No one knows your weaknesses, your strengths, your vulnerabilities like your spouse does. With that said, anyone who’s been married for a number of years knows then what a fair fight and an unfair fight is. An unfair fight is one of harsh words, words that cut beneath the skin. Words are more harmful than a smack in the face. A smack leaves a mark but it always goes away within a few days. Harmful words pierce the heart – they can take years to heal, if ever.
The year was 1993 and we had been married for 15 years. Several years previously, we had begun to fight unfairly. We were becoming lost. The previous years had been good for us, in general. Somewhere along the line however, we had forgotten how to be, well ‘civil’ with each other I guess is the best way to say it. We still enjoyed doing activities we had in common, and in general we still had the same common long term objectives. Somewhere, somehow though we had forgotten just how important to each other we really were.
Have you ever felt like you needed just to escape? I felt like I needed to escape, I’m not a fighter. Long ago I had made a promise to myself though that I would never escape. I felt trapped; I couldn’t run and I couldn’t fight. After several hundred heated arguments, I decided that I, that We, needed a major divergence, something that would create a significant impetus for us to make things better. We needed another child; that was my great plan. I knew how I felt about divorce, most importantly how I felt about divorce for my kids (read me). Divorce is easy, anyone can do it. Marriage – marriage is only for the strong. I knew that a new child would create a significant divergence for both of us and my hope was that it would give us a lot more extra time to work things out into a better state.
And so, I expressed my desire to have another child. Kim was thinking that perhaps we were finished with having babies after Mitch and Corey. Corey was, after all, 7 years old, which would mean an 8 year gap between the last two (if we were to have another). We debated, (argued and fought), over this topic for many weeks before she very reluctantly agreed to a third child. She really wanted a baby girl so no doubt the chance to have one played into her decision. I promised her a girl. (Sh, secretly I wanted another boy).
Like me, Kim has her faults. Ultimately though, she always tries to do the right thing. I felt guilty as Hell but deep down, I felt it was right, that it was entirely necessary. I remember the moment of conception. I know, I know…I know what you’re thinking – how could I possibly know such a thing? I just do. I recall, quite vividly, the look of disgust on Kim’s face. She was making a sacrifice. She didn’t want to go through pregnancy again and she was doing this either because she felt it was her duty, or because she too sensed that we both needed a new purpose.
Fast forward several months. We were both 35 years old, nearly 36, officially in the statistical high risk age group for childbirth. Her doctor advised she have an amniocentesis. We drove to New Orleans for the procedure. Firstly though, there was an ultrasound. Modern medicine – they asked us if we wanted to know the sex of the baby, to which we shyly said yes to. It was a boy and Kim cried during the drive home. She really had her heart set on a girl. Over the next hour or so of the drive home, I watched her internalize the news and then, as with just about everything you can throw at Kim, Kim was Kim again.
The baby was born in early May in the brand new Women’s Center, located across the street from the main building of the Rapides Hospital. (Rapides is the name of the parish we lived in. Louisiana was settled by the French and is the only state in the US which has parishes instead of counties). The labor went generally easy. It was during the day and my evening sleep was not interrupted. Also, it was a Friday so I could start an early weekend. I’m not quite sure if it was easy or hard for Kim. 😉 Kim worked in the ER there at the hospital and it happened that her best friend was on shift the day of delivery. Jennea, (I love that name), popped over a couple of times to check on the baby’s progress. As luck would have it, the baby made his appearance right around the end of Jennea’s shift so she was one of the very first people to hold Tim. (Yes Tim, Jennea has seen you naked).
Things did improve a bit for several years. Having a new baby to care for keeps a body busy. Soon after Tim’s birth, we were asked to move back to Ohio. The relocation and subsequent establishment in the new house was enough to keep us occupied….at least until another story to be written about at some future date.
Tune in next week for Part Two. For now, take time out…maybe do a little dance. Here Tim will lead