March 2010. It was our worst Disneyland trip ever. I was battling vertigo that had resulted from 'hell week' several months prior (miscarriage, minor traumatic brain injury etc). I was on a decent amount of medication that made it possible for me to even follow through with this trip we'd had planned for some time. My ability to move much or ride many rides was limited. I tired quickly. I wish I could say that I remember having a great time in spite of this. I'm sure there were good memories made. Unfortunately, what stands out in my memory is the fighting. He couldn't turn down the rides he wanted to ride. Even when that meant leaving me sitting with three freezing and overly tired children so that he could ride Space Mountain. Again. I'm sure I didn't convey to him just how exhausted and cold I was. I'm sure I wanted him to just see that. To see me. To see them. I'm sure I made myself feel better by thinking of the fun memory he was surely making with our oldest, who was finally big enough for the big rides. I would've taken the others back to the hotel had I been physically capable. I know I thought about it. I recall bawling as we walked back to our hotel, yelling at my husband for ruining 'my happy place' and removing any and all desire I had to return. Disneyland was always my place to go to feel better and forget about my cares. It was where we made many a happy memory together, and the place I would go to in my dreams to escape the realities of life. I now felt traumatized by how ignored and upset I felt on this trip. How I wanted so much to have a good time, planned to, and then he ran from ride to ride doing what he wanted and hardly noticing me or us. I felt confused, shocked, saddened, and angry by his selfish behavior. This wasn't the man I had married, at all. Like I said, there were good times, but that was the memory that stood out. That and that Sunday, when we visited the LACMA for the first time. Our stubborn number 3 child ran into Wilshire Blvd and I ran after him, holding our youngest child, forced to leave the older two behind, and screaming for help from my husband who was nowhere to be found. The light had just turned green down the road and I caught him barely before the cars. Added to the day before, it was clearly not the best trip.
3 months later, June 2010, I was cleaning our bedroom as a Father's Day gift for my husband. He has a horrible habit of letting things pile up on his side of the bed, especially the nightstand. It was while cleaning that that I found the stuff printed from Craigslist. Suddenly that trip, his behavior, and my feelings made a lot more sense.
June 2015. We went to Disneyland a few weeks ago for the last few days of our annual passes. The first day there I came down with food poisoning. I slept horribly the night before, spending every other hour in the bathroom. The only real sleep I got was after my husband woke up to ask if I was okay and I asked him to say a prayer for me, because I felt too weak to say one myself. I felt a warmth move through my body, settling my insides. I napped twice in the park that first day. I was exhausted, but the Zofran I happened to pack saved me. This time we all took it easy and enjoyed simply being there and experiencing the parks a little differently than on other days. My husband suggested we go back to our hotel early and even sleep in, so we could all rest up and so I could enjoy the next day more. We were limited on our evenings, and I was determined to see as much of the new nighttime entertainment as possible. I insisted we stay to watch World of Color first. He saw that I seemed cold and insisted on buying me a blanket from one of the stores, even though I insisted I wasn't really that cold and could tough it out through the show since we were leaving right after. The next day I felt back to normal and we enjoyed the remainder of our trip as a normal, happy family. He was present. He was there. He wasn't distracted with work or what he wanted to do. He saw me. He saw us. He noticed the slight limp I developed when my knee started bothering me but I didn't want to say anything. He went out of his way looking for a treat he had really wanted, and got us something he thought we would like as well. He said no to staying late to ride Space Mountain or Star Tours one more time, because he saw that I still needed to recover, even if I didn't want to admit it... And that our oldest was exceptionally tired (we found out he had strep when we got home). He knew I wanted to see those nighttime shows, so he made sure that happened- even if we had fastpasses for the same time. It was a fantastic trip. We saw everything, did everything, and enjoyed everything. Even when my son and I weren't well, we enjoyed ourselves and our time together as a family.
This is what five years of recovery, not just sobriety, has brought us. I am so grateful. So, so grateful.