The song I’m sharing with you today is from my favorite American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. (I can’t believe this song is already 18 years old.) I was looking for something that I could tie into the July 4th weekend when I thought of this song. As I listened to it this morning with my new-found perspective, all these other thoughts came to mind.
It was a year ago this weekend that I (in maybe more than semi-dramatic fashion) asked my husband to slip my wedding ring off my finger. He gave me a long hug after he did so, telling me loved me before he drove away. He was moving out while I prepared to make my move south. He’d long since taken his ring off (he didn’t waste any time doing that) but I had stubbornly kept mine on. I was still married and didn’t intend to take it off until I was ready, and I’d been thinking I never would be, honestly. But by this point, about six weeks into my new reality, I’d come to terms with the fact that I was going to be divorced for a second time.
I came across my morning journal from last summer earlier and read a couple entries. I remember those days. Getting up early to write because I couldn’t sleep. Sorting through belongings and memories and crying all the while. Long talks on the patio, or over morning coffee, trying not to talk about the what-ifs and could-have-beens. Remembering how he made me feel for so long. But if I go back further and look at other journals, there are entries about our struggles, disagreements, work drama, jealousy, parenting conflicts, all the stuff that can make a marriage difficult or uncomfortable. We talked about those things last summer and we knew that some of those had brought us to this point.
When I drove to my friend’s beach house for a rare mid-pandemic, masked, kind-of-distanced, girls’ weekend with my best friends from high school, I was in pieces. I hadn’t told anyone yet what was going on, and I pretty much started crying the minute I walked in. I almost didn’t go because I didn’t want to spend the weekend crying in front of my friends. I wanted to cry in private. And yes, I did continue to cry throughout the weekend, but I laughed too. These ladies took me in and comforted me and gave me strength to do what I needed to do. And that was to pick myself up and get on with living my life. In the months that followed they were there for me every step of the way. The group text that started last July is still on my phone, and I’m happy to say that our conversations are not all about me and my drama! There are kids to talk about, freezing weather in Texas, cakes (and the proper way to cut a round cake!), vacations, camping, our parents, and so much more.
Looking back at last summer and comparing the wreck that I was then to the woman I am now, I have to give myself, and my support team, a lot of credit. I’m not that woman that was so afraid of never being loved again, who didn’t want to be on her own. I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want. I’m still learning. But I reached a point where I wasn’t afraid of never finding love again. I was more afraid that I would fall in love too soon and not experience the independent single life I had just started to appreciate.
The poem I shared with you last weekend might tip you off that I have found someone to love. It’s not lyrics to someone’s song, like someone I know initially assumed. I wrote it soon after telling the person in my life that I love him. Damn, that was hard to do. There’s nothing quite like saying those words for the first time and not knowing what the other person is going to say. But I could already feel his love, so I was fairly confident he felt the same way. Neither of us went into this relationship looking to be in a relationship. It’s scary for both us. We don’t want things to change, so we’re in no rush to do anything different than what we’re already doing.
Life feels pretty good right now. Have a great Independence Day weekend!