Golly, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve never regretted writing candidly about hard things, and conscious writing has opened doors I would never have even found, let alone had the ability to turn the key. Sharing the painful and powerful parts of this years’ long journey has helped me deal with really hard things in healthy ways, and has enabled me to grow and have courage in places and ways I never imagined. It’s who I am.
Until Jon, I had not dated anyone seriously enough to let them meet my kids. You want terrifying? Introduce someone you really like to the three most important someones in your life. I knew almost immediately that this was something different. I decided to protect this tiny fledgling of a hope– not for public consumption. Not this time. It wasn’t just my three kids, who had been through so much, but he also has two children, and everyone needed to be handled with such care.
One of the things that drew us to each other is that his oldest and Bean have the same Aspergers diagnosis. I didn’t have to explain about Bean, or interpret or run interference with my peculiar kid- he totally got it, and he rolled with it. You want a direct line to the heart of an ASD mama? Love her weird kid. You want a guarantee? Have that weird kid totally love you. Bean, who seldom takes to anyone, would wait for him at the front window, running to jump into his arms when he’d push our gate open. Jeffrey and Abby were only slightly more reserved. I was melting, and quickly.
The thing about second chances and second marriages is, it’s a whole different animal than it was the first time around. You’re no longer dewy and star-crossed, naive and giddy. You know how hard it can be to make things work, how hard it is to raise kids, (particularly kids with special needs) and if you’re divorced, you know the pain and sorrow that goes with that severing, regardless of the certainty of your decision. You also appreciate things you may have taken for granted or not realized were important when you were younger. These were common ground.
Nothing about this journey has been fairy-tale or idyllic. There were ups and downs, and there were times I doubted everything. When you come out of the ashes of a terrible divorce, when you battle back to the light to stand on your own two feet, the idea of moving back into a space of trust peppered with mutual dependance can be terrifying. I knew I could continue on doing it by myself. It was safe. It was the known.
But I also knew ‘safe’ was a cop out. This man was everything I had ever dared hope for. I wasn’t capable of turning away— it was time to take a deep breath and say yes to life again.
So when he sent a dear friend to pick me up for a lunch date and she instead turned the car towards downtown, and when we walked towards the Lincoln Memorial and instead found a young man strumming an acoustic guitar, and when Jon walked across the footbridge and gently took my hands in his and knelt down, there was no other. I was looking love in the face. It was time to say yes.
All of that culminated last Wednesday when, with little fanfare, five kids, four friends, and our bishop, we were married. It was simple, small, and ridiculously happy. My family and friends adore him, and the love and support shown by his entire family not only to me, but to my children has made my heart burst with joy.