"What was that life like back then," I am asked, "at the height of your and Lou's success, living in that big house" (shown in episode three). Dare I disappoint and whisper my true opinion in response? The best of "that life" had nothing to do with "that lifestyle." Life was being a typical American family. Yes, yes, the home was large. Yes, Lou and I were free of common financial stresses. And yes, we did have some things that I cannot afford on my more average current income. But then, as now, the character and cadence of life is the same as that shared by most working moms.
Each weekday sunrise saw me awakening my kids. Within the span of one hour each was dressed and fed, a breakfast of my making. Then I was off to work to look forward to the task of making the evening meal. And yes, now as then, I was exhausted at the end of everyday too, just like millions of other working moms. My weekends also, were in keeping with a typical American ethos: Lou and I making progress on backyard projects, planting trees and such, or hosting barbeques for friends and family. In my view, being a mom with or without wealth is the same — abdicating your role as mom when there is money is what changes things.
Not that being well off didn't have its perks. As a consequence of my loyal service as a V.P. at LL Knickerbocker Inc., I like to think, Lou did allow me help with the laundry and the housework, and that was enjoyed. My girls were afforded a religious primary education. We also could be free to have fun with the girls interests, which seemed to somehow always include animals. Coto is a pastoral, equestrian community, and we could keep a micro-menagerie of horses, cats, bunnies, and birds, some which did occasionally "wander" into that large house only to "get lost" in its more remote recesses, though I am still dubious that their entry was as unassisted as my daughters contend. It was a good time for family. I hope that time as an intact family has served Megan and Lindsey well enough, for between then and now the chaos of divorce visited them, too early, too tender. Now they are grown and the days of bunnies and horses have past. The time of my guidance is on the wane and the world shall see which influence better prevails.
For my part, I am confident they will find their way. At this age, they enter life's practicum: what they have extracted from what I could offer as a parent will be put to the test as they explore the world for themselves. I will remain as a consultant, should I be equal to the task. Lindsey will have completed high school this year and is contemplating college. I believe that her strengths are her creativity and insight into the motives of the world, traits with which I proudly identify. Megan has recently begun to exhibit a burgeoning entrepreneurism, perhaps more than she knows, her father's daughter. She is served by a tenacity and self-directedness that I do not possess, but which I proudly admire.
Despite our history we are still family in some sense, with divorce unable to sever many ties, and the addition of Ryley and his father Duff circumscribing a yet larger and more complex family circle. Lou and I are friends, and when his chips are down sometimes I think maybe I am his best friend. My wish for Lou is that before it is too late he could see, really see, his daughters, for him and for them. Indeed, is this not an honorable intention, for any of us who call ourselves parents?