January 29th, 2004.
Although I was twenty-four years old, I look back now and realize just how childish I really was. A lot has happened in the past ten years. I guess that’s to be expected, really. Just wish things were different sometimes, that’s all.
Ten years ago, I stood in front of a judge. She stood next to me. Our youngest daughter was only eight months old at the time. Not really looking towards the future was one of my biggest downfalls. Not realizing that every time she asked about us, there would BE no memory of US. Well, for her at least.
Our oldest daughter was barely more than three years old. She was full of questions that I had no “right” answer for. I made up plenty of things to appease her tiny mind. As she’s gotten older, she’s asked harder questions. I’ve yet to venture out and tell her just every stupid thing her dad has done in the past. I’ve yet to lay out in detail every harmful thing I said, and every stupid, childish reason I left.
As these past few years have gone by, our lives have taken dramatically different turns. Turns out that sometimes things are best seen from a distant lens. Looking back, in my memory, is the best lens I have now. Ten years is a long time, and every day that goes by makes my vision a little more blurry.
I DO, remember how we met, however. Without going into too many details, it involved a party. It involved a party that ended with leftover alcohol in my trunk. Halfway through the week, her friends figured out who had the alcohol, and I was called at my job with strict instructions to bring alcohol to a different address that following Friday night.
I remember her boyfriend walking out the front door right as I pulled up, and seeing her and her two best friends at the door. I had a bunch of alcohol in my backseat thinking it was for a party. Turns out it was for these three young ladies. Luckily, they allowed me to join them in their drinking shenanigans, while the parents were away.
Throughout the course of the evening, two of them left with a couple of guys, leaving her and I alone in the house. We talked about her boyfriend, and school, and how her prom was the next night. She told me she was going to break up with him probably the next week, but she couldn’t do it yet because he had already spent money for the dance, and she didn’t want to miss it.
Standing beside her in the kitchen that night, making ramen noodles together, I had no idea that we would fall in love. I had no idea that we would bring two of the most amazing people I’ve ever known into this world.
I do remember our first date being a double date. I remember playing miniature golf with her. I remember getting our first apartment together. I remember every single car we owned together. Every single place we lived. I remember how much my grandmother loved her. I remember so many good things about her, that sometimes I forget why I ever wanted a divorce.
It’s easy to find fault in others. For a long time, that’s what I did. Trust me, there are definitely reasons why we didn’t work, but I was to blame for almost every single one of them. I have blamed almost every hardship I’ve had financially on her, because that’s the easy way out. I put myself where I’m at.
I’ve tried to fall in love again. It’s not near as easy as you’d think when you already have one ex-wife and two kids. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely not the ideal scenario either. Trust me, however, when I say having TWO ex-wives and FOUR kids, isn’t the most ideal situation either.
I have dated just about every single type of woman in this world, and I’d have to say that none of them have ever made me feel “complete.” I’ve been remarried, and I’ve been divorced a second time. Even the woman I’ve written this blog about never really made me feel complete. Maybe it’s me. I do know one thing, losing them sure does make me feel empty.
I’m feeling sentimental, because ten years is a really long time to know somebody. The fact that we knew each other for years before that, means I’ve known her for a long time. We don’t normally knock on each other’s doors and ask to borrow a cup of milk, but when it comes to our children, we both have their best interests in mind.
There has been numerous times I have seceded a decision to her, because I just wasn’t sure what the right answer was. Likewise, there has been numerous times in which she has done the same. The kids are older, they both have figured each parent out, and they know what to expect from each one.
She has a very important job. Mine, gives me money, but not really that important. She has financial stability, whereas I am still searching high and wide for it. She sets rules, gives punishments, acts as a taxi, and is responsible for half of their smarts, and their adorable looks. I too, set rules, give punishments, act as a taxi, and am also responsible for their smarts and adorable looks.
However, it’s different. It’s different because of our individuality. I am very laid-back. I am definitely NOT as carefree as she may assume, but I have since had two children with someone else. I realize that some battles just aren’t worth the fight. I do not believe that I am a pushover dad, but I will agree that I am not the most strict parent in the world. I have very high expectations of my children when it comes to school, and life lessons are my favorite thing to teach to them.
She has been the perfect yin to my yang, so to speak. We are co-parenting without a handbook, and so far, things are going pretty good. She has since had another child as well (ALSO a girl), and we are all learning as we go.
She has been with the same man for about 8 years or so, and he too, has been a pretty stand-up guy. We’ve had words a couple of times a few years ago, but overall, we respect the boundaries that are there. It sucks that stupid mistakes I made years and years ago, helped him find his happiness, but…I digress.
A whole decade has separated the rings on our fingers. A whole ten years apart has taught me more things about her than I ever knew while living with her. Hopefully, those ten years have done the same for her about me.