Somewhere around ’98, we were starting to realize that we had outgrown our tin roofed refuge. Two kids in the Love Shack was getting crazy. We sold it about the time I was starting college two days a week. Corey would be embarking on his kindergarten experience and Casey would attend mother’s day out.
While we lived in the Love Shack, I played nanny to a friend of mines little girl. She and Casey were inseparable for years. Jayli called Corey Bubba. She was part of the family. One day, Kristi, Jayli’s mom, told me that I would be a good teacher, I can only assume she thought that based on the activities that I planned for our kiddos day in and day out. At the time I told her she was nuts. I had no desire to teach. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but it dadgum sure wasn’t teaching.
I spent 13 years teaching in Willis. Talk about eating my words. Thank you Kristi.
We were looking to get into a house that was more cost effective. The ole Love Shack was in dire need of some major repairs. The caveat, I wasn’t bringing in much money. By now, I was working as the preschool director at church. We decided that we would buy a trailer with the idea of renting it out once I graduated.
The neighborhood was an “upscale” trailer park with a smattering of waterfront houses. I have to giggle when I say “upscale” trailer park. Several years into our stent in Shadow Bay, our neighbors got busted for running a meth lab out of their trailer. You would think that the tin foil covered windows would’ve been cause for alarm but they weren’t. I was hiding behind my own tin foil covered windows, figuratively of course.
If you have been following my rambles, the “trailer years” are the ones that I wish I could erase. These years were the worst of our marriage, by far. OK, erasing those days may be a little extreme. As a family we did have some good times and Blake, my son in law, spent many days hanging out there with Corey and Casey. That’s a pretty cool memory.
Our neighbors to the left were precious. I’m not referring to the meth dealers, hopefully that was obvious. I’ve had the privilege of watching Madison and Leah grow up via Facebook. We lived next door to them for several years. If not for Facebook, I would have lost touch. One a free spirit. The other a wife and momma. It seems like it was just yesterday that they were giggling and greeting me when I emerged from my little red Honda Civic. Two beautiful girls now young ladies with their own stories to tell.
My kids spent a lot of time riding bikes around the neighborhood with the Vincent boys. Oh the adventure they had! Angela, their momma was and still is a good friend of mine, although not as close as we once were.
Shadow Bay was an “upscale” trailer park with lake access and that, of course made me happy. Many a day was spent at the boat ramp swimming or fishing. I guess more memories I wouldn’t want to erase.
From the outside looking in, you would never had known that we were on the verge of divorce. We were able to keep up that facade for several years. Behind closed doors, much sadness, anger and loneliness ensued.
I don’t really even remember what we fought about, specifically. We just didn’t like each other, plain and simple. I think we resented each other. No, I know that we resented each other. Both feeling like we had made more sacrifices than the other. By this time we weren’t stupid kids anymore, we were just stupid.
A tight budget, resentment, anger and loneliness.
College was freeing for me but added more contention to our already strained situation. Stuart wasn’t a fan of the idea from the get go. First off, he saw dollar signs. Second, he just wanted me to hurry up and find a job at which I could make decent money and “contribute.” I don’t feel that he valued me staying home all those years when he was younger. If he did find value in me staying home it was derived from the fact that staying home was cost effective. Childcare was and is still expensive. For me, beyond the dollar signs were the memories I was making with my kiddos.
“You’ll never graduate, it’s a waste of time.” When I was ready to throw in the towel, those words were echoed by that little voice inside my head. In a warped way, he helped motivate me. I realize now that his mentality was driven by frustration.
Another family member was of the same mindset. “Why do you need to go to college? You won’t finish. Just get a job.” It’s funny how I can see the origin of Stuart’s frustration but have no desire to decipher the origin of her deprecation. Her words still drive me today when I decide to take on a challenge. I’ve since forgiven but that deprecating little voice still motivates when I need it most. So thank you. You know who you are.
Going to college, being a momma and trying to survive the hell that was my marriage was exhausting, soul sucking if you will. If ever in my life I felt like I’d lost my sense of self, it was during those years, or so I thought.