Because picking the wrong pumpkin patch would be a nightmare…


While you’re living with a partner who abuses you, be it verbally or physically – it becomes a daily challenge to rise above their behavior and to function in life. As a mother this challenge is sometimes beyond difficult. The instinct to protect and preserve your child’s happiness is as strong as any a mother has. So it was the year that my best mom friend and I decided we wanted to take our kids to a pumpkin patch. As women of means, living in beautiful coastal Southern California, there was no shortage of pop-up pumpkin vendors for us to choose from. None of the tented, carnival type venues were up to our standards. My friend being the more on top of it mom, started surfing the internet to find our perfect location. Before long we had selected the perfect spot for our excursion. We took the kids out to a working ranch, took a hay ride, got lost in the maze, took pictures with a scarecrow, and of course, got lots of “perfect” pumpkin patch photos of our offspring. The absurdity of being so focused on finding the ideal fall location for a group of preschoolers to see pumpkins is not lost on me now. A better step would have been seeking help or counseling or doing something to get myself out of my situation. In self-help books and blogs, it always sounds so easy and effortless. In reality it is neither.

A good first step would have been to tell my friend how difficult my life was. Our kids were together almost every day, we carpooled, we lunched and we lived around the corner from one another. I had ample opportunities to confide in her – what stopped me? Embarrassment? It felt wrong somehow to admit to anyone how bad things were. Imagine my surprise to learn many years later that we were living parallel lives in more ways than I thought.

Our secret lives were dark and desperate but our public ones seemed ideal. It’s astonishing to realize that we knew each other for so long and yet knew so little about each other.

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