Today used to be marked on every calendar I owned.
It’s a day that I looked forward to.
A day to celebrate us.
It used to be our anniversary.
Today would have been 11 years.
With each year I think it gets a little easier, I think about the date a little less.
Instead of reminiscing in happy memories of the past my thoughts are more in tune with the present and I am able to realize with more confidence why my marriage actually failed.
I even realized this afternoon that I was off a year.
I was thinking this would be 10 years.
I guess that means that I don’t worry about it as much, it consumes me less…
This day 11 years ago was a day full of so much emotion.
There was so much confusion.
Most women look back on their wedding day and can’t help but smile because of the memories filled with happiness and love.
I smile because that day was such a mess.
It makes me laugh.
We used to laugh about it together.
There were parts of that day that were just crazy.
Things that would make any bride stop in her tracks and just sob hysterically.
That wasn’t me though.
I didn’t panic or freak out.
I probably shouldn’t have had a wedding day to begin with and that was enough for me to think about on that day…
I never went with my gut feelings.
I never really followed my heart.
That just wasn’t in my character after everything I had dealt with.
By the time I turned 18 my desire to follow my heart was gone.
By age 18 I just wanted to do what I thought was right.
Not even for myself but for everyone else.
For my daughter, for my family that had to put up with so much craziness because of the years I did spend chasing my gut and my heart.
I was going to do what ruffled the least amount of feathers and marriage was the next thing on that list.
You could write a movie about our wedding day.
So much happened that day that it’s almost unbelievable.
If I wouldn’t have lived through it myself, I don’t know that I would even believe it.
We started with a plan to just have a small ceremony.
Only our close family, the two kids; his best friend and my sister would be by our side.
My family didn’t care for that idea.
Instead of putting my foot down I just went along with what they said.
We went from a lakeside wedding to a full on Catholic ceremony.
Once we went to the weekend long Catholic retreat for engaged couples I was actually excited about it.
That weekend he and I shared so much and had such an amazing time.
That weekend was one of the best experiences of our relationship.
It was amazing.
The only part that was difficult for me was when everyone began discussing their engagements.
We didn’t have one.
Not at all.
He never proposed to me, he never bought me a ring.
The ring wasn’t an issue; we were young, new parents, learning to make it on our own and honestly we weren’t really doing a very good job.
We used my grandmothers ring.
I’ve written before about my love for that ring and as I type this it’s still sitting on my right hand ring finger.
I did feel some bitterness about the lack of a proposal though.
Especially after hearing that he and my little sister had been discussing it for close to a year, making plans, discussing ideas… Yet it never happened.
Getting married in the Catholic Church has certain guidelines.
Tests you take, counseling you attend.
We did all of it.
The priest that he had known his whole life was going to marry us in the church I had known my whole life.
It was a beautiful idea.
I say in theory because neither of us had attended service at a Catholic Church in years.
This was making my grandmother and his mother happy, not necessarily us.
We went out as a couple with friends for our “bachelor/bachelorette” parties.
That night we got in a terrible fight.
Just typing about that night is still really difficult and it will probably be awhile before I can let myself get lost in the memories of it all.
That night is a piece of my wedding day story so I will just say this; that night should have been the end of our relationship.
Obviously it wasn’t.
That night ended with him staying away for a few days and myself with a black eye.
My grandmother sort of took over planning.
I was involved, but like with everything else, my foot never came down.
Our wedding planner didn’t speak any English (I’m half Cuban) so she could only communicate with my grandmother.
Our DJ didn’t speak English either so the type of music we liked wasn’t even on his lists of choices.
We laughed about those things.
What else were we going to do?
We chose a cake with a guava filling because it just made sense at that point.
While planning our wedding, his parents were separating.
They’d been together 25 years and sadly were going through a really hard time.
That was hard on him, we both had parents that were still together and always talked about how they were showing us that you could make it through anything…
The night of our rehearsal dinner his father told his mother he wanted a divorce.
The next day they were supposed to walk down the aisle together…
The rehearsal dinner itself went really well.
My dad gave a speech, everyone was happy, it was a good night.
The next day I would be a wife…
As I sit here and think about all the time leading up to my wedding day a part of me feels so dumb.
There was just so much around me screaming this isn’t right, now is not your time.
In my mind it was time though.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know why I had such a hard time doing what I had always done up until that time in my life.
I was always so strong and outgoing and for some reason I just wasn’t anymore.
I couldn’t be.
I woke up on the morning of my wedding to his phone ringing.
I answered because he was still slowly waking up from the night before.
A girl was on the other end, she had to tell me something before I got married…
My heart dropped.
What was I going to do?
Was this really happening?
She kept talking…
His Best Man (best friend) was in jail.
He had gotten arrested for a DUI the night before.
After our rehearsal dinner he went out and kept partying.
We don’t have a best man now.
I left him to deal with that and I picked up my sister and we headed off to get beautiful.
As beautiful as a bride with a black eye could get anyway.
Getting dressed with my mom and sister was so much fun.
Everyone looked beautiful and everyone seemed so happy.
This had to be right.
Before walking down the aisle with my dad I couldn’t stop crying.
I felt sick and the tears wouldn’t stop.
It was to the point that he asked if I was OK.
He asked if I wanted to start walking…
Of course I wanted to start walking.
Not walking now would be an embarrassment to my family, to my grandmother in her church, to him.
Money would be wasted and what would happen to my little family?
I had to walk…
His Dad stepped in as his Best Man and the walk with his parents appeared to go OK.
He was standing there waiting for me.
He didn’t tell me I looked beautiful and actually I asked if my face looked OK (because of my eye) and he said “I haven’t even looked.”
Dream come true…
The ceremony itself was very nice.
We had our closest friends and family there and the church looked beautiful.
The reception was just odd.
A DJ and waiters that didn’t speak English and didn’t really understand anything that we wanted.
Family that didn’t speak.
His parents were at odds and mine were being ignored.
His Mother cut in during our dance and was asking the photographer for pictures without me in them.
We sat at our little table and talked about how terrible it was and how we could not wait to get out of there.
Sitting there we promised each other that on our 10 year anniversary we would get married again, the way we wanted to get married.
We didn’t make it to that point though.
We were never able to redo anything.
Our honeymoon was the best thing about getting married.
It wasn’t a big trip somewhere fancy or anything.
It was just a stay at a nice resort somewhere close to home.
A gift from lifelong friends of mine.
We fell in love a little more that weekend.
After all of the craziness and all of the things that went wrong we still had each other.
I don’t know if that was good or bad anymore but at the time it was all I needed.
I cried today.
I knew I would.
I felt alone and I felt sad.
A part of me still feels like a failure.
One day I hope that July 19th is just another date on the calendar.
I think it will be.
I think once I get to the point where I am completely content it will be just another day.
In the meantime how does a girl spend the day on her exiversary??
She goes on a date…