Last month when I was in NYC with Elle celebrating her 18th birthday she told me "I don't think I'll ever get married!" I immediately said "Whaaaaat? Why?" She said in a nutshell that my marriage to Raylan was one success story compared to the four failed marriages in her life. The odds were more likely that if she married it wouldn't last - so why try? If I let my guilt machine kick in I would have immediately taken all responsibility for this train of thought - then I stopped myself.
My divorce to Dick was final nine days after Elle turned ONE. I didn't have any modeling to warrant divorce as an option. My parents have been happily married for 46 years and counting - my Grandparents were married for over 60 years. You married for life - period - end of story. Only for me, my marriage to Dick never felt like their marriages - they genuinely liked each other - shared similar interests and those they didn't they were each others biggest cheerleaders. I longed for the simple things.
I divorced in hopes that someday I would have a romantic relationship that would be a model for what I hoped Elle would find later in life, preferably the first time around. What I hadn't counted on was the prevalent theme of judgement in our society about divorce and remarriage. I feel it out and about in my daily life. I'll be having a conversation with someone I don't particularly know well - how many kids do you have? Inevitably leads to divulging my Hubby has two Ex-Wives followed with the look - What's wrong with him? UH....NOTHING!!!
My daughter has been apart of a marriage that ended in divorce and two blended families for the bulk of her 18 years - one relatively successful - one not. I understand her hesitancy from her own first hand experience coupled with the messages from the outside world about marriage and divorce.
After much thought I came to a conclusion that I shared with Elle - Neither my divorce from Dick or my marriage to Raylan has etched in stone her story when it comes to love and marriage. What it does provide is a lesson...........
Everything I've been through in love I would do all over again if meant having you for a daughter, Raylan for a husband and the other kids in my life. It would have been cleaner - easier - simpler - if I had met Raylan first and we had all of you together, but life isn't perfect - it's messy - full of imperfections. Sometimes it's all the imperfections added together which create the perfection you were always searching for. For all I know, my love story with Raylan would never been if not for our solo journeys.
If you never take any risks whether it be in love or in life you'll probably escape a lot of heartbreak, but you'll also escape a lot of the incredible highs you get from putting yourself out there, taking risks that give you back so much more than you ever expected. Especially in matters involving your heart!
If I had to pin one thing to the the failure of my marriage to Dick it would be not putting my whole heart out there to begin with - I was playing it safe. Dick was willing to marry me with a guarded heart because he had one as well. I may have stayed longer if my brother hadn't died unexpectedly and I grappled with how short life is. In that moment I faced my reality - Dick had no clue who I was or what I needed - my brother had just died and we both were unable to connect even on one of the worse days of my life.
It was my fault not Dick's - I had insulated my heart and feelings to protect myself from pain - it worked well when life went along as planned, but when the shit hit the fan I was alone and isolated with my feelings.
I changed that day for the better - I started living my life with my whole heart. Eventually that led me to Raylan. Sharing my whole heart with someone has given me the gift of feeling deep hurt and pain, but on the flip side it's also given me the incredible gift of a deep, romantic love I never knew existed. Yes I meant a GIFT for both - you have to let yourself feel the hard stuff, as well as, the amazing stuff - otherwise you're not feeling any real emotions.
Life is meant to be lived and loved with your whole heart - not playing it safe.