If you write it, I will read it and enjoy it.

Thanks for all your grand posts, E, and here's to many more!

Posted by: rp on January 9, 2007 01:08 PM