Updated: Jan 6
July 1, 2004 (Journal Entry)
It is the first day of July already, but you are still not here! Guess what? I suddenly have a belly button again! For months it has been flat, but when I woke up this morning I had one again! Pregnancy has done such strange things to my body. Maybe that means that you have moved a little bit? I feel like I tell you every day how anxious I am for you to get here. I am up most nights, or I have to try to sleep in the recliner because I am so uncomfortable, so I really wish you would hurry up…you should see the size of my belly! I can’t wait to be able to lay on my stomach again. I will say it one more time…hurry up! I can’t wait to meet you!!
The Partier…we certainly had some fun together! I met him while I was tending bar two years earlier. Who are you kidding? On the nights you weren’t working, your ass was most likely planted firmly on a barstool anyway. This is where we would spend the majority of our relationship…until the moment my whole world was changed.
There were so many reasons I shouldn’t have been with him, but I fell for him anyway. I hadn’t known him long before we moved our meager belongings into a rundown, but well-kept trailer one freezing January afternoon. By the time the weather had begun to warm we had decided that we wanted to have a child and conceived almost immediately. In the second month I was traumatized when I experienced a miscarriage. We conceived again, this time losing the baby within the first week. Do you even deserve to have children? Maybe you just aren’t good enough to be a mother.
I took some time, not sure that I could handle another devastating loss, but knowing I wanted to give it one last shot. I decided that if I lost a third baby then I would consider it a sign that I wasn’t meant to be a mother. Don’t you mean that you didn’t deserve to be? The following October I conceived and had a routine pregnancy. Pregnancy changed my life in an instant. I had to grow up…but The Partier wasn’t quite ready. Throughout the pregnancy I often returned home exhausted from working two jobs to a house full of drunks and other women.
On the night I was due, July 2, 2004, we had gone to a bonfire. I was exhausted and returned home early. I paced the floor most of that night, partly a result of my discomfort and partly because he never came home that night. He rolled in the driveway just as the sun crested the horizon. I never even bothered to ask where he had gone or where he had slept. There were more important things on my mind…I was about to become a mother.
July 7, 2004 (Journal Entry)
I finally got to bring you home today! Bringing you into the world was the most amazing and incredible thing I have ever experienced. When they held you up for me to see you I just couldn’t believe that you were a part of me. In an instant my world shifted…you became the center of my universe, I was too exhausted and shocked to cry. But ever since I got a little rest I haven’t been able to stop the tears! Each time you open up your little eyes I am filled with emotions that I didn’t know existed. The second you came into the world love took on a new meaning. You’re so beautiful. Every time you whimper or cry tears come to my own eyes. I don’t know how you can love one little person that you just met so much…but I know it is true. I am so thankful that you are finally here and so completely perfect. I love you…
December 25, 2004
“I’m gonna go change the baby. Do you have the diaper bag?” I cocked my head to the side and folded my hands across my chest as I asked the question. My head was aching from the anxiety of speeding ninety miles an hour ever since we had left Tennessee earlier that day.
“You must have left it in the car.” He didn’t even raise his eyes from the sushi menu that kept his face hidden from view.
A heavy sigh escaped my lips as I rose from my seat and returned to the car in search of the diaper bag. I collapsed into my chair, when I returned empty handed. I didn’t feel as if I had the energy to find a store to replace the items that I realized I had most likely left beside the car at a gas station in Kentucky somewhere…but I would have to.
Moments later my chin began to tremble as I tried to keep the tears from escaping down my cheeks. I laid my menu down, my appetite suddenly dissipating. “Will’s journal was in the diaper bag.” I managed to whisper the words without completely losing my composure.
His light sarcasm told me he was barely holding his impatience at bay. “Oh no, Carrie. Not the journal!”
I began the journal to my son on May 29, 2004, about a month before he was born, and had written through his first Christmas which we had just spent at his grandparents house in Tennessee. It held all the memories of my pregnancy, becoming a mother, ultrasound pictures, hospital bracelets, the birth announcement, baby pictures, notes from his cousins, and many remembrances of the first six months of my son’s life. Of all the things you could lose! Good job.
My chest ached with sadness as I unsuccessfully tried to contain the tears that would not stop. I finally drifted off to sleep in a cheap hotel bed in Dayton, Ohio dreading the ten hour drive that awaited us in the morning that would finally bring us home, and resigned to the fact that the first journal that I had the courage to complete and all the memories that it contained was gone. My fear of writing had somehow vanished when I wrote to my son… I didn’t care whose hands it fell into.
