As I get dressed for this big family dinner, I can feel my heart beating a million miles a minute. I can remember the last time we were all together, the chaotic scene of leaving my husband and packing his things while my family was in town was an embarrassment I never wanted to relive. I knew they all wanted to know what was going on since the last they saw me, I left for Texas so quickly and I hadn't talked to them too much. Months later I am faced with this nervous feeling and big news to tell. This morning all my senses were on 10 I could smell the trees outside, and every sound was elevated as my heart beats to the tone of every bump I hit on the road. Thinking of my mother and her loving but overbearing ways, I wondered what she would think of my news she would probably say it's another lousy decision of course. As I pull up and see the family gathered outside greeting each other I thought of making a run for it but today was my day of truth and I wasn't running from it. I came from a moderate-sized family with 4 sisters and 1 brother my father was a factory worker while my mother stayed home to take care of us, sounds like the average family, right? My sisters are loving women who will fight anyone for their family, but they are also very dismissive of their problems and mine becomes the talk of the family then there is my brother who is a loving soul and mines his own business, it's probably why he is so successful. Face to face at last we do our awkward greetings and sideways hugs and here comes my mom with her silent insults of how small I have gotten and how depressed I must have been to have allowed myself to lose too much weight, just throw out the window the fact that I was almost 250 pounds and changed my eating habits to be more healthy and maybe live longer for my kids and myself but that must be a farfetched thought to think someone would actually lose weight for a better life. The smell of mom's gumbo was the first aroma to hit my nose I can't wait to see the down south spread prepared for today's show of everyone acting like their lives are perfect. My boys quickly find their cousins and leave me at the table with an awkward silence, everyone is waiting to hear what I have been up to. Wouldn't they like to hear the raunchy stories of escapades of sleeping with random men and drinking myself into a coma every night but, that wasn't the truth even though I would love to hit them with a shock like that and see the looks on their faces the only thing I had been doing was going to counseling and getting help from the church while dealing with my separation and drinking a little too. Life was looking up for me I was better, vibrant, and happy and I wasn't going to hide it. As more family arrive, I grew more anxious I am ready to get this dinner started, and over with I had an Ugly Betty marathon waiting on me at the hotel. It's time for dinner and my plate is overfilled with all the goodness of mac and cheese, jambalaya, bell peppers, roast beef, potato salad, and a bowl of gumbo. As my mom starts to pray over our meal she glances over at me and says very silently Dawn is there anything you would like me to pray for, in the awkwardness of the moment and with all eyes on me I blurt out I'm moving to Puerto Rico to work and my husband and I are in Marriage counseling to reconcile in our marriage. The look of disappointment on my mom's face was piercing and the curiousness of the looks on everyone else faces just made me sink in my chair like a little kid again. My mom must have prayed for 10 minutes, I think she had so many questions that she just told them all to God thinking the decision would go away and I was dreading the end of the prayer because the conversation would start. Immediately after saying grace, my mom says what do you mean you are going back to him and moving to Puerto Rico? and my sisters begin to pass their opinions about how he is taking me away from my family. I have always stayed quiet about my business my family is very entitled to know everything and I quickly realized I didn't need their approval, why did I feel like they needed to know in the first place, I was trying to backtrack from facing it, but I had put it out there. I explained that my husband was not pulling me away from my family and that I would be going to Puerto Rico with just me and my kids for a work opportunity that I couldn't pass up. As my mind filled with thoughts of what I should say to take the attention off me, I grew more furious at the judgment from them all. I just needed some new scenery and I also wanted to get far away from my family. I explained that my husband and I are just continuing counseling, but he is not relocating with me at this time. No answer I gave was good enough for them and somehow this dinner turned into intervention and reminded me of all my mistakes. Setting there listening to all my bad decisions according to their opinion I did what any petty person would do in this situation, and I went down the table from person to person and reminded them of all their bad decisions. Needless to say, this dinner was a disaster, and finding out it was only planned to get me to come back to town so they could find out what I had been up to was the end of the dinner for me. I packed some leftovers but before my escape, my brother comes over and kissed me reminding me of the good I have done and how much God has blessed my life and protected me and he sent me off with the nicest words saying "Girl go live your life and be happy forget the rest" so I and my 2 wonderful boys left and went to the beach, isn't life grand when you learn to live your own life no matter who agrees with it. My husband and I haven't had a perfect relationship we were like best friends once but, life happens, and you start to focus on other things and so much distance comes in you forget about each other. I was different with him he brought out a side of fun that I needed but he also had some demons that were starving out our connection I believe anyone can be changed and if God is in the deliverance business why not deliver my husband too? I had just spent the last few years of my life building a relationship with God and praying and fasting for change in my marriage and I had to walk away so God can have his way in my husband's life. This is the beginning of it all no more living in silence hiding the good things, so I won't be judged, no more needing validation from people who goes through the same life struggles, no more waiting for happiness to fall in my lap instead I choose to be happy every day. The next day I get a phone call from my sister Tanya apologizing for not understanding and she wishes me the best. My mom will take some time to come around and when she does, I won't remind her of all her mistakes, I'll just remind her of all the wonderful things God is doing and will do in my life.