VII. Five Families and a Sixth Sense

She has me thinking about family now. I just realized She and I are on our fifth family together.

The first family: When it became apparent that I did not have the flu and that I would be expecting a visitor in seven months I took it all rather matter of fact. Expecting was the perfect word for my situation. From the very beginning I had the sense that I knew her, that her coming was all part of the plan. It would be years before I knew myself to be precognitive, all I knew then was that she was the soul assigned to me. I gave birth to her without a lot of fuss and drama and she began sharing my life, and later my clothes and jewelry.

Our little family didn't include her father. I'd gone into labor Labor Day weekend and he'd gone fishing, which was fine with me. We weren't married and he wouldn't be part of the family we made for the first year of her life anyway. We lived instead on the edge of poverty with my newly divorced sister and her two children. My sister had painted a rainbow on the wall in our room and her crib sat at the end. My little pot of gold. We'd had a tiny little garden of Dutch bulbs and Italian vegetables, we sewed gingham cafe curtains and forced spaetzle dough through a sieve into salty boiling water on a hot summer day. It was a sweet little family life but it wasn't the path I thought I was supposed to be on.

The second family. When she was 15 months old I married her father, or as she would call him years later, the sperm donor. Now we were a real family. Daddy went to work. Mommy stayed home with baby and made delicious meals from scratch, canned preserves, upholstered furniture and took long walks through suburbia.

Except it didn't look exactly like the Norman Rockwell hanging down the hall. Daddy drank. Mommy got fat. Daddy drank. Mommy got depressed. Daddy drank. Mommy got a job. Daddy drank. Mommy got divorced.

The third family: She and I out on our own again. I was pretty good at the working Mom gig. I was an embroiderer. (A job my younger sister found in a one inch column in the classifieds that would turn out to be my favorite job ever.) She went to day care and on busy days I would pick her up and bring her back to work with me where she would eat snacks and entertain my manager with her incessant chatter. I should tell you now that she talked a lot. In fact, my older sister used to say she was destined for radio where they would never have to take a commercial break because she never shut up.

We were poor again and that scared me because I wasn't naive anymore. We were living in New Hampshire where the cost of living was quite high and meeting ends quite difficult. As so many northerners are wont to do, my family had started migrating south towards warmer winters. I migrated towards a lower cost of living in south Georgia. It was quite a culture shock and for the eight years I lived there, one I never got over. More on that later. We were there a year when we (as she would say back then) married a local son.

The fourth family. She was eight years old then and with the Husband came an older brother who would live with us, and another brother and sister. She would have a step family. I kept working but managed to create a reasonably close facsimile to the ideal family. There were Sunday dinners after church on my Mom's Rose Chintz, dance classes and Girl Scouts, a Golden Retriever named Katie and enough mutts to start a kennel. It smelled like honeysuckle and jasmine all through the spring, we stayed inside in the summer and came out in the fall to pick up buckets of pecans in our front yard. We built a beautiful brick house and she had her own room over looking a five acre pond. She found a sister across the street in the form of a little brown girl from the Dominican Republic. It was a pretty picture indeed.

I was a master at creating an illusion. I had made a commitment to the Husband and I intended to keep it, no matter what it cost me. I would make myself be content. I would stay married for her and because I had promised him. What I didn't know was that the Boy was out there and that I would find him and all my good intentions would come to naught.

Over the years precognition had saved my life a few times, prickly feelings warning me back from the edge of danger. The day I met the Boy he extended his hand and I shook it. When I looked up to his face and into those clear blue eyes I saw my own destruction. Oddly though, it wasn't enough to warn me back from certain danger. So I left the Husband and tore apart the family I had so handily crafted for her.

The fifth family: She and I are alone again and together. We've given up the beautiful home, packed the china, kissed the dogs goodbye and started a new life. It turns out all that illusion was an exhausting exercise in misdirection. While we were looking for the right life, a lot was left to chance, a lot was left behind. ~Dazzledgirl

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