A friend came for supper Monday and asked us each for a word to describe our lives. He said his was “content”; my husband said his life was too varied to give any one word. I wondered about “love” as that has been my underlying motivation, my greatest satisfaction. (Remembered my mother saying just before she died that it all began with me – and when I asked what, she said, “love.”) But then it didn’t seem to cover the brilliance, awe, fear, the juice of living. So I opted for “vivid.”
We both told him, turn about, how we had come from fear, with no model to base our marriage on, yet somehow believing that it was possible to build something good and lasting. I realized how important it had been for me to take the ashes of that terrified childhood and make something wholesome, to break the chain of unhappy lives and send happy children into the future. It was always the most important thing to me and what I based my decisions on. Sometimes I felt like the buffers in a railway station stopping a train in its tracks, standing between the past and a sane and healthy future.
I also realized that that huge effort not only took a lot of my health but also skewed my vision. It meant any failure with the children, and of course there were failures, wereunbearable. Then I realized that the biggest thing we both did was to take the childhood unhappiness and spin gold from it – our marriage. Joyful, loving, laughing, enduring, more than I could have imagined.