DECEMBER 14, 1992: “With Arms Wide Open” …


But for the grace of God, I brought my Christian Peter into this world after 19 hours and 11 minutes of labor on Monday, December 14, 1992, at exactly 4:51pm. He was then and has always remained one of the brightest stars in my sky, and I will never forget that day he was born.

I was in labor with him for so long that mom and Pete had to take turns in the delivery room with me. Of course, my sister was there, too, and had actually been in her sophomore year mid-terms the week he made his arrival. That girl didn’t sleep for six straight days and drove 40 miles each way after tests every day so that she could stay at the hospital with me and my son at night. You see, this was the only way they would let him room in with me and she insisted on doing it regardless of the cost to her. Now that I think of it, it was my sister who even changed his first diaper.

Meanwhile, I vividly remember the instance when they handed my newborn son to me and I laid eyes on him for the very first time. I inhaled that moment and memorized every detail of his face before I even had a firm grasp of his perfectly round little body.

New motherhood was an experience, especially having been so young, and Christian immediately became the focus of my energy. This, of course, was a welcomed distraction from the trauma I’d been suppressing. Eventually, however, I began dwelling on what had happened as it bubbled to the surface. The strain of a new baby, a new house, and Pete’s changing career were wreaking havoc on my mental health.

When Christian was 18 months old, I just couldn’t deal anymore and asked Him for a divorce. Too much damage had been done and I was convinced that I had no other choice. I was downward spiraling fast and not really functioning on a reasonable level.

He said he didn’t want the divorce and tried to change my mind, as well did my entire family. My parents were both raised Catholic, so divorce under any circumstance was unacceptable. Besides, they all believed that I would eventually just “get over” what happened and couldn’t understand that I was dead inside but for my relationship with Christian. My heart was barely beating.

To make matters worse, my parents had all but alienated me, so I had little to no support from them throughout not just the divorce, but my attempt to recover from the rape. They stood by Him and not me through it all, in which regard I suppose the alienation was mutual.


Well I just heard the news today – it seems my life is going to change. I close my eyes, begin to pray, then tears of joy stream down my face. With arms wide open, under the sunlight, welcome to this place … I’ll show you everything, with arms wide open … Well I don’t know if I’m ready to be the (person) I have to be. I’ll take a breath, I’ll take (him) by my side. We stand in awe, we’ve created life. If I had just one wish, only one demand, I hope he’s not like me, I hope he understands that he can take this life and hold it by the hand, and he can greet the world with arms wide open. {Creed}