Yes, yes, yes! I said, when he said, “Will you be my wife?”. I can remember the moment perfectly, the nervousness, the twinkling lights, the people on the bridge clapping and the shiny, beautiful diamond that was placed on my finger. I remember staring at that ring all night long, while he snored next to me, feeling utterly exhausted and drained of all the emotional energy he exerted into making the moment perfect. But you know what? The moment wasn’t perfect and that was OK. We had gone to several restaurants, him wanting it to be the perfect one and me not clueing in to “the moment”, we went on a horse and carriage ride, that just seemed awkward and looooong. We tried to have a romantic coffee and dessert and ended up at Starbucks, then finally under a twinkly lit tree, he got down on one knee and said, “will you be my wife?” and I think I said, “what?” and this is how it went, sort of, just like that, for the next 14 years.
Nothing in life is perfect, especially when two people come together and try to blend their energy, their childhoods, their ways of having everything be “just so”. Some, granted, are better than others. They have plans. Plans on when to have children, how many, where they will go to preschool, elementary school, high school and college. What sports they will play, what friends they will have, the perfect family dog, the vacations that are memories for life and the infamous Christmas card that every year, shines like the perfectly placed star on the tree. But what happens when your life takes you away from your family, your friends and plops you in the middle of an underdeveloped desert where you know no one, you are in the height of your career and you find out your pregnant, then you give birth two months early, get basically packed up and kicked out of your office….jobs are lost, miscarriages happen, you have to give your dog away because she’s not good for the baby, your baby goes to the preschool that you have groggily picked out, because you can have two longer days, instead of one 2-hour morning, friends disappear and for God sake, you forget to send out the fucking Christmas card? I’ll tell you what happens. You survive, maybe a little worse for the wear, but you survive. My marriage didn’t survive, but my spirit did. I am a walking, talking being of humility, but I am alive in spirit and I don’t crave perfection anymore.
I have a new plan. It doesn’t involve any derivative of the word perfection. As a matter of fact, it involves a fairly imperfect dog, a 9-year-old, a garage and a basement filled with crap and a good relationship with my ex and his family. I am in search of my new normal and I want it to feel amazing, not perfect, just amazing. Because of whatever shade of happiness is the new black, and 40 is the new 30 and all that horse shit that we keep hearing, then this is the new look of divorce. It looks like this. I love my ex for who he is, for the father he is to my kid, for the man he is in the world. I don’t harbor any ill will, because, I realize, I was no picnic either. I want my son to love him, have his own experiences with him, and bond like fathers and sons do. I want him to know that I’m sorry it didn’t workout, that it didn’t look like the fairytale we all wanted it to be. But in a way, maybe it worked out the exact way it was supposed to. I am now challenged with incorporating all of the good things he taught me over the 15 years we were together. How to stay calm in the eye of adversity, how to pay bills on time, how to stay centered, show compassion, patience and understanding…and mow the lawn. And in turn, I think he may have gleaned a few things from me as well. I hear he is making a mean chimichurri these days. I know that he and I formed an amazing friendship over the years and created a beautiful child, those are the most important things I will take with me from our journey together. People do the best they can, we all learn from our lives; who enters them, the mistakes we’ve made and ways to do it differently so we’re not stuck in the perpetual spin cycle of life.
You may not get a perfect Christmas card from me, a sparkling model house, a well-trained dog, a picture perfect child, but what you will get, is a hell of a lot life, compassion, heart and honesty. I have a new plan, and that plan is to take life as it comes, be inclusive of all who matter to me, no matter what phase of my life you entered in. To follow my heart, stay true to my convictions and to stand strong in how I want the next 40 to look. Hands up, tongue out, enjoying the ride, even if it is a little bumpy.