A month after my daughter was born Manny and I got in my new baby friendly Honda Civic and head off to Lake Tahoe. He’s driving, I’m in the backseat with the baby, and my Mother is the only person who knows we’re on our way to get married.
In April 2003 the roads were full of snow and the Civic was full of tension. Everything he said and did got on my nerves. Every time he rolled through a stop sign my mind screamed, idiot! Every time he went on a rant about how much anything cost my mind screamed, cheap ass bastard! When he put snow chains on the tires incorrectly and they badly scratched the paint on my brand new car (after me begging him to stop and pay the twenty dollars for the assistance being offered on the snowy roads) my mind screamed, I hate you!
I gave myself a headache burning a hole in the back of his head with disapproving stares. But every time I looked over at my baby, my mind calmly stated, I’ll try my best to keep your parents together. That was the goal. That is what mattered.
When we arrived in Lake Tahoe around 8 o’clock, we found a motel room and I opened a phone book and got to work calling chapels. I found one that could take us that night at 10 o’clock. Yippee.
I found the scene comical. If I hadn’t been laughing internally, then I would have been crying. Like most women, I had dreamed of this moment, and I had killed the dream and buried it in Lake Tahoe. There I was in a grey sweatshirt, blue sweatpants, holding a month old baby, standing next to a man that mentally, emotionally, and physically makes me ill, 10 o’clock at night, in a cheesy chapel with an odd smell. I was the idiot.
The decision I made all boiled down to fear. I was afraid if I didn’t keep him close I would be on my own with the baby. Everyone I knew at my age who had a baby were not in a relationship with the other parent. I vowed to be different. It seemed obvious to me she would have a better life with her mother and father being together.
Soon after the I do’s, I found out how enormously wrong I was.