As the weather turns from gloomy to a cautious warmth of sun, long winter coats give way for tank tops and skirts, and the birds start building their nests and preparing for a family on the way, springtime brings forth twitterpated hopes and dreams of wedding bells on the horizon. It seems like everywhere I turn, someone is getting engaged or is already planning the party of a lifetime to celebrate their union with the one they love. One of my best friends is getting married this August and has been sharing the details of food tastings, venue shoppings, and the adventure of finding the perfect wedding gown that will make her a princess for a day. My sister met the man of her dreams 6 months ago and, because they just knew, they are now planning their own wedding slated for next summer. Even my sister’s roommate is in on the season of weddings and became engaged and then married all in one week. Wedding bells are being sounded far and near, and even the most happily single person is being affected by the siren of this marriage call.
I’ll admit it, I also am hearing this siren call. It’s hard not to be when I am literally surrounded by joyous announcements and Pachelbel Canon in D. I’ve been divorced for 6 years, and it is definitely a hope of mine to one day be walking down that aisle to join the man I am destined to be with forever. But having been divorced, it is also my desire not to rush into anything with my eyes closed, and then go through another bitter divorce. Nevertheless, the sudden influx of wedding announcements has placed engagement rings and honeymoons on the brain. And it has spurred marriage talk between me and Mr. W.
It seems like every time I find myself truly single, I go through this uncomfortable stage of dreading the possibility of ending up alone for the rest of my life. It’s a scary feeling. I sit in near panic at the prospect of raising my kids alone, and then being left in solitude when they fly the nest, possibly surrounded by a bunch of cats because I can’t handle the thought of not having something accountable for my life.
I don’t want to be the crazy cat lady. I don’t even like cats all that much.
I even want to get married because I want to change my last name. After my divorce, I kept my married name because it was the same last name of my children. It had taken a lot of thought and worry to make that decision. But because I had married and divorced by the time I was 25, I didn’t want to give the appearance that I had bore children out of wedlock. I wanted it known that I had once been married to my children’s father, that they had been planned, that they hadn’t just been born out of a one night mistake. (In hindsight, this was a silly reason to keep my married name. I had only had that last name for 4.5 years and hadn’t really established it as my own in any public way. And now, having been divorced longer than I’d been married, I still carry that name and it’s the name that everyone knows me by. And I wish that I had changed it.)
And of course, I want to be joined forever with a man who is my best friend, partner, and confidante in this crazy thing called life. I want that forever companion that I can wake up to every morning, drink coffee with and share stories out of the newspaper, curl up with in the evening while we watch TV by a fire, swing on a porch swing in the evenings as we slowly grow old together, have the luxury to take for granted that someone is always there for me and me for him…. I want to be able to introduce myself as Mrs. So and So, walk into a get together on my forever companion’s arm, be included into a second family, and have a more established title than just “girlfriend”. I want that security of knowing that I will be with that one person for the rest of my life – that one day when he or I are taking our final breaths, the other will be holding our hand and wishing us well from this life to the next.
Luckily, having found myself single many, many, many (did I say many?) times, I have also become aware of the calm after the storm when I accept my singleness and actually revel in it. So what if I end up alone? I will be able to live my life exactly how I want, only my dreams to answer to. And my dreams of marriage and growing old with one person as we sway on a porch swing turn into living in a small cottage with lots of windows and a garden outside all by myself so that I can live my life uninterrupted and without the distractions of romance and a shared future. And I can swing myself on my own damn porch swing.
Inevitably, this is always when I find my next true love.
From Day 1 with Mr. W, there has been this magnetic pull between us. I still get butterflies when I see him smile at me from across the room, sending me his secret wink and dimpled grin. It was pretty apparent in those early days that this was more than just a fling or a short dating interlude before moving on to the real thing. And as we got to know each other more, I started losing my independent resolve and started thinking a couple of secret “forever” thoughts. But I kept them close to my heart this time instead of drowning him with questions of “Where do you see this going?” or scribbling my name as Mrs. Crissi Wonderful. I’d grown up in the years since my divorce, and realized that I didn’t need to rush into anything super fast. It was more important to take the time to ensure the possibility of forever than to go through the hurts and pain of another rushed, failed marriage.
But the marriage call has been pounding me upside the head so furiously that I accidentally let those hopes and dreams slip out of my mouth. What happened as a result set off many, many conversations that led to the decision we made this weekend.
Folks, I have an announcement to make. To be continued… (I know, this is so evil of me…)
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