This is the sight that made me cry at AshLee’s wedding. AshLee dancing with her dad to U2’s Kite. I recognized the song and watched her tuck her head into his chest and all of a sudden the tears were streaming gently down my face.
I haven’t shared here about the events that brought about such huge changes to my life 4.5 years ago. It’s not that it’s a big secret, I’ve shared my story with both friends and strangers when the moment seemed right. I guess the moment just hasn’t ever seemed right here. This is a place where I share my art and creativity and the things that bring me joy. And while I’ve found tremendous creativity and joy since the end of my marriage, the fact, and the story of that end are very painful for me.
We met as 18 year old college students. Neither one of us planned to meet the person we would marry at 18, but we agreed that you don’t pass up something special just because it doesn’t happen like you planned. We married at 25, by which time I was overjoyed to officially become AshLee’s stepmom, a role I had already embraced. Although I worked and was involved in various activities, my focus was on building a family and a home with them. It wasn’t perfect, but I felt like we trusted and understood each other. We were best friends. He told me I was his best friend on the day he told me he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. He moved out a week later and proceeded to cut me out of his life as much as possible. I think it was easier for him that way. He did say that his leaving should not affect my relationship with AshLee and I’ve been blessed to retain the close bond she and I have.
Needless to say, I was devastated. My entire world had been yanked out from under me. It didn’t help that I lost a job that I loved 2 months later. But I held my head up and learned that pain can be very clarifying. The stupid things I used to worry about melted away. I relaxed. And I began dreaming about how I wanted to live the rest of my life and I went to work to make those dreams happen.
4.5 years later, I’m at peace with the end of my marriage. I have a happy, fulfilling life that I love. But I was still rather apprehensive about Ash’s wedding. Would I really have a role as part of her family or would I be a fifth wheel bumping along rather uncomfortably? As it turned out, everyone involved welcomed and included me as part of the big crazy family of people who love this amazing girl.
And when she danced with her dad, to a song that holds deep meaning and connection to the two of them, I thought about that connection, and the family life and jokes and traditions and quirks the three of us shared, and I cried tears of joy. Joy that our time together had happened and that I got to be a part of it.
And yet I'm still a little bit terrified to publish this post. To lay myself open in this way. But, with some encouragement from the lovely Liv Lane, I'm working at being more open and authentic. And honestly? This story is such a huge part of who I am today, such a huge catalyst for the creativity and joy I now fill my life with, that it just doesn't seem right to hold it back any longer.
*The title of this post is a lyric from the song Kite by U2.