Not long after that Samantha and her boyfriend announced they were expecting. It was like a punch in the stomach to Ruth. They weren’t even married, and didn’t even know if they’d be getting married. Once Carmen was born Charles said he hoped Mack would just move on down the road and let him raise Carmen. What? Come again. He couldn’t wait until Carmen got old enough to take with us to Savannah. Huh? Ouch. Ruth waited until an opportune moment to talk to Charles about it. “These are the very reasons you told me you didn’t want a child. You didn’t want the responsibility.” “Yes”, Charles said, “but Carmen is already here and I already like her.” Ruth understood some of that sentiment, but it hurt just the same. It changed nothing. She knew she could never have children with Charles now even if he said he wanted to. She didn’t know what she would do if he ever put his hands on their child the way he had her. What was the point of the discussion? Maybe just to let Charles know that he was being insensitive.
Ruth continued to pray, and to try to put it behind her. She asked Charles to consider getting a vasectomy. “What? You want me to do what?!? There’s no way I’m letting anyone snip around my man parts!” This wasn’t some ridiculous request to try to get even or out of spite. Ruth really wanted to put it behind her. She didn’t feel she should have to be responsible for the birth control when it wasn’t her who wanted to control it. It wasn’t that she couldn’t be trusted to do it. It was that taking that pill was a daily reminder of what she couldn’t have – what she’d never have.
When Ruth had finally had enough, and the fairy tale was shattered, Charles offered to have a child with her. “I’ve been selfish, we’ll have a baby.” Ruth couldn’t even think about that now. The reasons she was done had little to do with having or not having a baby. “Do you think that’s what this is about? Do you think having a baby is going to fix this? You’ve made it perfectly clear you don’t want a child with me. How could I possibly do that now?” During all of their discussions of what had gone wrong in their marriage Ruth had never once brought up having a child. This was just one more way she knew that this was done. Charles was only dangling a carrot in front of her. He no more wanted a child with her now than he ever had.
You see by this point Ruth knew that praying wasn’t solving anything. She’d relied on God and his word and his rules for living and where had it gotten her? Nowhere. She’d been the submissive, giving, supportive, loving wife. She’d been obedient to God and his word. Ruth looked for God’s hand in this anyplace she thought she might be able to find it – in the little things. Any small kindness she was offered, any tiny good thing she was given. But at some point she decided God wasn’t interested in parking spaces and traffic lights. She’s seen the world around her. Some people call it brokenness, the result of sin and fallen man. Ruth just thinks this is the way it is and maybe it’s time we grow up and stop blaming “sin” and “fallen man” and realize that. Maybe it’s time we stop waiting on a miracle to fix it.
She enjoyed and still does enjoy a fantastic relationship with Carmen. Ruth is her D’Ma. Carmen is five now. They have sleepovers and do manis and pedis. They dig in the dirt together. She has a sister now, too. Alison. The relationship with Sam is a little strained, but at least Sam hasn’t cut her out completely. It would be easy enough to do.
Ruth hasn’t given up totally on the idea of having children herself. New possibilities are open to her now. Where she once thought it impossible, she can see it as probable. Truly the world is her oyster. With the thoughts of the past behind her, she can see a bright new future. One filled with love and laughter and the family she always thought she’d have.