My Leap List

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happily Enough Ever After

    This is a real life love story.  Not the kind that ends happily-ever-after, but the kind that ends happily enough.  John and I met in a French class in high school on a hot early fall day, when the teacher said we had to work with a partner.  That day he wore his band shirt, and being a flag girl, I knew we would have something in common.  We became fast friends and were inseparable in class.  He made me laugh and there was rarely laughter in my life that year.
     It wasn't love-at-first sight, at least for me.  It was an instant friendship grew into best friends grew into love.  He helped me through the hardest times of my life and never flinched when life got ugly and raw.
     As we got older, the darkness came for him more and more often.  The medicine made him hallucinate dark and horrifying scenes.  The doctors were hard pressed to find answers from bipolar to schizophrenia.  They were dark and lonely times on my own hiding behind a smile.
     The kids never knew the boy I fell in love with, his gentleness, his sense of humor that could make me laugh until I couldn't breathe, his passion for his family, and his amazing intellect.  I was working two jobs and left them home alone more than I wanted.
     The people that loved me wondered why I stayed.  Even the therapist told me to leave while I was still young and cute enough to find another man.  But no matter how bad things got, I couldn't stand to leave the boy I loved who had stood by me when I needed him most.
     My kids have inherited some of the same dark struggles as their dad and added some of their own to the mix.  Yesterday my daughter told me that seeing the way I stood by her dad had been one of the reasons she didn't kill herself.  Seeing us taught her that families stand by you no matter how hard life gets.  It helped her know that no matter what she was going through, she would be loved.  There would never be a point where we gave up on her when life got too hard, so she wasn't giving up, either.
     This is the love story that ends happily-enough-ever-after.