Six years ago, on September 18th, 2001, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I mean huge,enormous, life altering. I agreed to date my next door neighbour, Shawn.
September 11th, 2001, was a day that none of us will ever forget. It is engrained in our memories forever. I will never forget September 11th for all of the reasons that everyone never will, and for some reasons that are all my own.
I seperated from my husband in May of 2000. I had decided that I would not rush into anything, and that I would just hang with my girls for the next little while, and forget all about men, dating and all of the complications that dating men will bring to your life. I was fine with that until I moved into a little townhouse next door to the burly construction worker.
I thought that maybe he looked familiar, but I didn't really KNOW him. He was a repeat customer at the grocery store where I worked, and he was the uncle of Kayla's friend. He was also my new neighbour. He smiled shyly whenver he saw me, and almost always blushed when I said hello. I could feel my cheeks grow hotter when he spoke to me,too. He would come over to use the phone, and borrow this or that. I liked him, but I was certain that he was taken. I toyed with the idea of asking him out, but could never get up the nerve.
September 11th changed all of that. I watched the twin towers burn to the ground on tv, and thought that the world might be ending. I knew then that I would have to make a move on the hot guy next door. It was now or never. If the world was going to end, I didn't want to die alone.
Later that night, as some of the neighbours and I were sitting outside, talking about the tragedy, a man walked up to me and handed me papers. He was posing a pizza guy, and I instinctively knew that he was looking for me. I was served with court papers from Geoff, husband #2, stating that he wanted custody of Jessica. She was only 6 then, and he hadn't even seen her for months. He was behind on support, and hadn't even so much as called to ask about the daughters that he left behind. Now, on September 11th, of all days, he was letting me know that had every intention of splitting up the family, and taking away my baby. It was more than I could deal with. Scared out of my mind, I phoned Betty in Nova Scotia, and made arrangements to leave the province. I had no doubt that I would retain custody, but the road ahead seemed too long. I could NOT do this. I spent 7 years battling Rudi for custody, and dealing with the fall out from that. I was not willing to do it again. No way. I was out of there.
Betty told me that she was going to send me money to move, and even had a house for me to live in. She and Stan had recently decided to rent out their 3 bedroom townhouse, and it was empty. That same night, I started planning my escape. I would pack all of my stuff that fit a U-Haul, take my 3 kids, my dog, and split. I was outta there.
Then, something happened to change my mind.
Shawn asked me out. The guy that I had been crushing for months finally got up the nerve to ask ME out....I said yes. I had to.
For the first couple of days, he came over to my house, and the girls played with his niece while Shawn and I watched tv in the living room. We didn't even kiss until our second 'date.' I was falling in love.
Please. Could my life get anymore complicated? I was supposed to be packing my kids up and moving across the country. I wanted to run, and I wanted to stay.
I stayed. I really had no choice. Shawn couldn't leave Ontario, and I didn't want to leave him. Strange as it may sound, I was in love. (Still am)
Betty was pissed. She didn't understand how I could risk everything for a man that I had just met. I didn't know how to explain it. The girls were mad. They had been burned twice, because of the choices that I had made. They were afraid to love again.
Honestly, so was I.
We have been together since September 18th, 2001. Just one week earlier, I had cried myself to sleep, alone, and frightened. I was angry with God. Angry over the tragedy that I watched unfold on tv, and angry over the fact that I was once again, going to fight for my baby, this time without a partner.
I can't believe how much my life changed in that week. I can't believe how much my life has changed in the past six years. We have been through so much, as a couple, and as a family. We aren't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but we are a family.
I wouldn't have it any other way.