This I Believe

Cynthia - Wakefield, Rhode Island
Entered on November 17, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

The final insult came this year at the close of baseball season. Red Sox fans felt the sharp sting of humiliation…again. After a season that ended not with an explosive bang but an injured little whimper, we now had to endure this year’s Golden Glove selection. Incredibly, the honor was bestowed on Derek Jeter, a bona fide New York Yankee. Where was the justice? What about our own Alex Gonzalez who clearly outplayed Jeter in the field? Couldn’t Red Sox Nation ever get a break? But wait! That’s an old lament. Since 2004, Red Sox fans can’t throw pity parties.

In 2004, the Red Sox won the World Series after winning an almost mythical playoff championship against the New York Yankees. That same year, I gave birth to my first child, my son Will. When I should have been ecstatic, I was anxious. When I should have been grateful, I was depressed. And then I became angry.

Words dashed out of my mouth at an astounding rate. I felt unbridled and dangerous, twisted and mean. I would berate my husband, abuse him with words, and expect him to take it.

This irrational anger, caused by my postpartum depression, endangered all of us. I felt I had surrendered to something dark inside of me, something–I began to believe–that had always been there. I plummeted, barely in control, terrified of the potential landing.

When I came down, it was with a crash and plenty of wreckage; some things I have repaired; others are lost forever.

In the midst of that, the Red Sox won the World Series. Some time after, I was driving home from work. It was the Christmas season, and I felt burdened with unrealistic expectations. I drove home admonishing myself over a million things left undone, things that would never get done. Clearly, I was a terrible mother, wife, daughter, friend. I could go on and on.

That’s when I saw him. Now, what I saw seemed almost manufactured, a holiday movie gimmick, quite fantastic and hard to believe…but there he was. Driving down the highway in a cherry red, Volkswagen Beetle was Santa, and as he passed, I noticed the bumper sticker on the rear of his car, one which all of Red Sox Nation knew. It simply said, “Believe.” That had been the rallying cry that season, and now Santa (was he coming back from a day at the mall?—I do not know) was rallying me. Believe, he said. Believe in your value as a wife and mother. Believe that you married a good man. Believe that you will come out of the darkness. Driving down that grey December highway, I laughed aloud, and said, “Okay!” then realized I hadn’t laughed in some time. When I got home, there was my son, shining and smiling; I laughed again.

So… do I believe in Santa? And do I believe he’s a Red Sox fan? Perhaps, but essentially, I believe that the universe reminds us gently and not so gently that life is humorous and filled with light. And somehow we can find our way out from darkness. No simple task, but there’s hope, beautiful, luminous hope.