Living Happily Ever After


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“The poetry is all in the anticipation…” (Mark Twain)

I arrived home from the life-changing date at Sundance to find my daughter waiting up for me. I’ll never forget where she was sitting, facing the front door to catch me right as I walked in, or the look of anticipation in her eyes.

“Well?” she asked. “Did anything exciting happen on your date tonight?” She had totally known. And she had never said a word.

I told her Bachelor #5 had proposed, I’d said yes, and she beamed her delight.

My oldest son got home late that night after work. He headed right to my bedroom, anticipation dancing in his eyes. With a huge grin, he asked me about my night. I cut right to the chase and told him I was getting married. He beamed, hugged me, said, “Congratulations,” told me how happy he was for me and how much he liked Bachelor #5.

I was blown away by their maturity. Who has teenagers that react to news like that the way mine did? (Like supportive adults?) I do. Through our entire unexpected life, my children have been supportive of everything I have had to do: return to the work force, move our family to a new state, drastically change our lifestyle and everything that goes with losing the only financial life we’ve ever known–and they’ve stepped up to help me do everything adults, or a spouse, would do as well. All without a complaint.

They have also been supportive of everything else I have attempted: they encouraged me to date, find a nice man and remarry. They told me I was going to get remarried, without a doubt, because I was a “catch”–even when I didn’t believe I was one. They tended their siblings so I could socialize. They were open-minded about the singles scene, manfriends, and especially about Bachelor #5 from the moment they met him. And they rejoiced with me in the miracle of finding the man who completes me (and our family.)

“…love…when it’s right, it’s the best thing in the world. When you’re in a relationship and it’s good, even if nothing else in your life is right, you feel like your whole world is complete.” (Keith Sweat)

I can relate to that. Although I’m still dealing with fallout, the consequences and some “messes” left to me by the events of 2009, MY world is complete. Unexpectedly so. And it IS the best thing in the world.

Taken By Surprise

“A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.” (Francis Bacon)

Have you ever been taken by surprise?

I have a few times in my life. Most recently, the night Bachelor #5 asked if he even had a chance with me; the first few times he told me he’d marry me tomorrow if I were willing; the night he mentioned “September;” and… one other time.

I had a date with Bachelor #5. That night, as I was getting ready, I was surprised to find I had unexpected help. My daughter (and her friend) were very interested in what I was going to wear and how I was going to look for my date that night.

The girls were digging through every piece of clothing that comprised my limited wardrobe, trying to find just the right thing for me to wear. Their concern was palpable; as if I’d made a habit of dressing like a circus performer and they wanted to save me from my habitual fashion disasters for a night.

“Laugh, clown, laugh. This is what I tell myself whenever I dress up like Bozo.” (Jack Handy)

Although I never would have chosen divorce and my single status but for the circumstances that led to it, I have to admit, a fun memory from my unexpected life was getting ready for my first date with the assistance of my sister and my daughter; and getting ready for many other dates with the assistance of my daughter, who was always on hand and always prepared with outfit suggestions and wardrobe ideas to help her mother look her best. It was like being a teenager again. Those nights before parties, dances, or evenings out, when friends would come over to help me get ready for a special occasion, or we’d get ready together. It felt a little like that, having my sister and my daughter help me.

But that night was the first time in awhile my daughter had been so concerned about what I was going to wear and look like on a date; however, she had a friend over and I figured it was a teenage girl thing–a novelty for the friend because her parents are married, she hasn’t had to watch her mother date men she didn’t know; and I figured they were bored, and thus more than willing to impart of their fashion expertise in an attempt to liven up a quiet Saturday night.

“If you are single there is always one thing you should take out with you on a Saturday night… your friends.” (Sarah Jessica Parker)

And fashion advice from a beautiful and stylish teenage daughter!

Things Are Much Easier

“I don’t think I’ll get married again. I’ll just find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.” (Lewis Grizzard)

Speaking of getting married again, Bachelor #5 and I made a return visit to the therapist. Some things I remember from that session:

The counselor told us of all the couples he had met and worked with regarding remarriage, he thought Bachelor #5 and I had the greatest chance of “making it.” He told us his money was on us to marry, hang in there, and make it work.

But he also opened my eyes to all kinds of potential issues related to remarriage and stepparent situations. I wasn’t a fan of what I heard. My shock must have shown on my face because he stopped and asked me how I felt. I said, “I don’t like it.”

The counselor asked, “What don’t you like?”

“Everything!” I replied. “I don’t like divorce. I was never supposed to be divorced and dealing with stuff like this. Why can’t we all just look for the good, be happy, and enjoy our opportunity–the more the merrier?”

He laughed at my optimism. Or was it my naivety?

He asked Bachelor #5 what he thought. Bachelor #5 said he didn’t anticipate all of the usual challenges when he remarried because his children were older and his ex-wife had already remarried and divorced a second time. The counselor smiled and said it didn’t matter; Bachelor #5 could and should expect some difficulties.

It has been four months since that counseling appointment. And every single thing the counselor warned us about has come to pass. Thank goodness I participated in premarital counseling and had my eyes opened. Sometimes things are much easier to deal with when you know what’s coming.

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.” (Abraham Lincoln)

Therapy Is Kinda Like…

“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder how I do these things. I can embarrass myself so badly that I literally get a hot prickle down the back of my neck.” (Daisy Donovan)

That used to be me thanks to some unforgettable experiences, like once having my skirt fall off me as I stood talking to a man, and a few other embarrassing moments which should probably be blog posts in and of themselves someday. But my unexpected life, and the criminal behavior of my former spouse related to his Ponzi scheme, the public downfall of my family and my divorce, all took care of redefining what humiliation and embarrassment mean to me these days. I don’t sweat the small stuff, like “embarrassing moments” anymore.

However, that evening, sitting in the counseling office, realizing I had dated the therapist’s brothers and NOT married them and was now seeking counsel to avoid a second divorce if Bachelor #5 and I tied the knot, I fought a slight feeling of mortification. “PLEASE don’t tell your brothers I’m divorced and seeking remarriage counseling from you,” I begged. He assured me he wouldn’t say a word.

However, because he wasn’t really a stranger anymore, for some reason I felt a little more comfortable with him and opened up more. After the session ended Bachelor #5 commented on how interesting it was that I was so close-mouthed toward a stranger, yet when I made a connection with him, I was a lot more willing to talk. (Just one more thing to love about Bachelor #5. He “gets” me. I’ve had more epiphanies about myself, things I do and why I do them, since knowing him, than I feel like I had the entire rest of my previous life. He’s observant, smart, and puts 2 and 2 together to equal four– when I don’t even realize there’s an equation to be solved.)

As we left the appointment, I couldn’t believe what a small world the realm of counseling made it. I was filled with disbelief about my connection to the counselor, too. Bachelor #5 simply replied, “Well, what do you expect when you’ve dated, or attempted to date, the entire world?” And he laughed.

“Being in therapy is great. I spend an hour just talking about myself. It’s kinda like being the guy on a date.” (Caroline Rhea)