So, we left off with my divorce and the birth of my first born, Elizabeth (we call her Ellie for short).
Once the realization that it was officially over between Rick and myself, our marriage at a complete end, I truly looked to my daughter for hope, for inspiration to look to her and see what needed to be done because it wasn’t just my life any more, it was ours for the taking! Looking at her was a reminder of what I had been through and how much better off we were without him. I wasn’t sure how or when I’d be able to tell her about him, but I was sure I would be able to handle it. I was going to have to wasn’t I?
Now, here is where I also want you to note where I became defensive with my sister despite her grand gesture upon Rick’s arrival at my parents pre protection order, post temporary protection order. I threw up a wall because it was the only way I knew how to survive critique from her even though her tones had softened and she was genuinely trying to help me rear a child even though she hadn’t had any of her own. And I say all this about my sister and our relationship because from the start she was my idol. I got in to her room, took her stuff, copied her styles, annoyed her with my presence, read her diary, etc because I wanted to be like her. She was the coolest person on the face of the planet to me. I wanted her acceptance and love. I never went the right way about doing that. We never communicated well and still, sometimes don’t. I truly looked up to her. Also, it should be noted that she gave me my first job after Ellie was born. She let me clean her apartment (typically dishes every other day). I would bring Ellie with me so I could breast feed her in privacy should I not be done with my job when she needed fed. This was a HUGE thing she did for me. Like, when I look back at it now days, I just well up in tears because it was extremely accommodating and she really didn’t have to do that. I had my last paycheck from when I left Rick, and I had money given to me from our church family who brought other gifts for us as well. My Uncle Lynn even gave me a $100 bill to help. I had a good support system, people who understood that life just happens. I went back to a fairly sheltered world. My sister’s boyfriend even got me a job cleaning at night at his job. It was a Ford Dealership and it was easy.
It was during that time, and nearing the end of my employment there that a boy began talking to me. I knew him from high school and he caught me at a vulnerable time. We talked every couple of nights about random things in high school, nothing very significant because we ran in different crowds. There usually wasn’t more to talk about than that. Most of the time was awkward and I didn’t know if it was just because I wasn’t ready and very receiving, or if it was because I didn’t much care for him. Any way, we met up one day instead of talking since he got snowed in from work and to say that it was beyond awkward was anything but…. I don’t even know how to begin to describe that experience. I had to bring my baby. He wasn’t willing to go meet for coffee, we were at his house. It was when I realized he had expectations, expectations that I wasn’t even close to having on my radar after just having had a baby. Thank God for just having a baby too. I told him I needed to go so I could feed her and because I realized she needed to get her shots at the doc’s office. We didn’t speak for about a week after that when I suddenly got a text from him that said peek-a-boo, I see you.
Huh? What do you mean, you see me? I see you working. Wow, just wow. It was then that I realized he was watching me work from his house which happened to be caddy corner to my job. Can you say creepy AF!? When I didn’t respond, he basically took to “pleasing me” by asking me to go to his work Christmas party. I took that as opportunity to be able to tell him that that was not ok. I said yes. He picked me up and I straight up told him, I was not ready for a relationship especially not one that was headed in the direction he was going. I just got divorced and that was not ok for him to do that, and it wasn’t ok for him to spy on me at work. Cool, you see me, I’m glad, but then you need to turn your head. I had had enough of Rick’s mother spying on me and going through my things that to have someone whom I couldn’t physically see outside a window because it was dark outside, was just not ok. That broke a boundary I couldn’t ignore and he needed to respect it.
He took this, actually, quite well. He was a gentleman and apologized and we went to the Christmas party where it was very clear to me that I just wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready to be seen by certain individuals that were definitely a part of this crowd. I still wasn’t ready to see the people who hadn’t even left our hometown after high school, but were the kids who would pick on me on the regular. I wasn’t ready to hear my sister’s critique let alone theirs. I didn’t want their eyes peering at me with stories that would follow that I never spoke of to the public. I wasn’t ready for the gossip and rumors. I wasn’t ready to people in that tone if you catch my drift. Thankfully, and still with a one month old who was still breast feeding, I was able to escape the work party for a nightly feeding excuse. I politely told him the next day in a phone conversation that I was not ready for anything of that nature, and that I wouldn’t be seeing him any more. I also gave that work a 2 weeks notice because I needed to find a job for after the “6 week maternity leave,” but also because I didn’t want to get spied on. It was just simply creepy.
Just before I started my new job, I found an old diary of mine in my closet that was buried in a tote. It talked about my very first boyfriend, Daniel (my husband now). And I never did say his last name in this diary, but some how, after 6 years I remembered and I decided to look him up on MySpace (yes, this was before Facebook started). I’ll be damned if I didn’t find his whole family!! That made me so happy to see their faces again. Yes, it was familiarity, but no, no intentions at this point. I just wanted to reconnect. They were some of my favorite memories and favorite people. Despite Daniel and the drug scene, he came from a good family background so I knew that they would be good friends to have on MySpace (I should mention that I had to actually process this as “good people to have on MySpace” because it wasn’t above me, previous to that to have added said “teenie-bopper” on my MySpace to spy on my ex somehow, and/or to add the Hispanic woman who was pregnant with his third child, to add his mother and sisters because I thought I could rise above the petty shit and be civil but it just didn’t happen. So I often was involved in a lot of posts that were passive-aggressive passages that caused fights and drama – all of which I did to myself, of course). I was even more surprised with every one of them had responded so quickly to my friend request! And wouldn’t you know it, Daniel messaged me a few days later and asked for my phone number.
