how it began

An excerpt from my ‘year in review’ post detailing how we got here. The post in it’s entirety can be found on my personal blog: mlbyard.wordpress.com.

After building brick walls all Spring and spending Summer carefully drawing boundaries not to be crossed, I had found myself tumbling over someone in the Fall. We were in love long before Fall, however I refused to allow myself back into anything that resembled the hole I’d recently forced myself to bury.

He captured my heart and pure circumstance kept pulling us together. I was scared to let him into my life, but eventually I realized it was something we could never prevent. I kept our relationship off social media, and it helped me enjoy our time together without distraction. We spent September cooking together and making trips to Traverse City, where I realized a distinct beauty that can be found nowhere else. Nicolas brought me to Old Mission Peninsula and had me experience wine tasting for the first time, in the most breathtaking place.

We began spending much of our time together, and life seemed to calm down for a while in each other’s presence. Something that began so innocently in March had grown immensely. By October I realized my life had changed more than I could ever imagine…until imagination became reality.

On October 21st I sent a text to three of my closest friends: “What does this look like to you?”

A photo followed:


When I got home from work that day the answer became very clear to me and I realized I had a decision to make.

I spent the next month in tears. I did research, and learned about my options. I wanted to make an educated, well thought out decision. I cried every day because while I’d been incredibly bold and brave so far this year, I knew that whatever decision I made during the month of November would be even bolder and more brave, and I wasn’t sure I had it in me. Apparently I did.

An abortion was scheduled for November 21st, and when that day came, we drove all the way to Grand Rapids, hand in hand, trying to talk about lighter topics on the way down trying to make the drive seem less grave. I clutched my baggie of goldfish in the hand that wasn’t being held and tried not to feel every mile run over my heart. As we approached the clinic the clouds grew thick and the traffic thicker. Two red lights before our street Nick turned to me and said, “You have to tell me what you want to do here.”

I just stared at him, the seconds were ticking and there weren’t enough red lights in all of the world to save me. The decision was mine, and like I had been told so many times before, no one could make it for me.

So much was at stake in that moment. My future, his, ours…the life of a person I haven’t met. For either choice I could ask the same questions: What would people think? Who would be the first to speak out against my decision, whatever it be? How would this affect my life? The lives of those around me? Was I ready to do this? Would I regret my decision? Is this the right thing to do? The light turned green.

He drove up to the next light. “Your destination is on the right.”

I was still staring at him. “Well?” he asked.

It came out as a whisper.

“I don’t want to bleed for that long,” was all I said, and he turned left and took us home.

To date, in all of my existence, I have never known myself to be more brave.

Close family and friends have known all of the details of this story as it happened, and in December we sent out Christmas announcements to extended family. We’ve been waiting a long time, for the right time and in the right way, to announce this publicly. There seemed no better time than at the end of the longest year, and at the start of a beautiful new one.

Before I close this post I want to end with a final remark: I once read, “we don’t seek the painful experiences that hue our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of our painful experiences. We cannot bare a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe that it is purposeful. Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle. We could have been ourselves without our delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning.” Take some time to look back on the year you’ve had and find in what looked like sorrows, the seedlings of your joy.

If you are like me, and at first glance 2016 seemed to be the worst year of your life, try to view it from another perspective: you have made bold mistakes and brave recoveries, do not despair- find meaning and assign purpose to the painful experiences you’ve endured; find peace in the idea that this year has brought you where you are and has played a part in making you who you are; when you finally do, you will only have bliss to look forward to in 2017.

Our bliss to look forward to is this little bundle of joy arriving July 2017.

Advertisements