It's amazing how quickly time can fly in some respects while dragging on in others. It feels like I have aged fifty years in the last five months, while it seems like only yesterday we brought Sis home. Five months ago today, little Sis joined our family. Five days later, her father stared at the ground and said words that would hit my soul with all the force of an atomic bomb. It was Sis who was cuddled on my lap when he said them. Many of my initial frantic thoughts included her and how she was not even a week old and her life was already shaping into something far less than she deserved. She was my warm, sleepy companion as I sat up all night long on the couch and cried and tried to make sense of what I had heard. As the days went on I reflected on many things, one of which was the unfairness of the timing. I don't suppose there is ever a good time for your spouse to tell you he has checked out of your relationship, but I worried that all memories of that precious time with my newborn would be forever sullied by the fear, sorrow, confusion and humiliation of those first weeks and months. I worried that when I looked at her baby pictures, that would be all I would remember. To be honest, I do remember all that when I look back at photos of my sweet girl. What I didn't expect were the small mercies and blessings I didn't know to ask for but got anyway. I realize that even though thoughts of her babyhood are always going to be reminders of this painful time in my life, I also remember her as a comfort that I doubt I could have gotten any other way. I could hold her and cry and not worry about holding in my emotions the way I had to do for the boy's sake. I was comforted in knowing that my state of mind was not a burden to her. She would blink up at me with her wise, old soul eyes and just snuggle closer. She rarely cried and she slept so much we worried that there might be something wrong with her. When my horrible nightly dreams would waken me, she was a comforting presence who asked little and loved me unconditionally. I found myself carrying her around a lot just to have her sweet presence close, yet she never got spoiled by it (the poor child is so used to having her bottle propped for her, she can't actually drink a bottle held by a person. Give me a break! There is only one of me :-) She became my warm, squeaky security blanket and I know we were blessed with a calm and content baby because I needed it. And I believe God gives us what we need.
Three months later, her father chose to devote himself to a life far less worthy than the one he had and again she has become my constant companion when I find it hard to sleep or feel comfort. She has learned to smile and it is gratifying to see that I am her favorite. I need that right now. We all fight to hold her and get her smiles. She has both brothers wrapped around her finger and she feels like a warm ray of sunshine in the storm that has broken over this home.
Nightly, after putting the boys to bed, when the demons of memory and reason come out to torture me, I have only to walk by her as she sleeps peacefully to feel a little calmer, a little more hopeful, and little more sure that this marriage resulted in some great things, regardless of the road we are on now, or the choices another has made for us.
I still worry on her behalf a lot. I am sorry she will not have the relationship with her daddy that the boys got to have for a few years and should be able to enjoy for life. I worry about the damage it will do to her relationship with him in the future when she becomes fully aware that he traded her security and happiness to follow his own and was not willing to attempt hard things for her sake. I worry about her having a conflicted sense of loyalty if/when a new daddy enters the picture and her feelings of abandonment if one doesn't. I will always worry but my worry for her is down the road. Of my three children, she is the only one who is unaware of the rotten situation we are in. I can love her and save my energy for the children who are affected and sad and confused now. At the moment, I do not have to have with her the daily discussions about why daddy cant/wont/doesn't come to live in our house like he used to. She isn't acting out or telling me that I am meaner than dad because I constantly have to be the 'bad cop'. I know she loves me because she lights up when I walk past.
All my kids are comforting in different ways and I am sure my girl will have her moments in the future when I am ready to sell her to the gypsies, but for right now, she has been the saving of me. As people find out the time line of my marital troubles, they are disposed to feel sorry for me for having a newborn to care for along with my broken heart and two sad children. I am realizing though, that she hasn't been extra work or extra stress. She has been some of my only real comfort and joy. She is one of the only features of my life that I don't associate with a happier past and she has her own place by being the most comfortable part of my present. I will be forever grateful to her for that and to God for sending her to our family when we needed her most. I would have hated to go through this ordeal without her. What could have been a burden has become an amazing blessing.