I was chatting with my brother this afternoon, and we realized that today would have been my 10th anniversary.
If I was still married to the piece of scum that was my first husband.
Yeah, I know y’all think of me as that girl who’s always talking all positivity and good vibes and whatnot. For 95% of my current life, that’s totally my outlook. There are stages of grief, and, when I think about him and the heinous thing he did and the mess he made of a lot of people’s lives, I’m still in the effing-pissed-off stage.
For those of you who may be new to my blog, and think I may be harboring unfair resentment toward my ex, here’s the Cliffs Notes: the wonderful specimen that is my ex-husband killed one of our daughters, while I was at the dentist getting a root canal. He lied about what happened, until the autopsy was complete and investigators coaxed a confession out of him. In the meantime, we all believed his story, and I got pregnant (yes, on purpose) with Blake. Yeah, he lived with me for FOUR MONTHS after that happened, while Taylor was being bounced from foster home to foster home (because Child Protective Services nabbed her the night Chloe died), and kept his story up the entire time. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on an attorney to help get Taylor back, while stuck on an island with barely any support system, while my family is thousands of miles away on the mainland U.S., all of us feeling helpless.
Among the repercussions of his actions, I got the pleasure of enjoying a stint on welfare and food stamps, moving halfway across the world to rebuild my life, never getting a dime in child support, finally finding a job in a recession and working six days a week (and barely making ends meet, because child care 6 days a week ain’t free, y’all.) Then losing that job because my kids got sick and I missed two days of work because the daycare wouldn’t watch my son when he had a double ear infection and I couldn’t send my daughter to school with chicken pox and I couldn’t find backup care. Of course, that makes a person ineligible for unemployment, but that’s a story for another day. When I finally was able to afford my divorce, I got to pay extra money to my attorney because my ex contested the divorce stipulations and he wanted visitation of the kids.
He killed their sister, lied about it, got an amazing plea bargain because the investigators botched one of the interrogations, got out of prison early, Taylor has no recollection of his existence, Blake has never met the man, he lived thousands of miles away and required permission from his probation officer to leave the state, and he honestly thought a judge was going to grant him visitation.
I obviously didn’t marry him for his brains.
Years later, I met the man of my dreams, we got married, and we actually had to fight the @$$clown AGAIN to relinquish his parental rights (because, after all of that, he still had LEGAL rights to them!) so Bill could adopt them, and let them have a REAL father. Then, we found out after that, that all of his antics are seriously affecting our ability to finish our adoption.
In conclusion, I reserve the right to harbor some resentment and bitterness and curse words toward the man. And I use the term “man” incredibly loosely.
It’s easy to look back on the end of our marriage and see that it’s obvious that we shouldn’t have been married. Now, 10 years after our wedding day, almost six years after Chloe was born, my head is clearer and it’s easier to look back on the earlier part of our marriage objectively.
I can see now that I didn’t marry him because I was in love with him, I was just in love with being in love. And we weren’t really in love, we just thought we were. We had been friends for years, he told me one day he was in love with me and even though we dated other people before getting married, I continually told people that I’d never find anyone else who would ever “love” me the way he did. Except it wasn’t love that he had for me. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t love.
Eh, tell that to my 22-year old self.
We got married at Disney World, which, to be honest, was pretty awesome. But, as they say, it’s not the wedding that makes the marriage.
And our marriage would be far from a fairytale. Unless there’s a fairytale that I missed where the handsome Prince turns into the evil villain.
To say it was a roller coaster would be an understatement. There were plenty of times that I could have left him, I should have left him, and I didn’t. I thought that marriage vows were forever, I swore to stand by him through good times and bad, and I did just that, because that’s what I would want my spouse to do for me.
He didn’t, of course. I wasn’t the perfect wife by any stretch of the imagination, but I can look back objectively and see that I was the cause of more good times than bad ones. I don’t know why I thought I didn’t deserve more than that. I learned that, in the aftermath. I deserved better. My kids especially deserved better. But I vowed never to be with anyone who wouldn’t put in at least the same amount of love and effort into our relationship as I did.
We came really close to divorce right before Taylor was born. I remember crying in my dad’s house, with my first tiny baby, with my husband in another state, doing God knows what, spending money like it was going out of style, while I had what little I left with to buy diapers and baby clothes. I told my dad that this wasn’t the way I had planned things. Far from it. I was terrified of being a single mom. How would I pay for things like daycare? I’d have to give up my dream of being a homeschooling mom, something we had discussed at length.
