Written by DeAnna Erdmann
I wish I had never even dated him. He is a lying, cheating, controlling jerk who has never taken accountability for anything! I screamed at myself in my head. I smiled at him over the top of our daughter’s head on the outside. She nestled her cheek in the soft crook between my breast and collar bone, a motion that was strangely similar to how she cuddled me when she was an infant. My heart thudded heavily in my chest, and I closed my eyes and breathed in her scent. I kissed the top of her head. How did she get so tall that I could kiss her without bending over? I could feel the sad droop in her shoulders as she turned and climbed into her dad’s car with her head hung low and eyes that didn’t want to look at me. That precious girl hated to show emotion, so hiding her tears was like second nature to her. I got in my van and tried to keep from crying myself as I watched her drive away.
“Mom, are we going home now?” my four-year-old asked from the back seat. I wiped a tear from my cheek, “Yes, baby.”
I started a video for her before I began our journey home. It passed too quickly, my weekend with my oldest daughter and the drive home. Before I knew it, we were home, dinner was eaten, a walk was taken, a bath splashed in, and we were down for a good cuddle on the couch before bed.
“Can I have a popsicle?” my little one asked. I got up without answering and grabbed one from the freezer without bothering to let the color register with me.
“No! I didn’t want green! I wanted lellow!” she yelled as she arched her back and flopped in displeasure.
“Listen, little girl. Screaming and yelling will get you nowhere in life. Sometimes you have to be happy with what is handed to you, even if it doesn’t look like what you thought it should.”
With narrow eyes and pouty lips, she grabbed her popsicle and was quickly enjoying it, and back in a happy place. My husband got home from work, but I was so lost in the clouds of my sadness that I barely acknowledged him or thanked him as he took over getting our daughter ready for bed. We prayed with her together, but his words were lost on me. I know we made small talk, and he tried his best to comfort me. He was so generous in his understanding of how much I hurt after taking my eldest back to her dad.
I went to bed wrapped in my melancholy, whispering a silent prayer, “Lord, why am I in this sad season? Can I be anywhere but here? I wish I had never had never been with him.” I closed my eyes and was quickly asleep.
I stretched and realized I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I opened my eyes confused because my husband and I never had our blinds open. I wasn’t in my bedroom anymore. I was in my barracks room in Germany. In a confused daze I sat up and looked around at the bare walls and drab furniture. The clock on the nightstand told me it was a Saturday morning. I quickly dressed and grabbed my keys and headed to the parking lot. I just know this is a dream and I want to see everything that I can.
As I walked through the entryway of the barracks I saw a young man standing to the right wearing a red hoodie and old baggy jeans. A strange feeling of deja vu swept over me. The young man turned and I nearly stumbled; it was my ex husband. This is the day we had met, when I offered him a ride to his friends house.
In an instant I could hear the Holy Spirit in my body. I could offer him a ride and endure all the hardships life would bring me or I could walk past him and never meet any of my children. I heard my own words echo in my ears, sometimes you just have to be happy with what is handed to you, even if it doesn’t look like what you thought it should. I took a deep breath and smiled at him.
“Are you new to the unit? I don’t think I’ve met you.”