I remember when I was a kid, and I envisioned what adulthood would look like. Probably much like every little middle class kid does. Or at least every little girl. You know, white picket fence, flowery garden, pumpkins on the porch in the fall, Christmas lights during the holidays, the whole shebang. When I was living in South Korea, in a 11th floor flat, I loved it as a newlywed, but I hated it as a soon to be mom. It never felt homey enough to bring my baby girl home to, so I looked forward to moving back to America, hoping we could move into the perfect little house for our family. As it turns out, we did move into the perfect little house in Louisiana. It genuinely looked like it came out of a storybook, trees filling the shady backyard, and the most adorable little front stoop you can imagine. As life would have it, we didn't get to stay in that house more than a couple weeks, and we moved, once again, this time back into an apartment on a military post. We had noisy, rude neighbors above us, but some really great friends in the surrounding apartments around us that we eventually became good friends with. We and our neighbors gathered every single night, our puppies chasing each other and one year old Cori, as we all talked and laughed until darkness covered the sky. When our little monkey, Avery, came along, we realized we'd outgrown the tiny two bedroom apartment, and much to our luck, our housing company offered us a beautiful three bedroom townhouse to move into. We moved in only two weeks after construction was completed, and it was modern, beautiful, and roomy. I loved looking down from our upstairs bedroom into the backyard and seeing Cori and Avery's playset, and the way the evening light shined through the dining room windows when I was cooking dinner every night. It felt more like home than my little family had ever felt.
But life fell apart in that home. My marriage crumbled, and my perfect family vanished. I don't know if I'll ever forget the night that I left through that front door for the last time, with my belongings shoved into the trunk of my sister-in-law's car. I buckled into the backseat, beside my sleeping 15 month old Avery, and I cried my way back to South Carolina. I had lost the family I'd been envisioning my whole life, and I feared, for the next year of my life, that I'd never get it back. It was a pretty dark spot for me, and I bounced around with what felt like no direction towards a solid future. Even when I felt ready to date, I got into a relationship that I knew, deep down, would never progress to what I truly desired, the family I truly desired. After all, nobody envisions the perfect family as a single mom and her two kids. And I feared marrying a man who wouldn't show love for my own kids as if they were his very own. I loved being married, and I love being a mom. I was terrified that I'd never have the perfect little family that I'd once had and will always desire to have again. I felt like I wore a badge of shame for a long time, both for the actions I'd chosen for myself, and the fact that I'd been the wife that was cheated on by her husband. I felt sadness at the broken homes my children would forever bear as their upbringing. Shameful.
But I'm okay now. Somehow, I made it through the last year. Somehow, I made it into the arms of a man that I think could one day actually fit into that imperfectly perfect little family unit that I want to have so badly. I see the way he loves his son, and it awakens my heart and warms me throughout. My children are moving home this week. There won't be any more kisses via video chat, and heartbreaking goodbye hugs. My babies are moving home. Several times a week, every week, my kids will be all mine. I can, for the first time in a very long time, picture happiness and completion in my not so far off future. I see myself cooking dinner for my family, and waking up to a full house on the weekend. I don't feel so shameful anymore because even the worst things have a funny way of making sense. Life does move forward, you see. Somehow, life moves forward.