The Tip of My Iceberg

I am  not ashamed to admit that I love winter, and that waking up to my field and forest covered in snow was a dream come true.

Sharing My Story

For several weeks now, I’ve spent my Tuesday mornings in a creative writing class, and I’ll say this is why I haven’t posted anything in such a long time. Most of my writing has been offline. I’ve been promising myself that I would invest more in this craft, and it was with great enthusiasm that I set out for my first class. I was surprised to find the room so full, and delighted to experience the talent and the warmth of the group I found myself with. If you’re looking for a big treat for yourself, some meaningful alone time, and an incredible introduction to creative writing, you can find Brian Henry’s website here.

Tuesday morning is our last class, and we’ve been asked to share a piece, 500 words long. I’ve been grappling with what to share, but I keep coming back to the idea of sharing my story – my big story, the one that made the National Post, and the reason why many of you are readers.

I ‘m really not that different from most people in my writing class. Sitting before the others for nine weeks, I don’t think any of them would think I stood out for any particular reason. I’m a parent, I’m over thirty, I love reading, I get pleasure from trying to capture my thoughts and ideas on paper, I’m in a committed relationship, and I’m grappling with a middle-class income. I wonder what they’ll think when they hear my story?
When I was 33 years old, five years ago now, I was a divorcee newly liberated from a tumultuous relationship (the rebound to the failed marriage) and I was trying my hand at dating. I had a great job in arts administration, I was living in the big city, I had my own little apartment in a gorgeous Spanish Colonial house by the park, a great circle of friends, a theatre company that I performed with and co-founded, and a close and healthy relationship to my family. An enviable life, though dating was proving to be one disaster after the other, and it was often hard to make ends meet on my arts worker salary. My finances were further strained by a spontaneous solo trip I had taken to Paris. A trip that changed my life.

In May of 2008 I stood at the base of Sacre Coeur in Monmartre, watching the lights of the Eiffel Tower twinkle against the midnight sky, and I promised myself that I would have the family I yearned for, the children I ached for, and the abundance of love I believe I truly deserved. Making the trip to Paris, completely alone, was a successful exercise in realizing my capability and self worth. Two months later, on the weekend of my 34th birthday, I met the people that would become my adoptive family. They started out as my friends, and as the year unfolded, our friendship deepened into a passionate and very comfortable love. They were reflections of all of the ideals my soul holds dearest. They were a beautiful package that came complete with two incredibly brilliant little girls.

I suppose I could have kept trying the Internet dating. I could have taken a gamble, tested the limits of my biological clock, and waited to see what the more conventional options might have been. I could have made a less dramatic choice. I didn’t. In the summer of 2009, we decided, to become a family. The decision to do this was the easiest part, telling our families was the hardest. Why? Because I was the third adult to enter into a relationship that had existed for 18 years.

I have two partners whom I call my wife and my husband. We have a domestic partnership where we are raising our three children who are eleven, eight and two years old. Our eleven year old is the only one of our children who remembers life before three parents, and our youngest is the first child to have no other reality. We eased the children very carefully into the transition, their needs have always been paramount. After consulting with one of the top family law attorneys in Canada (pivotal in legalizing gay marriage in this country) we have drafted contracts that protect ourselves and our family in the ways that common-law status or marriage documents would, were they available to our unique situation. We are open about our relationship, we are active in our school community, and we are intensely proud of our family.

I never would have imagined this life for myself, but I can’t imagine my life any other way. It’s been an extraordinary journey filled with much love and happiness, and an often painful struggle to grapple with the darkest corners of my soul. Yet, we forge ahead like pioneers through relationship waters we are charting by ourselves. We have an excellent therapist. Our children have three sets of grandparents who adore them, and a village of our extended family and beloved friends to raise them. As parents, we have incredible support in each other. As partners we have incredible dedication and love to one another.

If I seem unique to those who meet me it is because I am filled with the light of knowing I have the abundance of love I wished for. It’s because my silent Paris prayer was answered. It’s because I listened to my heart, took an enormous risk, and followed the glittering path that the Universe laid at my feet.

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1 Comment

  1. Sharlanne
    November 18, 2014 / 10:48 pm

    I love this, Catherine. You’ve brought me to tears with this lovely story.