The Mechanized Era

We sat on the balcony in silence for what seemed like an hour. I was waiting for him to say something anything to help explain what was happening between us. He didn’t have the words. I was the first to speak. I explained what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. he listened and then just insisted that he was all out of sorts because of our location. That answer pissed me off even more, but I buried it. I took a deep breath and simply asked, “what is our plan?” I wanted to know what our strategy was for leaving and getting ourselves in a better situation so that we could get back to what we were supposed to be. He explained that he was looking for jobs in a variety of cities but hadn’t really thought about where he really wanted to live. I told him that I loved California, San Diego specifically. I was also understanding, I knew that he may not find a job in San Diego. I figured that my personal goal would be finishing school. I could do that in any state and was willing to relocate to anywhere. Well almost anywhere. The ONLY exception was back home to St. Louis. I loved to visit but I just didn’t want to live there fulltime.

In the summer of 2000, we sold all of the house hold stuff we could. We left what we couldn’t and packed our car to the hilt. Leaving just enough room for my brother, Adrian, and myself as we headed out to our new home in St. Louis. Yup, the one place I did not want to live on the entire fucking planet!

The moment he approached me with the idea of it I seriously felt like I got punched in the gut. I listened to his reasoning and gave no real outward sign of how deeply I resented him for his suggestion. Halfway through I stopped listening. I knew as a wife there were sacrifices to be made. A little piece of me was placed in a box on a shelf that day. There were other pieces already there on the shelf. Each one nearly microscopic and barely visible to the naked eye. There were just a few pieces there at this point. Each time I went against my natural desires and goals a piece was added. The times I surrendered to his will at the expense of my needs another piece was added. I had talked to a few married women and had come to learned that this was the price you had to pay if you loved a man. I just hoped that there would not be too many pieces on the shelf and that at some point when he had the job he wanted things would get back to normal.

We stayed with my dad and Kim for about a month.  They wanted us to say longer but we simply couldn’t. they had rules for their home that we simply could not and would not abide by as adults. So, we found an apartment downtown. I had gotten a job at AT&T in customer service and he was in still in the middle of his interviewing process for a couple of jobs. Things were tight but we had saved up and we were fine for the moment. Then everything went left.

The main company that Adrian wanted to work for halted his hiring process just when it was about to be final. Something happened and they were having layoffs. They had no date available for when the job would become open again. Adrian was devastated. We had to rework our plan. I changed jobs to Leer/Ford. I hated the job, but the pay and benefits were more than triple what I was making at AT&T. Adrian took a position teaching engineering at Gateway High school.  He Hated it. I was supportive and told him to keep looking for what he wanted while he worked. I was making a lot and we were doing well. Even if it was not our original plan things were good. We picked furniture. We had people over. I thought things were getting on track. I was still a little unsure but overall, I thought we had turned the corner.

Just as things were getting good, I began to have a desire that I had never thought I would. I wanted a baby! I literally just laughed out loud. I never thought I wanted children. Adrian and I had never even had conversation about the possibilities of children. So initially I didn’t know how to approach him with it. Surprisingly when I did, he was on board! I stopped taking the pill and within a few months I was showing up at his job with balloons and a bear to announce that we were having a baby!!!! I was so happy! Something with Adrian was off tho, I saw it the moment I told him I was pregnant. Adrian smiled slightly and awkwardly got up and gave me a hug and then returned to his seat. I began to feel uncomfortable and so I just left saying that I would see him later when he got home. Another piece was added to the shelf.

About four months into the pregnancy I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. It would take us almost a year of tracking ovulation cycles and whatnot before we were finally pregnant again! I don’t remember how I told Adrian the second time nor do I recall his reaction. By then we had bought our first house and had already started preparing to have our first kido. Q was born in the summer of 2002 and his brother Ty followed in the spring of 2004. We were a quartet!

I was happy and did everything I could think of to make everyone around me happy. I worked a lot but would still do everything in my power to make sure I had time to read with the kids and cook dinner most nights. It was kind of like a program or mechanized routine that was repeated daily for years.

Work me ———- Mom me ———- Wife me

Mechanization the word I chose to describe this stage in my life. To me it is perfect and the only word that fits. I had a work schedule, the kids had a schedule, and yup I even had a schedule for Adrian.  My life ran as efficiently as one of the automated assembly lines at work. Instead of pumping out a specific number of car seats per hour, I somehow managed to work, cook, read, play, and all the other wifely duties. Sadly there was little to no time left for me but all and all I was a happy, all be it busy, little bee.

I was so busy in my mechanized, automated, programed life that I failed to notice that Adrian was not as happy as I. he had quit teaching for a position with the city working on the equipment for testing air quality, but it was not what he WANTED to do. We talked about it and I told him that we were good financially and if he wanted to go back to school or start a business he could. I was behind him 100%. I asked him what he wanted, and his answer was always, “to make a lot of money.” I didn’t know how to support that, there was no plan, no actual goal, just more money. I had to let him figure it out. I had been running around doing things and trying to help him be happy, but I was beginning to realize that to be an impossibility. Another piece was added to the shelf.

Adrian came up with a couple business ideas and even took out a loan to start a franchise. I was hopeful but had my doubts about his dedication to these projects. I knew that he could be successful with them if he put his mind to it, but I did not believe he would put his full effort into the businesses he chose to start. They just didn’t fit his personality or the image of who he believed himself to be.

Within a relatively short period of time he came to me and told me that he no longer wanted to continue with his businesses. It was a very difficult conversation for him to have with me. I understood why, we would lose ALL of the money we had invested.  The thing was we were still really great finically. No, we were not flying around on privet jets, but we had almost no debt outside of the business loan. I told him that I loved him. That it was ok. We were good. Again, I asked what he wanted to do and again he had the same answer; “make a lot of money”. I suggested he go back to school I could handle things for a bit and when he finished, I would get to go back to school. I thought that school would help him figure out exactly what he wanted to do. He refused.

A couple of years later the Lear plant that I was working in was shutting down. He told me that he had a job offer in Dallas and since I had two years of pay on my severance package I would finally get to go back to school. Once again, we sold what we could and shipped out in hopes of finding Adrian’s happiness.

****During these years there were so many pieces of myself placed on the shelf. So many of my wants and needs that I pushed aside in an effort to be a good wife and mother. I don’t know how people say things like “I have no regrets” and have that be an actual true statement. It sounds nice but the reality is there will always be things that we regret, things that we wish we had done differently. I really regret not making my wants, needs, and desires a priority. I consistently put myself last in the hopes that my sacrifice would be recognized or rewarded at some later date. The problem with that is if all we have is now later never arrives. This was perfect breeding ground for resentment. ***

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