1,800 Miles From Home: What I Did For My Family
After one date with my now-fiance', I knew that, barring any weird foot fetishes or major mommy issues that I had yet to uncover (he has neither, thank you) that I would easily fall head over heels in love with him. And I was right - it only took me about a month to figure out that he was even more than the man I had been looking for - he was handsome, insanely intelligent, affectionate, cultured, and a great father to his 4 year old son. We had been dating for just under a month when he got this strange look in his eyes. Concerned, I asked him what was wrong - he told me it was nothing. Being the persistent woman that I am, I pressed him - what is it? Finally he looked at me and confessed "Fine. I totally love you."
FINE? Who starts a profession of love with "fine"? Being that this was a big moment in our relationship, I allowed him a do-over.
"Say it again." I said.
And he did. "Erika, I know this sounds crazy, but I just know. I'm totally in love with you."
It worked well for me because at dinner merely an hour before this moment it had hit me like a ton of bricks - I didn't want to imagine my life without this man by my side. I was in love.
And thus began a loving, selfless, genuine relationship. Everything was perfect. Everything was as it should be and all felt right with the world. Well everything except one little thing.
We lived 1800 miles apart.
We each had children under the age of 5, and significant roots in our respective towns. You know, family, jobs, etc. We were crazy.
But we were also crazy about each other and our kids. So we cautiously introduced our children to each other and discovered that they adored each other. For one brief, wonderful moment we felt like a family - the family we desperately wanted. In the meantime, our relationship grew stronger. Every moment was wonderful, even as we crept up on two years of being a couple - there were no explosive fights or harsh words. There was just a lot of happy peace.
Oh yeah, and he asked me to marry him.
So we hatched a plan for my daughter and me to move clear across the country from our native New Orleans, the only place I had ever known, to sunny southern California. I was ready to start a new life with our California boys, and I was confident it was the right move for us.
But it was hard. It was a fight. There were months and months of lawyers, tears, victories, and losses. There were happy days and sad days. There were days I was scared I would lose it all. I stayed up late working on documents, briefs, and researching houses and schools to show the judge when I went to plead our case. I had family on standby to drive in 6 hours from out of town at a moment's notice to testify on our behalf.
And then one day almost a year later, the clouds broke and the sun came shining through. I reached an agreement with my daughter's father that allowed us to make the move - but the catch was we had under a month in which to do it.
So we did it. I packed my house, my fiance' flew down and did all of the heavy lifting, I did a little (ok, a lot) of crying, and before I knew it we were on a plane flying to California. We did it. We are now a family - our own perfect, unique little family. I am so in love with my life every single day that I'm pretty sure people are tired of hearing about how happy I am.
I would do anything for them - for my family. The battle to move here was harder than anything I have ever done. It was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I cried myself to sleep many nights. But it was so unbelievably worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would do anything to keep my family happy and together.
Jennifer Love Hewitt does what she has to for her family in Lifetime's new original drama The Client List. Premiering April 8, 10pm/9c.