Monday night, my son Henry had an orchestra concert at the high school. It's my favorite concert to watch...all of the orchestra kids in the ENTIRE school district perform together (grades 5 through 12). That many kids playing Ode To Joy...unless you have a heart made of stone you will be moved.
Anyhoo. My friend Carol and I were seated behind an unfairly gorgeous family. Picture Mike Myers as a good looking Latino, that's the dad. Mom looked like the love child of Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, and the two little ones with them looked like darker versions of the Campbell Soup kids. Mom was cuddling the sweet chubby baby, and when he got fussy she handed him over to Dad. As they walked by us, I said to Carol "Ohh my GAWD how cute is he??". Carol said, "Which one?" and I answered, "Well, both. But sadly I'm too old for either one of them."
I have been blessed with four healthy children. I would have had more, if the option had presented itself to me, but that door is not only closed now-it's locked, boarded shut and securely wrapped in police tape.
During the months after Big Daddy's initial departure, I did everything I could to get him back home. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, redecorated, painted, worked out, changed my hair, etc. I tried so hard to make him want to be part of the family again. And after a few months, it seemed to be working. He started spending more and more time at home. We talked, and eventually started acting like a married couple again. He still had his apartment, but spent nights at our home. We even started going out on "dates" again. I thought for sure we had made it through the worst of things. I started asking him to put his notice in at the apartment and move back home. He kept saying he would, then said he did. I exhaled for the first time in months...things were going to be ok.
But Big Daddy wanted one thing done before he made the big move back...during a conversation we had at dinner one night, he said that he wanted to make sure we were done having kids. I don't doubt for a second that he loves our children, but he made it clear, many many times, that he didn't want any more. There was a pregnancy scare shortly after #4 was born. I remember telling him about it and very clearly recall what he said: "If you're pregnant, we have two options. Abortion or my suicide." Crystal clear, right? Thankfully it was nothing more than a scare. You would think that if someone felt that strongly about keeping babies at bay, they would do something about it. I had asked him a few times to consider getting snipped, but he balked. I figured that I had been the one to carry the babies, I'd had 3 c-sections and one vaginal birth that almost resulted in a dead mom and a dead baby...I was not thrilled at the idea of having anything else cut, stitched or opened. But, if it meant that things would go back to normal..
I scheduled my tubal ligation for a Tuesday in August of 2005. Big Daddy was going to be off on a company golf trip so my mom volunteered to take me for the procedure. I made dinner for him the night before he left on the trip, the eve of my sterilization. As he helped dry the dishes I said to him, "This is a really big deal for me. I need to know that you are serious about coming back and getting things right between us." I will never, ever forget him bending down, putting a pan away and saying, "It's all good."