A New Life
Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College
A New Life
I was once on the road to nowhere speeding down at 100 mph because I had quit college to marry an abusive man whom I was passionately in love with. I overlooked his drug and alcohol abuse and the way he controlled my life because my love for him was blind. My small income of seven hundred dollars a month was all the income we had most of the time because of his almost constant unemployment and drug use. We were swimming in a sea of debt while he spent what little money we had on drugs. He controlled every aspect of my life including when and how I slept. In essence I was his puppet. Still I stayed with him, forgiving the abuse, thinking that love would be enough to get us through. In my heart I knew he was only using me to support his habit, but I loved him and would not accept the bitter truth.
Then, on one special day, my life changed forever. On August 27,1996, I gave birth to a healthy eight-pound, twelve-ounce baby girl I named Rachael. Her birth is the single event that would forever alter the course of my life. That evening as I cradled my newborn in my arms I knew without a doubt and without hesitation I would give my life to save hers. As the new day dawned I wanted to do my best to fill her every need and give her the very best life I could. In essence the love I felt for my child helped me to discover courage, determination, and patience.
Courage was my first discovery. I now feared for her safety and well-being, so when my husband tried to control what I did as her mother I stood up to him. For instance, Rachael was a colicky baby and my husband told me to let her cry. That is when I defied him to care for my child because I knew she needed me. My newly-found courage only grew: I no longer was willing to support him because I was painfully aware that his habits were harming Rachael. He spent most of our money on drugs and was constantly out of a job. At times it got so bad I had to ask my mother for money to buy diapers. When I went to work I left Rachael in my husband's care. He would get high with his buddies and neglect Rachael. Once I came home and her soiled diaper had not been changed in so long it was stuck to her skin. I was finally able to admit to myself that he did not care about anything except for drugs and alcohol. I could no longer put my child in harm's way or have her grow up in an abusive home. That is when I kicked him out and filed for a divorce. Fortunately for us, he found someone else to support his habit and he disappeared from our lives.
Starting over was not easy but it led to my next discovery: determination. I had no other choice but to persevere and make a better life for Rachael so I went to work every morning, leaving her safely in my aunt's care. I worked hard to pay off the mountain of bills left from my failed marriage, and my perseverance made a difference for now I am free of debt. Because I no longer support my ex-husband, I am able to pay the bills. As a result, life has become more enjoyable without the worry of how I will pay the rent. In addition, because I only barely eke out a living on a food service worker's salary, I decided to return to college to make a better life for Rachael. Even now when I attempt to give up, I only have to think of her and I am filled with determination and strength to go on.
Perhaps the most important discovery I have made is that of patience. Rachael has taught me to endure life's trials without complaint. To illustrate, a trip to the doctor's office used to be torture because I had to wait. I would thumb through magazines, never reading the articles, only becoming increasingly agitated with each passing moment. Then I took Rachael to the doctor and she wanted to look at the magazines and an amazing thing happened. As I read the articles to her, I realized some of the articles were worth reading. Now I wait patiently and sometimes wish I had a few moments more to finish reading before being called. I learned that impatience only leads to frustration, but patience leads to new horizons.
All in all, I am grateful for the day Rachael was born because she has enriched my life in so many ways by helping me to discover the hidden assets I had all along. The love I have for her gave me a reason to change the course of my life. In other words her birth was the catalyst that changed the course of my life. Like a spark that starts a fire, her birth ignited a fire within me to change the course of my life for her. Without her birth I am certain I would still be on the road to nowhere.