Inadvertently Dad

When Stuart and I made the bold decision to move in together with moving day being the day the kids met him, we didn’t know what would happen. Would they warm up to him in time?  Would it be a grand disaster?  We definitely didn’t expect to quickly fall into a place where we were all a family.

Not only did we all mesh together beautifully, but some circumstances changed and forced Stuart into the role of the primary father figure, one he effortlessly rolled into.

I am beyond thankful for the way he stepped up and the way that he and the kids love each other fiercely.

This Father’s Day weekend, I am crazy thankful.

Thank you Stuart for…

Helping the kids through projects I don’t want to do with them.

Being a source of reason when I just can’t Mom.

Giving our friends’ kids love and and patience when they need it most.

Demonstrating to my daughter what unconditional love looks like from a romantic perspective.

Respectfully and appropriately allowing my daughter to love on you.

Loving my daughter through sleepless nights, potty issues, and bratty behavior.

Ensuring that we all get out of the house from time to time.

Instituting Mandatory Fun.

Never making my kids feel dumb or out of place for calling you Dad sometimes.

Recognizing that I need a break – a LOT.

Keeping us fed and full of freshly grilled foods.

Understanding and accepting that the house will never again be spotless as you’re accustomed to.

Modeling Good Man Behavior to my boys, ensuring that they will someday make upstanding members of society.

Recognizing – and reminding me – that all the annoying “flaws” in my children are just part of them growing up.

Working your ass off so that my children can have a parent at home at all times in this difficult season of change.

Providing us with a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood, where we can grow and thrive together.

For being the absolute backbone of this family.

You are loved….deeply and earnestly.

5 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Love

Growing up, I knew all sorts of things about love.  I knew that I was going to meet the perfect man for me, most likely while in college.  I knew that I would have a huge wedding, a perfect suburban house, and a hard-working husband.  That same husband would dote on me and buy me flowers for no reason.  We would immediately have a baby and would all snuggle on the couch every evening.  Then life happened… reality happened.  I’ve still never received flowers from a man.

I have had a lot of experience in love and heartbreak and I know what’s important.  Most of all, I know what I want my daughter to know.

  1. You don’t need a relationship to complete you. When I was young, I always thought it completely necessary to participate in a committed relationship.  That absolutely is not the case.  Having that kind of relationship may be something you want for any number of reasons, but it won’t make you a better person or fill some sort of perceived void.  YOU are the only one who can do that.  Start with yourself.  Be the kind of person you can love.
  2. Love should not hurt. Oh sure, there will be plenty of pangs in your heart and you will cry.  What I am talking about here is abuse or complete disregard for your feelings.  Abuse, by the way, is not always physical.  There is emotional, physical, verbal, and financial, all of which I have experienced firsthand.  This is never okay.  If someone makes you feel trapped, worthless, ashamed, or just down more than you feel up… it’s time to go.
  3. You get what you put in. If you think you’re going to sit upon your throne as a princess in your relationship, you will be disappointed.  Sure, a lot of us like to joke that we are the “queen” or the “princess.”  Some of these people are probably in shitty relationships because they do expect their partner to spoil them with no reciprocation.   I’ve learned that service and affection needs to be a two-way street for a relationship to be successful.  I am a queen, but you know what?  My partner is my king and I treat him as such.  He is never left wondering what he’s doing all this for.
  4. You may not have “the one.” There is always talk about soul mates and “the one.”  The truth is, you may have several relationships that are amazing and fulfilling and feel like THE ONE.  Different relationships, both platonic and romantic, serve their purposes.  I can’t imagine if I had not been deeply involved with some the people I loved.  I loved, I lost, and I am stronger for it.
  5. It will come. It is such a cliché, but it is the absolute truth – love will find you when you aren’t looking for it.  I’ve seen it happen, I’ve lived it myself.  When you quit worrying about meeting someone, you find an entire world of opportunity and adventure, and then love is suddenly in your face and you can’t avoid it and you don’t want to.  And no, you don’t need a relationship to complete you, but when you’re in the right place in your life and you are loving yourself, it will be there if you are ready to welcome it.

The Engagement

As I promised in the post about my arrest, I wanted to share the story of my engagement from my previous blog.

For years I said that if I couldn’t make my first marriage work, I would never remarry.  I fully meant that.  I felt that marriage wasn’t for me, for many reasons.  The moment I realized I had fallen in love with Stuart, I knew that it was forever.  I didn’t immediately put a future husband label on that, but our love just felt bigger than me, like something I had little control over.  It is really hard to explain.  I just knew from the beginning that this was the real deal and it would never end, that I would always fight to protect it.  I can’t put a finger on the moment that I realized I wanted to marry Stuart.  I just remember looking at him during brunch and thinking, I want to make this official at some point, in front of all of our loved ones.  I never want to live without this man.  

On my birthday in December, the kids were out of town and we were gearing up to go out for dinner.  I was feeling great in my outfit with a couple of glasses of wine down.  We were running early for our reservations (for the first time in our relationship), so we sat down for a drink and some music on the couch.  Weeks earlier, I had signed for a package for Stuart and asked him what it was.  He said he couldn’t tell me, because it was for me, but also said it wasn’t necessarily tied to Christmas.  With Christmas and my birthday coming up, I didn’t think much of it but figured it was jewelry due to the size of the box.  Christmas passed and he didn’t give me anything that could have fit in that box.

Sitting on the couch before dinner, he asked me if I would like the gift I signed for.  Well, yeah!  He pulled a box out of his pocket.  A RING BOX.  And then it was open and I was just staring at it, then him.  Stunned doesn’t even begin to describe it.  There was a never a question, because we both knew.  He put the ring on my finger and I may have flipped out a little.  I just kept kissing him and stuttering things like, “Is this..?”  “Are you…?” “Oh my God.” “I can’t…”  It was one of the best moments of my life and I am so glad he decided to go with the moment and keep it private.  It was perfectly us.

I am elated to begin 2017 engaged to this man, the best part of my heart and soul.  After a 13-year friendship, we are headed down a new road.  I can’t wait to set a date and plan the wedding that perfectly encapsulates us, the way the “proposal” did.

Fast forward several weeks…. I now have a date set for a perfectly “us” wedding and it has been exactly one year since our conversation that changed everything (you can read more about that in the arrest post).

I want to share with y’all the highs and lows of our relationship (without divulging so much that our relationship loses too much privacy) and the process of planning this wedding (without so much that I begin boring y’all).  Thanks for joining me on this ride!