As I sit here today, on what would have been my 20th wedding anniversary with my “wasband,” I have no regrets. So things didn’t turn out as I had planned when we said those vows 20 years ago. But the truth is that I don’t hate and I don’t wish I had never married him.
As a parent, one my most important desires is for my kids to be happy. As a divorced mom, another wish is that my failed marriage doesn’t impact my son and his future relationships someday.
My son, Brandon and I, had a frank discussion about this recently when he asked me what it meant to be in a good relationship. Yes, he is fourteen and starting to think about relationships, lord help me!
And actually, his dad and I started dating when we were fifteen so that kind of puts things in perspective. He was asking about marriage and how do you know if you’ve met the right person. Which of course, led him to ask whether his dad and I had those things and if so, why didn’t it work.
I told him the truth. So many times over the past five years, I’ve sheltered him, I have never spoken a bad word about his dad in front of him and quite honestly, early on, didn’t share much so as to protect him from the drama and things that a nine year old really didn’t need to know. All he needed to know was that we both loved him.
Brandon asked again what went wrong with his dad and I. For the first time in five years, he’s started asking more questions and wanting to know more about our relationship and what went wrong. He has come to his own conclusions over time and early on, it wasn’t hard for him to do that when his dad went from living with his mom, to moving back into your house with his mom’s friend and neighbor. And then they get married and she takes your mom’s old name (her name was Kim too), even a nine year old comes to his own conclusions.
I told him that quite honestly, I didn’t know. That his dad checked out of our marriage after 22 years together, with no other explanation other than he felt we were just friends and that he had found someone else that he loved and wanted to be with. But that at one time, we had a good marriage, that I had no regrets and that Brandon was created out of love.
In retrospect, there are some things that I also wanted to share with Brandon about my marriage to his dad and about love, relationships and life in general. I think we can all learn from these.
I have no regrets. I loved your dad. He was my first love. We shared a life together for 22 years and out of that, got one of my most amazing blessings in life – YOU! You are the best thing that ever happened to me. Your dad and I loved each other. We had a good marriage. We laughed. We made some great memories. With each other , and with you. I want you to know that. And remember that. I don’t want you to grow up jaded about love and marriage. I want you to know that sometimes, people change, in this instance, your dad. I don’t blame. I don’t hate. But I do want you to know that I fought like any mama bear would to try and save our marriage and our family. That your dad wouldn’t try and that is on him. And between him and God.
But I do have some advice for you after all that I’ve been through with your dad:
1. Learn to Forgive:
I want you to know that you need to learn to forgive people that hurt you, for your own sake or it will eat you up and ultimately destroy you. I forgave your dad a long time ago. It took looking deep within myself, and it was a process that was filled with anger, resentment and a healthy dose of wanting to punch someone in the face, but ultimately I forgave your dad. I had to. For your sake, but also for my own sake so that I could truly to heal and move on.
In doing so, I was able to open my heart again and have a second chance at love. As for forgiving the other Kim well, I’m still working on that and praying about that and hope that comes with time but I’m not there yet and that’s on me.
I would have never chosen the other Kim as your step-mom and that’s hard for me to swallow at times, but what I do know is that kids can never have too much love and I have no doubt that she does love you so for that, as difficult as it is for me to say and in this instance write, I am grateful that you have a step-mom that does love you.
2. Accept the Situations You are Dealt and Find the Positive:
I want you to know that you can move on after failures in life. You are going to fail and you have a choice on how you will deal. Your dad and I both failed you and failed our marriage. And this divorce is something that I didn’t want but you have to learn to accept the situations you are dealt and find the positive.
I’m not saying that I am happy about the divorce, I want you to know that I too think divorce sucks. Although I am incredibly happy now with our new life, I hate divorce too. I hate having to drop you off in Sweet Springs on weekends. I hate that I have to miss so much with you on weekends, on vacations, on holidays. I hate that we aren’t a family like I had envisioned. But the reality is that sometimes, in life, there are going to be things, even things that we think are unfair, or don’t make sense, that we just have to learn how to deal with. And in this case, for me, to learn to just be grateful for the time that I do have with you and to relish every second even more.
3. Be Willing to Take Risks:
I want you to know that I was willing to open my heart after it had been broken and got a second chance at love. Don’t be afraid to take chances and risks in love and in life. There will be girls that will break your heart along the way. Your heart will heal. You will have memories and learn from those that break your heart. And if you allow yourself to not become jaded and open your heart even after you think it’s broken, you could possibly find even greater love than you ever thought possible, which is exactly what I was able to do.
Bubby, I want you to know that above all else I have no regrets just love. And hope you too can find that someday.