At this point, I didn’t think any thing of it. I could see on his profile he was living quite the distance away from Colorado so getting my phone number wasn’t a big deal. Remember, before the internet all we had was telephones for successful communications as well as letter writing. I was born shortly before the rise of the internet and email. I was alive when dial up internet was a thing and we did chores while we waited for it to connect, and if you didn’t have call waiting then who ever was trying to call you had to call you later. So, talking on the phone was just a natural thing to do still. Sure, we could have exchanged emails and sent instant messages on MySpace, but seriously people, I still enjoyed the telephone very much. I’m pretty sure as soon as I gave him my number he called me.
We talked for months! We reminisced, we caught each other up on the here and now, we talked about future plans. We talked for hours at a time. He would even call me while he was on a mini deployment to Mexico (he was in the Navy at the time on the U.S.S. Tarawa). It was like we were teenagers all over again, because when we were teens we had to call each other, there really wasn’t texting (I mean, there was, but it was rare). Ellie turned three months old when Daniel finally called me after a few busy days and he was drunk. At this time, that didn’t bother me because he wasn’t yelling or screaming, and I was too cocky for my own good, thinking I was healed and shit, but he was happy and joyful, but just nervous to tell me one specific thing he had had on his mind since we started talking on the regular. He told me that he regretted our break up. He told me that he felt like a piece of shit for just suddenly not talking to me in high school and then when we saw each other some time later at a wrestling tournament he felt like even more of an ass because I was so nice to him. He told me that he’s always had feelings for me. He told me his Grammy always told him he let the wrong one go, that I was the one for him. He told me he thought of the girl he had been distracted with when we were together in high school was just never in to him like he was her so he chased a girl that was unobtainable. He told me that he wrote poems about me while he was on his first tour to Iraq. He told me he didn’t want another day to go by without trying “us” again.
Now, I mind you, I reminded him that I now had a child. I couldn’t just come and go as I pleased because of my child, that I had some serious baggage (it had just dawned on me at this point that this could provide a problem if we move forward with a relationship because I don’t even know if I can leave the state with my child). He understood 100%. He didn’t even argue. He was very kind in explaining that we would have a long time to talk first, to get to know each other all over again. He basically, was the person I had broken up with, but more mature. And let’s get real here, who doesn’t like a man in uniform huh!? I was elated at this point. He went on to explain about his brother and his brother’s kids, that he understands they will always come first so he encouraged me to really think about it for the sake of my daughter.
I felt beyond blessed at this point. I was working at the day care, I was working at the liquor store at night, and every Tuesday I had a class at the local community college. And now, now I had an actual man, a man that knows camaraderie, a man that knows respect, a man that understood what it meant to have children because he watched his brother raise a child that was not his own either. He showed me respect I hadn’t yet allowed myself to experience. I was no longer inferior to the outside opinions I once thought would belittle me beyond the point of recognition. And when my sister got wind of it, boy did she ever have some things to say, choice words I mind you. And I don’t blame her.
Daniel planned a “leave” over Easter. I was to go with his mom and Grammy to pick him up so we could meet face to face to see if this was really what we were going to do. So we could get vibes, so we could get a feel for what it’s like to be a family, to experience and get to know face to face, to really, just talk out the big plans that our future might entail. I was in for an even bigger surprise! When we got to the airport, I remember thinking it odd that we couldn’t go to the gate any more, but then again, I had selfish thinking at that point. Uh, hello Darcy? 9/11 ring a bell? Daniel being in the Navy, about to go on deployment ring a bell? I just wanted to see this man after many years apart. His family was already familiar as well. So easy to get along with. So humbling. When I saw him, I sure as hell wasn’t prepared to see him in uniform, but there he was in his dress whites, sweating, but looking like a dream! He handed me a teddy bear, a pink, TY teddy bear that said San Diego on it and I was trying to give it to Ellie, but he soon pointed out that there was something attached to it. It was a fucking ring! Poor guy got the thing on but couldn’t get it off and his Grammy had to dig out some finger nail scissors out of her purse so he could cut it off all the while he’s shaking like a leaf. He got down on one knee, people passing by, watching, and he proposed! We even got a round of applause from passerby’s. I said yes! Why so soon when my daughter was only four months old? Why would I take on something so soon? Because sometimes you just have to be there to understand it. Sometimes, while be it familiar, it is something so incredibly natural that you just simply know that this is the right thing to do.
I know it seems fast. It was. I can see it and feel it in my present days that it was too fast. I very well know it. But I also know that had I allowed too much time to pass, I would have digressed as a person of strength. I would have no longer lived a life of naivety and instead replaced that with doubt and shame. I would have never taken such a risk. So whether or not it was pure naivety, or if it was “proactive,” I took the chance because getting out of an engagement is a hell of a lot easier than a marriage and especially to a man that lives thousands of miles away. But every step of the way, he proved himself more and more the man I thought him to be. Life with him, was an easy start. Though times have proven difficult between us, I never regret marrying him. We needed each other. We were rescuing each other and while that doesn’t always work out to be a rescuer when one hasn’t healed and the other not taught good marital communication and values, it doesn’t mean it can’t work. I think we’ve done alright for 11 years of marriage. There have certainly been a lot of rough times, but those good times we get I sure appreciate even more when they come. There’s more about this that I will touch on later, but now you get to see how I wound up with my second husband, Daniel.
More will come tomorrow since there’s a few back stories that are funny, but to at least set the tone for the first year of marriage and how we managed to make things happen between us was purely through communication and on my part, deceit when it came to my own family. You’ll get to see how our lives on our own started out and just how scared Daniel had to have been when we first moved in together and his big career change began. I’ll at least say this for a cliff hanger; it was probably too much too fast too soon, but we’ve managed.