Monday, October 22, 2007

One Suitcase From My Emotional Baggage Is Gone

I had a very nice day yesterday. I finished my homework Saturday and didn't have to hurry up and get it done yesterday, which was nice. My daughter's grandparents flew in from Spain and she stayed the weekend with them and her Dad and his wife and son (his wife's son from a previous relationship).

Let me give a little background so there's no confusion.

After graduating high school YEARS ago I went to university. I was only attending the university for a year and decided to go into the Navy. (That was THE DUMBEST decision I could have made, by the way, but if I hadn't done it I wouldn't have my daughter, so I don't regret). While in the Navy I lived in Scotland for two years. While living there I met M (my daughter father) and we married. M was in the Royal Navy (British Navy) and was a submariner. He is from England. I was only 20 at the time and was SO in love. Actually, he was the first person I had ever felt deep feelings for (well, the deepest feelings I had ever experienced at the very young age of 20) and was completely smitten. While dating I found out that the base I worked at was going to be decommissioned and I would be stationed somewhere else. We couldn't stand the thought of never seeing each other again, so we married. If we were more mature at that time we would have realized that we could have still dated even if I moved. We weren't mature, though. :)

We were married in England when I was 20 years old and he was 22. While in Scotland I became pregnant and will never forget how I found out. I had missed my monthly and felt tired and worn out for weeks. M's mother told me that I must be pregnant. I didn't believe her. Finally, I went to a store to buy a pregnancy test. M was with me and we stopped at a McDonalds to take it because I couldn't wait to get back to the British Navy base. I asked the cashier for a cup and went into the bathroom to take the test. You knew if you were pregnant if the test result window displayed a pink plus sign (+). I sat very still in the McDonald's bathroom and stared until the result displayed. It didn't take long to show a pink + and the pink was more of a hot pink. I felt like the test was screaming at me with color letting me know I was pregnant.

I was shocked.

I couldn't believe it was that fast. I didn't know what to do. I left the bathroom and went to M. I couldn't talk. I just gave him the test so he could see the results for himself. He was overjoyed! I was numb. While walking outside to get back to the car it was raining (as it usually does in Scotland) and he actually picked me up so I wouldn't walk over a puddle while giving me a hug.

When I look back I feel very sorry for my parents. Just imagine…one week I call from Scotland to tell them that I'm getting married and then only a few months later I am telling them that I'm pregnant. They hadn't even met M yet!

I sincerely hope that my daughter makes better decisions than I did.

To make a very long story short, my base decommissioned, I was sent to the States, M's paperwork for his green card was still being worked on and he couldn't go with me. He got out of the Royal Navy and lived with his parents while waiting for his paperwork to go through. I found an apartment for us, moved in, got what we needed for it, and then became sick with toxemia. I kept going into labor and had to go to the Naval Hospital to get shots to stop the contractions even though I was six months pregnant. I swelled up with so much water I turned into a tomato and was immediately put on bed rest.

I was so depressed in the apartment alone. I was horribly sick and wanted M to be there. I was scared that he wouldn't be there for the birth, so I wrote my senator and explained my situation. Unbelievably, his staff contacted me and said they would get him to the States. In only two months they flew him over and I was thrilled. He was there for our daughter's birth, thankfully.

I decided not to reenlist when my time was up in the Navy and we moved to England. After living there for a year and a half we realized that the economy was not getting any better and it was very difficult to get good work, so we moved back to the States.

We were together for six more years. Things turned bad. I didn't want a divorce and kept working on the marriage. I come from a divorced family and didn't want that for my daughter. I thought it would be best if we stayed together no matter what. In all actuality, it would have been better if we divorced when she was only three because I don't think it would have hurt her so badly.

I'll never forget when he left. I was on the couch crying and he took off his wedding ring and put it on the table before walking out the door. Our daughter stood there very stoically and didn't cry one tear. She closed the door behind him and turned to look at me and said....

