There was a point in time, a fairly significant point in time, when I thought the dream was forever.
We had six kids. Three boys, three girls. All about a year apart. They all had curls, rosy cheeks and boundless energy. They were gigglers, and putting them to bed was a 2-hour affair.
We had a house in Northern New Brunswick, set on 42 acres of land. There was a huge garden, a horse pasture and stables.
We had a swimming pool, and in the summer we'd spend afternoons splashing around as water babies do, and evenings sitting by the fire pit roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.
In the fall, the maple trees in the front yard shed flaming leaves, and no sooner would my husband scoop them into a pile than the kids would dive into them, scattering them to the wind, imprinting their unique Picasso impressions in my heart.
There was a trail that led into the woods behind the house. If you followed it far enough, it led you to a lake that expanded steadily each year under the constraints of a high-rise beaver dam. In the winter, we would walk down the beaver dam trail to chop down a tree that would infuse the house with the bright smell of pine and serve as shelter for the gazillion gifts that would magically appear on Christmas morning.
It was the stuff dreams are made of.
It was all a DREAM.
I had the house, and the 42 acres, and the swimming pool, and the beaver dam.
But the kids never came.
Try as we might, the kids never came.
Thankfully. Because they likely wouldn't have survived the dream that morphed into a nightmare.
The visions of children diving joyfully into piles of leaves morphed into the sight of my ex stumbling up the driveway stoned out of his skull.
The sound of children giggling was replaced by his drunken ravings.
The image of family time by the pool was reframed with drug-and-drink-infused impromptu and inopportune pool parties. Waking up to random strangers sleeping on my living room sofa the next morning.
There was a point in time, a fairly significant point in time, where I thought the nightmare was real.
And then it ended. Almost 12 years ago.
And I woke up here. With Smilin' Vic. With Kiddo. Somehow, miraculously, with Kiddo.