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The Beginning

I’m writing a little something.  It’s about Blythe’s life, from my perspective.  What she went through, what I went through.  I feel like I need to do it now, before the memories fade too far into the past.  It’s important to me that those years not be forgotten.  Some day, I hope to give her story to her in book form.  She deserves to know what happened.

I’m going to post bits of it here, perhaps all of it.  All of this will be my first draft, to be perfected in time.  I welcome your feedback, your questions, your input.  In fact, I request it.  Please help me get this right.

Self and Other Self

A child’s illness. 

A father’s secret addiction. 

A family’s journey through discovery and recovery.


I might tell you that this is a story about pain, deception and heartache.  Or maybe I could say it’s about redemption and forgiveness.  It is all of those things, I suppose, but at the core, this is a story about my daughter, the two people she was, and the beautiful person she has become.

The beginning:

Her life began as lives tend to begin.  One day, a bean burrito looked appetizing after a lifetime of bean-induced revulsion, and there she was, growing inside of me.  Three quarters of a year later, her dad, her 3½ year old sister Alison and I welcomed her home a few short hours after her quick trip into the world at a birth center.

Blythe slipped easily into our day to day life, a happy, healthy, contended baby who ate ravenously and slept deeply.  From the very beginning, she seemed fascinated by the world around her.  Sometimes I replay those first few months in my mind and I’m saddened by how remote the memories feel.  There were times that I wished I could wrap myself up in them, like a heavy down blanket on a cold winter night.  But they are the equivalent of an afghan.  They kept me from freezing, but were riddled with holes.  Why didn’t I pay closer attention, and savor each minute?

Instead, I lived life as though every day would be like that one in June, when we sat underneath the canopy of trees that grew tall and wide in front of the barn.  It was deliciously warm, and the hair at the nape of Blythe’s neck was in damp spiral curls where it rested against my knees.  Her feet pressed gently against the small bump of my belly where she kicked from within just a month prior. 

The world revolved around us in that moment, mother and child.  Her hazel eyes, not able to see more than the distance of my face according to medical science, took in the swaying leaves above our heads.  As the limbs of those mighty trees danced in the summer breeze, I watched my daughter and wondered about who she would become.  I couldn’t wait to find out what kind of thoughts she would have, the kinds of things that would make her laugh, what her little voice would sound like when she began to put words together.

When I play that memory in my head, I feel as though I’m in a theater, tempted to yell at the naïve and unsuspecting people on the screen to run for their lives before they are massacred by a chainsaw-wielding lunatic.

Or, perhaps more deeply, more truthfully, I want to whisper quietly in the ear of the woman I once was.  I want to tell her that she should memorize every smile, and every bit of happiness.  “These are the moments you will cling to,” I would say, “this is the child you will fight for.  This one, right here.” 

As for Blythe, that sweet and innocent baby, nothing I might say could prepare her for what she would endure in her first few years of life.  But maybe I would say, “I know youYes, I do, and I will never give up on you.”