Oh, the irony. It wouldn’t be more than three years later that I’d have TWO of them, no option of child support (because at least, back when I only had Taylor, he wasn’t in a military prison, so he did have an income), and in a much, much worse place, emotionally. A dead child will do that to a person.
And, as embarrassing as it is to admit (but, well, I am the type of person who isn’t afraid to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly), I sat in my dad’s house, where I co-slept with my nursing baby on a twin-sized bed, because, well, that’s what he had, and wondered what I was going to do with all of my wedding pictures. How was I going to explain to Taylor that even though we looked happy and in love and had this fairy tale wedding, we got divorced when she was born? I had spent all this money on the wedding and the pretty pictures, and the whole thing had fallen apart.
Stupid stupid stupid.
I’ll just rename my stupidity: naivete. Because that’s really what it was.
Obviously, we got back together, I displayed my pretty wedding pictures in our new house, we had another baby (Chloe) and, well, you know how that ends. Had I thought for one second that he would ever do anything to hurt either of our kids, going back to him wouldn’t have been an option. But I had no clue. Neither did my best friend at the time, a registered nurse. Or his psychologist. Or his psychiatrist. Or the multitude of doctors and nurses who saw Chloe during her short life. None of us saw it happening and none of us saw the end coming.
Stupid naivete. I was worried about pictures.
This one is still up in my house. Me and my maid-of-honor, my grandmother. I cut him out of the other side of the picture, like, literally, with a pair of scissors. I never did have the heart to tell my grandmother the truth, when we found out that it wasn’t a freak medical issue, that he had killed Chloe. She died thinking he was deployed somewhere.
Best picture taken of the two of us. She was an awesome lady and my best buddy.
I spent a long time mourning the loss of my marriage.
Not the loss of my husband. Nope. I wasn’t sad about losing him and all that he had put me through. I mourned the loss of my marriage.
Because the good times were good. This was a man who knew me like nobody else. While we had some bad memories, we made lots of good memories together too. It wasn’t all horrible. It’s easy to look back on it now, when I’m married to someone who isn’t in the same league as that complete moron, someone who treats me amazingly, and say that my first marriage sucked. In comparison, it did. But when I didn’t know what I was missing, well, I thought I had it pretty good.
I was left with two small children, one buried six feet underground, a boatload of emotional baggage, and nobody to lean on. Nobody to talk with while cuddled up in bed at night. Nobody to hold onto while I cried my eyes out, trying to sort out how this could have happened. Nobody to help me with the kids or encourage me on my way to my goals or laugh with me at anything other than Sesame Street.
That was what I mourned.
With time, I got past that. Plodded through the stages of grief, as it related to our marriage. As I mentioned, I remain in the effing-pissed-off stage as it relates to everything that happened since Chloe was born, but as to our marriage, I’ve let that go. I don’t miss him anymore. I can say truthfully, wholeheartedly, don’t miss that marriage at all. Not in the least.
So it was fitting, given the macabre sense of humor I sometimes have about the whole thing, to “celebrate” what would have been my 10th anniversary. A milestone anniversary. A whole decade since I took those pretty pictures.
The 10th anniversary ancient rules say you’re supposed to get gifts of tin. Eh, I’m not big on tin. Not really big on tradition either. So we reverted back to the 9th anniversary gift: Pottery.
I love me some Fiestaware! But there’s no tent sale anytime soon, and that’s where I choose to purchase my Fiestaware.
So we did it one better than just pottery. We put a cinnamon roll on that pottery. And covered that cinnamon roll with caramel sauce.
If you’re ever in the Chattanooga area on the first Friday of the month, reserve some cinnamon rolls at the Blue Ribbon Cafe. You won’t be disappointed. If you find yourself here on any other day of the month, well, I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything they’ve made.
It’s not vegan. It’s definitely not gluten-free. It’s full of fat and sugar and carbs. It’s not the least bit healthy.
Then again, neither was my first marriage. Healthy, that is. So it was a fitting tribute.
Eat it up, digest it, and it turns into poo. That you get to flush down the toilet. And you’ll never see it again.
Yep, a fitting tribute indeed.