My daughter has a fascination with old family videos; she’ll pile up a stack of tapes at my mother’s and hole up in the back room for hours.

While I love to watch clips of my children when they were babies, I get a sick feeling in my stomach as I recall the surrounding events and the pain I carried around inside. I don’t know how I functioned.

Mr. N/A hid behind a video camera at the Indiana open-house for our first baby in 1993. As family and friends made their way in and out of the house to offer congratulations, I wore pearls and a calm smile while I made friendly small-talk and gratefully acknowledged the gifts. I don’t think anyone would have ever guessed that Mr. N/A was fucking another woman and sending her love poems, much less that I knew about it.

How did I do that?

Sigh…

It’s both interesting and informative to look back at old movies. Every viewing simply reminds me of how far I’ve come and the strength I surely had to endure those awful days.

Some people ask me why I stayed so long. My answer is always this: I loved him.

But eventually, enough was enough, and I simply could not find the peace and happiness I sought while living with Mr. N/A. Since he would not agree to a separation and treatment, I had no choice but to file for divorce.

The old movies remind me that there were moments. But mostly what I see is a stressed mother, a zombie father, and lost children, sinking deeper and deeper into the alcoholic family dysfunction.

I am grateful every day that I have finally found my peace, and that my children have found the support and love they deserve.

My life has moved from fuzzy black and white to full HD color. And I love the view.

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