I didn’t know what it would take to rebuild my life, or that it would take years of hard work to heal. I didn’t know what it would look like for the abuse to be a defining part of my story, but not a defining part of who I am. I didn’t know that I would eventually begin slowly, painstakingly rebuilding my identity in the image of the One who made me or how that both was and was not a simple task.
What I did know was that I wanted to live happily ever after, and I figured that at some point, if I worked hard enough, if I got far enough away from him, I’d get there. And I did, only it looks nothing like I thought it would.
I wanted happily ever after to be, well, happy. Pain-free. I’d had enough pain, thank you. A lifetime’s worth in two years.
I have my happily ever after, only if I’m not careful, I don’t see it, because instead of happy, it looks like plain old real life.
Marriage. Child. Job. Mortgage.
Broken radiators and leaking hot water heaters.
New jobs, changing schedules, too much transition at once.
Depression and joy and contentment.
The exhaustion and exhilaration of parenting a little one.
Dinnertime tantrums and a sweet little voice saying, “Mama, miss you!”
Marital tiffs and makeups and always underneath it all being grateful for the steadfastness of my husband.
Dressy date nights out and cozy evenings in.
Family gatherings and finding time to see friends.
A planner that is too full when I just want to take a nice, long nap, and the suspicion that I really never will get it all done.
Realizing that even when real life feels like too much, it’s still real and safe and everything I wanted and never thought I would have.
My happily ever after is not always happy and it’s not perfect, but it is exactly what I need.