I introduced baby daddy to his wife. They will celebrate their 6th wedding anniversary this summer. Are they happy? Her facebook account would say yes but that’s not my story to tell. If they are happy, I am happy for them. It took me a long time to get here, though.
A couple years after they got married they got pregnant. Another baby girl was born whose name started with a G (are you noticing a trend in my life or what?!). I was cool when they got married. I was cool when they got pregnant. But when that baby was born my world was turned upside down.
If you know me in real life you know that I referred to that baby as my nemesis for at least a year. (I’m not proud of this but it’s a little bit funny now right?) Gwen was delighted to have a new sister. The whole family was in a state of bliss. A wanted child was born. It was a miracle. Life is a miracle. I, on the other hand, was slowly sinking into a depression. My daughter had a new relative. A new relative that I was not related to. There was a side of my daughter’s family that I had nothing to do with and how could they do this to me?! How dare they be happy! How dare they give my daughter something that I could not!
I took Gwen to the hospital the night the baby was born. We walked down the same hallways I walked down when I was in labor with her. Baby daddy greeted us at the entrance to the maternity ward. God it was like a bad sitcom- Look at us now! The same cast of characters reliving the same situation in the exact same place but under totally different circumstances. There was no doubt about it now, though- they were definitely happy.
We got home that night after the baby was born and I cried. I did everything right- why am I the one who’s crying?! I got out. I got a good job. I supported myself. I bought a house. Baby daddy and his wife still lived with his parents. They were crippled by student loan debt. They had dead end jobs in a dead end town. They were never getting out. I was supposed to be winning, so why am I crying?!
As it turns out though, none of that matters. What matters is family and love and togetherness and all of that mushy bullshit I have spent my entire adult life running far, far away from. I wasn’t winning anymore. They were happy and they were winning and they had a new baby on purpose and I had an appointment with a therapist. Why does it matter who’s winning, she asked me. Well, because I like to win! I changed my entire life when I decided to leave this man and I’ll be damned if ten years later he is better off than me! Can’t you both be winning? Can’t you both be happy and live the different lives that you want to? …No. I need to be winning. Okay then, I’ll see you next week.
Four years later and I am happy to report that therapy has worked and I am now winning again. JK.. ish. They have since had another child. Their life is measured in minutes between diaper changes and naptimes. They cut coupons and think the Olive Garden is a fancy restaurant. I, on the other hand, spend hours binge watching reality tv, online shopping, and planning my next trip on TripAdvisor. We lead completely different lives and that’s okay. We are both happy. That baby is no longer my nemesis and our daughter would rather spend her weekends with her friends than with either of her parents.
Gwen recently joined the Track team. She had a meet last week that I arrived early for. When baby daddy and his wife showed up with two messy toddlers in tow, I looked down and saw that his wife was wearing the same pair of shoes that I own. They looked good on her. I almost mentioned that I own the same pair but I didn’t. The next day I picked Gwen up from school. Hey at your track meet yesterday- She cut me off mid sentence. Yes, she said. Rachel was wearing your shoes. I wore them over there a few weeks ago and she began wearing them thinking they were mine. Oh, I said. For a flash of a second anger rose inside of me- she takes my baby daddy and gives my daughter siblings and now she’s taken my shoes?! Jesus Christ has this woman no morals?! Then I calmed down and realized that they are only shoes and actually they are not even that cute. It’s okay, I said. If it makes her happy, she can keep them.