Saturday, January 16, 2010

Broken Road

IMG_2474 copy

At 10:55 am Friday I locked and closed my office door while my heart skipped happily ahead. After a quick lunch and a few errands I made my way to the theatre to see “The Lovely Bones” alone. Yes, alone and I was grateful for it. In the past year I have only seen a few movies in the theatre because I haven’t wanted to leave Duc with a sitter. Since I met Michael 5 years ago I have rarely seen a movie alone because our tastes usually align.

Anyway, I arrived at the theatre and settled in to my favorite section. As I said in my last post “The Lovely Bones” is my favorite book and until early 2008 I have read it at least once a year since it came out in 2002. I remember at the time wishing they would never make this book into a movie, and yet, here I was on opening day. Alice Sebold’s prose is so simple, but so achingly beautifully written. In a single sentence she breaks my heart and heals my soul. I remember the first time I read it I called my mom and said, “I think she has been raped. I think something horrible happened to her” because I could feel her writing from a broken area in her heart. While she did not delve into details of the rape in the book (the movie didn’t draw attention to it at all—THANK GOD) there was something about the way she wrote about the impact of it that I knew she must have intimate knowledge of the hole it creates. A few years later she wrote her biography “Lucky” which she details her story and as I suspected, she had been raped.

I stupidly forgot to repack my Kleenex supply. Of course I cried, it was inevitable. The last time I read the story I read it seeing it through the eyes of Susie. I felt the aching loss of her family that began moving on with life without her in it. I imagined the trauma and loss a girl of 14 would experience from being cheated on having the life she envisioned. I am reading it again, but I see it now through the eyes of a mother and I think that breaks my heart even more.

For those of you that want to know if I enjoyed the movie, I did. There were a number of departures from the book and in many ways they feel like two different stories, but that didn’t bother much because the heart was still there. The thing that did bother me was the camera motion and the surreal world they created caused some vertigo for me. I have gotten sick in the theatre twice before due to crazy camera movement and this movie really walked a fine line between just enough and serious stomach lurching. Of course, the fact that her best friend in heaven is a Vietnamese-American girl certainly makes me heart sing just a bit more:)

The movie, like the book, caused me to reflect more deeply on things. I thought of Alice Sebold, the author, and how the events of her life forever changed her life. She took what could easily be described as the worst time of her life and turned it into something else, something beautiful. Don’t misunderstand—I am NOT saying what happened to her was a good thing, but I am moved by the peace and beauty she has brought to the world through her writing. Reflecting on her story lead me to reflect on my own and that of my son’s. I thought of all the things I endured in my childhood and how many times I wondered why God chose me to carry this burden—I always believe it was because he thought I was strong enough and because he saw that something beautiful could come from my pain. I remembered back to 4 years ago when I came to a cross roads in my life. I so desperately wanted to be married and have a family. I wanted it more than the air I breathed, but every attempt I made was met with opposition. Each date was worse than the last and the last one scared me so bad I gave up dating. I decided that God had called me to a life of silent solitude. I began to make peace with how my life would be and began to make plans for a life without a family.

A few months later on the eve of my 30th birthday I had dinner with a 50-something single friend of mine. We reflected on life and I asked if she had any regrets. She had been married, but never had children. Her regret was not that she didn’t have children, it was that she was not married to a man she loved. My chest heaved quietly and I was grateful to the darkness of her garden where we were sitting. She would not see the silent tear that I hurriedly pushed away. In that simple question and her revelation I knew that I could live a lifetime without loving another man, but the thought of never having children created a desperate ache within my heart.

Four days later I saw an ad for an adoption seminar that changed my life. No, I never attended that seminar, but I didn’t have to. The seed that had been planted 22 years before finally began to sprout and a love for my then faceless children began to grow.

I am able to look back on the difficulties and personal hardships of my childhood and of the dark final years of my twenties and appreciate where they have brought me. I doubt I would have met Duc had I not had all those hardships and the thought of never knowing him makes my heart ache worse than any torment I have experienced before. I’m still single and I am ok with that. There are times when I miss the companionship that a boyfriend or husband provides, but I am still content. I have my son, I have my family and friends and I live knowing each moment we have together is blessed.

And somewhere in the last year I have finally learned to live in the moment, this moment. Duc has caused me to slow down and I don’t wish away my week while looking towards Friday evening. I don’t want to wish a single second away that I could be spending with my son. I wish I could slow them down and suspend them like helium filled balloons. But that’s why I am a photographer. I am freezing these moments so I can relive them for a lifetime because I know I won’t always remember what it was like when he was 19 months and how he made me laugh so hard.



mimi lam January 18, 2010 at 11:57 PM  

Hi!a Delurking commenter I am, I have been reading your blog frequently for a yr since, I truly love this moving, passionate post, and all your previous ones. You are a very talented writer and an amazing photographer, Duc and you are so blessed to have each other. Thank you for sharing your passion, experiences of life and motherhood.

Jessica Cudzilo January 21, 2010 at 4:28 PM  

Wow. I'm speechless. Your story is mine, mine yours. So, beautifully shared and written. Thank you for your vulnerability. Your son is so beautiful. As are you.

Shea January 30, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

What a beautiful post. I relate to many of your thoughts, such as not imagining a life without a child, and not rushing through the week just to live for the weekends. I'm trying so often to slow down and just appreciate each day, but that's a difficult balance as a single mom. But so worth it!

I love your photography too.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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