January 19, 2005 (Journal Entry)
Sorry I have missed so long, but I was devastated when I lost your first journal. I bought another one, but memories fade so quickly and I felt like our experiences were lost forever. I couldn’t bring myself to write again. When I returned home after we visited your grandparents in Tennessee I called the sheriff in Kentucky, describing where I thought we were. They gave us a phone number to try, but I had only been able to reach an answering machine. But your Grandma Sue and Grandpa Tom were traveling through Kentucky on a business trip a couple days ago and stopped at gas stations in search of it. I can’t believe it, but they found it! I had given up hope…I didn’t think I would ever get it back!
You had your sixth month checkup on January 5th and you were sixteen pounds and ten ounces. You are getting so big and sitting up so well now! I miss you because I don’t get to see you as much as I would like. I am working two jobs to make ends meet, but it can’t be helped right now. You are with Grandma Carol and Grandpa Jim so that I can get a good night’s sleep before work in the morning. I will write again soon…I love you!
January 28, 2005 (Journal Entry)
It does not look as if your father and I will be getting married anytime soon. He got me the ring, handed the box to me, and said, “Here you go.” I wear his ring on my finger, but I will never marry him unless I know that it is right. I really hate the fact that you are William Price, and I am Carrie Woodcock, but not enough to do something that is wrong for us. You are running around like a maniac in your walker right now, peeking at me around the corner of the doorway to the dining room with a huge smile on your little face. You always make me laugh, smile, and feel better no matter what is wrong. You are the best part of my life, and I hate the fact that I have to work two jobs and can’t see you as much as I would like. I feel like I miss so much. But you are a happy baby, and I spend as much time with you as I can.
Will’s father never raised a hand to me, but the holes in the walls and broken doors indicated it was only a matter of time before his words were not the only thing that I was assaulted with. The fighting continued to escalate. Then one afternoon while I was at work and he was home with Will, I got a phone call. “Will won’t stop crying! I don’t know what else to do!” I had difficulty breathing when I heard the impatience in his voice. I slammed the phone into it’s receiver, gathered my things, and flew from my office. My clammy hands tightly gipped the wheel as I sped home, unable to brush aside the mental image of him shaking the baby in frustration. What if you don’t get there in time? I suppressed my urge to sprint into the house when I arrived, instead walking slowly and speaking softly. “It’s okay…I took the rest of the day off. Why don’t you take the afternoon and go see what your friends are up to?” He jumped at the opportunity, fleeing from the house without hesitation. I sagged against the wall with relief before gathering our things and moving out that afternoon.
March 27, 2005 (Journal Entry)
I am torn. I vowed never to write anything bad about your father in your journal, but since you will be an adult when you read this I have decided you will eventually want to know. You and I have been living with my parents for about the last month. Your dad and I have had some really hard times and we aren’t going to make it through. I have been so unhappy working so much to support us all when he is not working at all. He doesn’t even seem to care how much I miss you. On the nights that I don’t have to work he just goes out with his friends, not returning home until the wee hours of the morning. He has an explosive temper that he doesn’t think he can control. I think he doesn’t want to control it or he would try harder. He has broken so many things in the house because he was mad about one thing or another. We deserve to be treated better than that. He doesn’t seem to think it will effect you at all, but I know that if you grow up around that then you will think that type of behavior is okay…and it is not. It would break my heart if you looked and talked to me the way he does. We were trying to continue to see each other and work things out. This weekend we were supposed to see each other Friday and Saturday night, but he blew me off both times, choosing to go out with his friends. He wouldn’t even answer his phone…the phone that I am still paying for.
I will make sure that you grow up with a good and stable home life. If that means that he is not a part of it, then so be it. We will be better off without him. I have supported us this long, and I will continue to do so. I will just have one less person to take care of. I was trying to raise two children, and you were definitely the easier of the two. You are the only thing that keeps me going. Everything couldn’t have been a mistake if I ended up with you out of the deal. I will make everything alright for us. I am sorry things are working out this way, but I believe it is for the best.
Every time I think there is no happiness left in me I look at you and realize I am wrong. You make it all worth it.
Will’s father kept in touch and saw him for a little while after that, but by the time he was two and a half he disappeared from our lives. Last I heard he was in prison in Tennessee somewhere. There is currently a warrant out for his arrest for not paying the nineteen dollars a week he owes for child support for the last seven years.
My life had begun to change as my heart was opened to the joys of being a mother. My whole life revolved around my son, as is often the case for mothers when their children are small. My dreams were temporarily forgotten and tucked away as his needs became the most important thing in my world.
“…and she loved a little boy very, very much - even more than she loved herself.”
~ Shel Silverstein
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