01 Jan Love and Fireworks
7 years ago, I went to the cabin for the summer. I took the kids (4 of them at the time, my Keeper Three plus a foster daughter). My children were complicated and difficult, their special needs and behaviours draining, but I had started to think that maybe I could do the single parent thing after all. Maybe I was getting the hang of this. It was hard, almost too hard, but I tried to make myself believe.
On Canada Day, when I was sitting on the back porch after the kids were all in bed, the most incredible fireworks display started up over the lake. I stood up, wanting to share it with my kids, wanting to see their faces light up with wonder… and then I sat back down. I had two arms and four kids. My littlest one needed to be carried but the next oldest would wake up wild, the medication that held her to sanity gone out of her system for the night. One of the older girls had trouble getting to sleep because of the abuse she’d suffered and the other was so hard to wake you could drop a bomb and still not be sure of getting her up. I just didn’t have enough of me to go around.
In tears, I called the guy I was dating. I told him about the night and I told him I didn’t know what to do- that I liked him, even loved him, but the “casual” thing we were doing wasn’t going to work for me long term. That no matter how much I hated it, no matter how much I wanted to be independent and strong, I needed a partner- I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed someone who was all in.
He said, “Okay. Then I’m in.”
And he was.
Today, New Year’s Eve, I was working on a blog post. It was pretty deep, no lie, about about how life is really just a collection of stories and you have to make sure you pay attention and don’t miss out on them. I was about halfway through when I heard That Boy call the kids (already in bed) and say “The neighbours are having fireworks, come see!” I went upstairs and we draped a leather jacket over our small son, naked but for his Spiderman undies and now big enough not to need carrying (but little enough to still let you), and we stood in the doorway together, watching fireworks burst over the crisp white snow. His feet were bare and his eyes were full of wonder.
I think this is what happily ever after looks like.