"Well,'s just you and me now."

She then went to the sink and got me some water and a paper towel and brought it to me. She wiped my tears and told me to drink the water because it would make my throat feel better and help me not to cry. She said that it was something that always worked for her. It was only four days after her sixth birthday.

I never thought I would marry again. I was happy to be with just my daughter...and then I met my current husband. I took it much slower with him and we dated for two years before marrying. We'll be married five years this December.

M remarried about two years after our divorce. I'll never forget when he told my daughter and me. We were amicable after the divorce and he would even ask advice about dating. He had met an older woman named T (she is 14 years older) and they had just started going out. Three months had gone by and he arrived on our doorstep to let us know they were getting married. I remember looking at him and asking..."Do you need to get married so soon? You just met each other!". He said that they had to get married and he couldn't wait. I said "Do you think three months is long enough?" And he said..."Well, it's better than us!" (By the way, M and I were engaged only one month after meeting. I told you that we weren't mature...). Then I said, "And look what happened!".

He got married and is still married today. He is now 38 years old while she is in her 50's. He complains to me at times that he is becoming a monk because she is a "nun" with her menopause. That is way too much information for me, but he has always been quite blunt. He's not very happy in his marriage and I sometimes think that he is waiting for our daughter to graduate so that he can move back to England. We shall see.

Back to my original story...yesterday.

His parents flew over from Spain to stay with M and his wife. They are from England, but retired and built a house in Spain. They float back and forth between the two countries. When I picked up my daughter yesterday M's mother went with us to spend some time together. She loves to shop so we went to the mall. We got a coffee from Starbucks (I haven't had a coffee in SO long and enjoyed it SO much) and chatted for a bit. Afterwards we looked around the shops and then I took her back to M's.

It was wonderful to spend time with her. I could tell my daughter was happy that we were having some "girl time" together because she didn't stop smiling for four hours. You see, after M's and my divorce, his family stopped speaking with me. When I did see them from time to time when they visited the States it was always very strained and felt so weird. I would call them in England and you could tell they didn't want to talk with me. I felt bad about this for years.

Yesterday was the first time since the divorce that things weren't strained and were completely natural. I could tell that she was happy to visit with me and we talked about a lot of things. At one point she said that my daughter was a credit to me and that I have done a wonderful job raising her. Sometime later she said, "I love you". I can't even begin to describe how that made me feel.

You see, I have always wanted a relationship with them even though M and I divorced. I think it's important to retain a good relationship - especially for my daughter. The fact is that I never divorced them. I was hurt for years that they didn't want to talk with me. I look back at it now and think that they just didn't know how to act. They felt uncomfortable. M's parents have been married 38 years. They married when she was 16 years old and pregnant with M. Not many people in their family have divorced and it is something foreign to them.

That is why yesterday was so very special to me. I think they feel comfortable now and I no longer have to feel bad about it. It's a really nice feeling.

They are leaving Wednesday to drive down to Florida. They are meeting M's sister, husband and kids at the airport when they fly in from England Thursday. Friday my daughter is going with M and his wife to Florida to spend the weekend. She is excited to spend time with her family and visit Disney. Her grandparents always go to Disney (almost once a year!) and she has been there so many times you would think she'd be bored to go. My daughter is leaving again with M to go down to Florida in three weeks, which is the last weekend his parents will be in the States before flying back home. It will be nice for her to spend time with her grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins.

Yesterday I felt that a load I've been carrying for years was lifted.

I am so grateful.


Anonymous said...

So much happening in your life! The English can be very reserved and perhaps, as you said, not know what to say. It is nice you have kept a relationship with your ex. That must make a difference. Divorce is not the best thing, but a bad marriage is worse. I am glad to hear you felt some weight coming off your shoulders. Sometimes we do wonder what exactly the problem is with ourselves. Peace can come from the most unexpected areas. PS: One day I am definitely going to Disneyland!!!

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