I wasn’t his first love. She was. I wasn’t the first woman he lived with, slept with, said “I do” to, or had a child with. She was. Being the second wife can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow. It’s hard not to think of all of the magical life experiences that occur in early adulthood and within a first marriage or serious relationship. Sometimes it’s hard not to resent the fact that she was the one who got to share all of those amazing firsts with him, and I think of all the chances we missed. We met and fell and love too late, so now the ship has sailed on so many firsts…
We didn’t meet until our late 30’s. We had both already been married and both already had families (he had four kids and I had two). We had both already lived in a handful of other cities, traveled, established careers, and were fully seated in adulthood.
Our lives are, in large part, dictated by the schedules of our children and visitation with our exes; therefore, we’ve never experienced the unattached and free days of dating without multiple strings attached. We can rarely take off somewhere on a whim. We couldn’t even take a honeymoon because we didn’t know what to expect from his ex and kids during the time we were away.
We made our lives fit together and we have worked diligently to blend our two families and lives together. For the most part, I’d say we’ve done a good job of it. We have our moments of frustration and conflict, but the kids are very much accustomed to our home and each other, and we truly consider ourselves a family!
My exploration of my status as “second wife” is not so much a complaint, as it is just one of those natural conclusions you can’t help make. When you see the man you love exhibiting all of the qualities of a great father, you can’t help but imagine what it would be like to share a baby together. What would our child look like? How would it be different this time? How would it bind us together even more as a couple or as a family to combine our DNA and share the miracle of procreation together?
You do the math. I love kids and always wanted a family, but I never planned on six kids! I had two because two was what I felt I could reasonably support and extend my time and energy to. Now I have a houseful of boys and girls and we have parented children together starting as young as five, and now as old as 18.
Not only do I think I would need my head examined to start all the way over on square one with diapers, nighttime feedings, car seats, and teething; but I don’t know how fair it would be to the other kids to add another who would require a tremendous amount of our time- time that would be theirs- to meet the needs of a baby. Then there’s the whole fact that when I had a baby at 33 the doctor was already calling my eggs “geriatric”, so I do believe this baby making factory is closed for business.
So, there you go. No baby for us. I am raising teenagers with him, a first for both of us; but, we will have no excitement of taking a pregnancy test and sharing the results with family and friends. There will be no more butterfly flutters of a tiny human growing inside of me, no joyful tears shared as our little one enters the world, or proud shared glances as we marvel at what our own child does.
It’s kind of sad, but we both know it’s just not reasonable at this point to go down that road. We have the blessings of our children that other people helped us to create, and now we revel in sharing holidays, driver’s ed, school dances, important life talks, and so much more together. He will be by my side, and I at his when the first of our children graduate, marry, and leave our home. We will be grandparents together, and we will be companions for retirement and other future chapters of our lives.
No, I cannot turn back the hands of time and ever be his first love. Our first kiss was our first kiss. We’ve had our first date, our first home together, our first argument, and our first year wedding anniversary. Our firsts were no less special that our firsts shared with other people. They weren’t the first, but they are red letter days in our shared history, and more meaningful to us because we have both had, then lost, so we know how precious each moment and each other are!
I’m not his first love, but I will be his last love. He already grew up, but he will grow old with me.
You could say that we met each other too late and missed out on all of our chances. I would say we met at the right time- for us. Perhaps if we had met and started dating 20 years ago I might be his first wife, but there’s also the chance that we wouldn’t have worked out or been interested in the 20 years ago version of ourselves. We met when it was our time to be ready for the right relationship. We formed a relationship when life had shaped us and given us the experience needed to be the right partners for each other. All that matters now is that I am his and he is mine, and we will continue to have firsts – our firsts!