I have worn many hats in my 43 years on earth. Class clown, The Smoking Cheerleader, Good Time Girl, Girl to Play Quarters With, Bakery Girl, Lush...you get the idea. From about 7th grade until the time I got pregnant with my first child (age 26) life was one big party. I thought very little about consequences and aftermaths. Selfish with a capital ME. An IQ over 140 but the sense of the Village Idiot. I have a few regrets, for sure. I wish I had done a better job in high school. I wish I had seized the opportunity that college gave me. I wish I had married my first love. But unless I stumble upon Scott Bakula and his Quantum Leap, those regrets will always remain just that.
My most recent hat is that of New Jenny. Life has been pretty trying over the past few years, and there were some moments that I didn't think I would make it. I am nothing if not tenacious, however, so here I am...a chubby, poor, single mom starting over at age 43. I won't bore you with the sob stories, but just as a fill-in here's some history: Met my future ex-husband at Gluek's bar one night in 1991. Fell in deep like and we were inseparable pretty much until he announced that he was leaving me in 2005. We had a shotgun wedding. As I like to say, "The bride wore maternity"..Charlie was first, the other three followed in rapid-fire succession: Molly, Henry and baby William. Big Daddy was a lowly insurance worker and I folded jeans at the Gap. We had big dreams, Big Daddy and I.
Together we purchased my childhood home from my father. It was a tiny, ramshackle little abode with more character than square footage. Got it for a song and it wasn't long before Big Daddy decided to refinance. The money from that first refinance was meant for a new (and badly needed) roof, but one thing about Big Daddy...money burns holes in his pockets. Instead of a new roof there was a new t.v., a new car (because a dad of four needs a tiny Audi, right?) and lots of new clothes for a certain someone. Cuz every girl's crazy bout a sharp dressed man, apparently.
Anyhoo. Long story short. He got his big break, and we were standing at the precipice of success. Enter The Secretary.
I don't know all the gory details, just enough to make me question every word, every gesture, every single promise he made to me during the last couple years of our marriage. She wasn't his secretary, but the company they worked for really stressed good co-worker relationships. Parties were often held with the caveat "No Spouses"...Happy Hours at the local sports bars were a must if one wanted to stay on the Cool Kids list at this company. This was the very beginning of the year 2000. I was pregnant with our fourth baby. I knew something was up when I fell and broke my leg while 7 months pregnant with #4. I slipped on the ice while walking #1 to the kindergarten bus, and my neighbors saved the day. Repeated calls to Big Daddy all went to voicemail, until he finally showed up at the hospital several hours later. Once I was all crutched up and released, he brought me home, sat me down on a chair in the living room and announced, "I have tickets to the Timberwolves game tonight..I'm going to go, and I'm not going to feel bad about it." Yep, I think that single sentence, when added to the frequent late nights out, the snappy wardrobe and the creepy new goatee, gave me that first scary stab of fear. Which I promptly buried. This was Big Daddy, after all. He was a good guy.
To be continued.