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The First Crack

I had been away from home for three hours. My heart was light as I drove the short distance from Moore Hall to our quaint little campus apartment. My speech had gone well and the euphoric relief of having it over with flooded through me. Better yet, I was on my way home to my three week old angel and my husband of almost two years. Becoming a mom was the most natural thing in the world to me. The worries and insecurities that others voiced never occurred to me. Not at this point in my life. That I would be a capable mom was the one thing I was one hundred percent certain of.

My vision of what my family would look like had been very clear. My husband would take naturally to parenting and adore our children. We'd share many afternoons marveling at each of their milestones. Vacations and holidays would take on new, deeper meaning. We would have more to plan, more to talk about, decisions to share. Through our shared love of our children our connection to each other would grow. Unconditional love. Love that would take us through all the trials of life solidly into old age and bind us for eternity. For all intents and purposes, he seemed to be up for this.

I arrived home that day and heard the cries before I even opened the door. Her screams were painful as I raced through the small apartment to find her. My husband sat slack in the corner rocking chair, arms dangling over the sides, head tipped back, staring motionless at he ceiling. She lay unsupported in his lap gasping between each piercing cry, gurgling from the saliva and phlegm built up in the back of her tiny throat. I snatched her up, beginning to tear up myself as I felt her convulsive sobs beneath my hand. As she began to calm down he bolted from the chair, fists clutched at his side and eyes glaring. He postured and leaned in, his face contorted with rage and inches from mine. He then shouted the words that, after sixteen years, I still can't forget. With venom in his voice he declared, "SHE'S A LITTLE BITCH!" and stormed out of the house leaving me reeling, confused, and hurt.

That was the moment my dream for our family started to fade. That was the moment I realized I would be doing this alone, even with him there. That was the first crack in our now all but shattered love.

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