Chapter 3: Loving Freely

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“Mom spent her time doing things she had never done before during the time Ian was imprisoned. She went out with her friends and had girls’ night outs. One particular night, they had planned to all get dressed up and meet for the movie premiere of Sex in the City. (Her favorite show, right up there with Nip Tuck.) She got dolled up in her bright, pink shirt and black blazer. Her curls flowing and cheeks glowing. Even had me, Caleb and my friend tag along for the drive. Obviously to go see a different movie. It was a win-win.

She had her hair done more frequently, nails done nearly every week; even took up tanning. She kept a sun kissed glow even in the midst of winter and rocked heels all year long. She started dressing a little differently, buying different makeup and asked me to put some outfits together; an opportunity  I never turned down.

On top of her shifting image, her personality followed right along. I noticed the most drastic change in her I had ever seen. She was transforming out of a shell she long clenched to. Everyone could see it. She was more vocal, assertive, and direct. She was a little wittier and sarcastic, interested, adventurous and extroverted. I could see she felt easier going, free spirited and strong in her own skin. All the years of tension had subsided and she ventured off in a beautiful way. For the first time, I saw her enjoying herself.

These were her years. As she continued to explore her new found freedom, her slow growing change mixed with Ian’s absence brought us closer together. We developed an interestingly close relationship.  We argued less and loved more. Disagreed less and laughed more. We were bluntly honest with one another, sometimes even hurting each other’s feelings, but still turned to one another for help and guidance. There was a loving understanding in our dynamics.

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The depression, anger and resentment which initially consumed me, seemed to fade away when I finally let go of my own expectations that dragged me down. The person I felt I need to be at school and the person I felt I needed to be at home; I let it all go and embraced myself. As I was. Somewhere in the combination of my changes, Mom’s changes and life’s changes, we all formed an incredibly close bond. Love that had been quiet and silent… Love that was never able to be freely expressed in Ian’s presence was now bursting at the seams in all it’s glory. I loved the us we became when we were allowed to be just us. “

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