” motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing ” – Ricki Lake
I was looking at a wedding photo, it was a simple regular picture but I was captivated by the bride in her white wedding dress. Skin so fair, smile so bright and that hair! Black, curly and long – I bet that was the big girl hair in the 90’s – I couldn’t just get past that hair, it was so beautiful. She is beautiful. She looked just like a model and the man beside her, I bet, was proud he caught a real beauty. I thought to myself, he is the luckiest man in the whole world. And that was the best wedding photo I ever saw.
I told her I loved the photo and I would love to see that hair on her. And she said “I can’t find that hair and I don’t even know what hair it was but if it’s still around, it would be really expensive now” I believed her. It did look like the bohemian hair of our time. Well, I don’t know if bohemian hair was a thing then 😅.
I found myself wondering what happened to her. She didn’t look sick, didn’t look like she was going through hard times but she didn’t look like the woman in the photo. She still looked beautiful, added a lot of weight but then she’s given birth to five children and child birth changes a lot in a woman, something men would never understand. I asked her ” is everything alright with you? ” and she said ” yes, I’m okay. Just a little bit tired.”
I could hear it in her voice. She didn’t seem okay. she tried to mask it but it was too late because I already caught on to it. I didn’t want to press on the matter but I was troubled. I kept looking at the picture and looking back at her. I was filled with anger, what made her change so much? I just wasn’t seeing the confident and elegant woman in the picture. She was hurt! I just could tell. I looked at the man in the picture, could he be the cause of the pain? He looked calm and confident. I could tell he was a man to command respect without voicing out a word and maybe a bit strong-headed but a man of rules. He didn’t look like a man who could hurt her but looks do deceive.
I heard myself say, “Are you hurt by him?” She was startled by my question. I could tell she was reluctant but I wouldn’t let it go. ” why are you still with him? ” I asked as I looked at her ring. ” I would never stay with a man who treats me so bad! ” I don’t know anything about love but I know that fact. But wait a minute! How do I know she’s hurting because of him? Just let it go! But my instincts won’t let me.
She smiled at me and said ” where would I go to? ”
” you work don’t you? you could start a little comfortable life for yourself ”
” and what about my children? ” She said.
Hearing that, tears dripped down my cheeks. How do I comfort a woman when I can’t even get a hold of myself.
” How old are they? ” I managed to say with a forceful smile
” 26, 20, 15, 13 and 11 ” I never really asked her about their ages or maybe I did but couldn’t remember. I was always lost in her photo album, listening to the many happy stories she had to tell. Her home was basically my second home.
” but they’re big enough to understand the situation. ” I said furiously. Why was I getting angry at her? I just couldn’t understand her reason for staying. I felt like she purposely wanted to be hurt.
” I love my children but I don’t want them to hate on their father. I don’t want to put them in a situation where they have to choose between me or him. I don’t want them to be cut out by him, I may be working but it’s a little business and I can’t take care of all of them. I still have 4 of them in school. One just started working and his salary isn’t that big. It’s not that I don’t want to leave, it’s that it’s too late. If I wanted to, I would have left right from the first day the cheating, accusations and beating began but I had my children to think of. I stayed for them because I don’t want another woman to come into their life and treat them bad, I couldn’t risk it. It’s not as bad as it was before. I mean it’s way better than before, so why leave now when I stayed all through the worst times? I vowed for better or for worse. I love my husband, I’m a part of what he’s become and we have a beautiful family and I won’t give that up easily. I don’t believe in divorce, my generation is different from yours. If I can’t fight for what I spent years building, then what was the point of it all? He doesn’t beat me anymore, the cheating just started again but he still treats me right but it’s not about me, it has never been. It’s about my children and their future. They might be big enough to understand the situation but it’s way too late to give up now. This family is literally my life’s work, it’s my sweat and with God by me I know it’s going to be alright.” She said as she tried her best to control her tears.
I just sat there listening to her in disbelief as she tried to make me understand. It made sense to me and yet it didn’t. I couldn’t completely understand. But then it hit me, she might not be as elegant as she was in the picture but she is confident in herself and God. I saw her in a whole new light, a strong, confident woman who doesn’t sit well with defeat. That man is sure lucky to have her and were her kids. Maybe one day when I have a family of my own, I’d truly understand. For now this is a love beyond my imagination. 😓