The last minute plans were all set. The Mexican restaurant was available to cater on our new date. The baker also had the day open. Our rings came in and were even more gorgeous than we thought they’d be. My bouquet and Treun’s boutonniere arrived. We had just a few more days until the wedding.
I was going over to Treun’s house each evening after work to clean and get things organized for the wedding. I’d planted new flowers in the back yard. We decided how to set up the patio furniture and where we’d stand to say our vows. I also decided where to put my computer so that Endellion could join us via Skype since she couldn’t come down for our new date.
Everything was set and ready. Then Treun got a text from Melanie. She said that she wasn’t going to come to the wedding because she didn’t feel comfortable being around her brothers if we weren’t going to let her invite all the people she wanted to invite. I knew it hurt Treun even as he was saying it was her choice. He didn’t try to talk her out of it. We decided to have fun on our day and not let Melanie ruin a moment of our happiness.
Then, with just two days till the wedding, Liam announced that he wouldn’t be attending either. His girlfriend was about to move out of the state and he said he wanted to spend the day with her. I told him that I really wanted him there but wouldn’t force him. I just wanted him to understand that in ten years he may look back and regret not being there and I wanted to make sure he was ok with that. He told me that Treun and I were moving too fast and that he didn’t think we should get married anyway. I told him that I disagreed with him and that I loved him and he could chose to come to the wedding or not. It was entirely his decision. Again, Treun and I decided to have fun on our day and not let Liam ruin a moment of our happiness.
In the dark of night, alone in my bed, I could admit to myself that I was extremely hurt by both of them acting in such an immature and callous way. Neither of them could be the “bigger person” to put their own feelings aside to be there for us because they simply lacked the maturity to do so. It didn’t stop me from feeling very hurt by both of them, both for myself and for Treun. I allowed myself to be sad about it for a very short time then once again focused on the wedding.
With two days left, we had most of everything done. I just had some light touching up on the house to do and we had to get the tables put in their places for the food and cake. I’d found us the perfect cake topper so I was excited to see what the baker came up with for my cake. I told her that I wanted a 12″ cake to feed everyone that day, a 10″ cake to wrap up to freeze for our one year anniversary, and a dozen cupcakes that were dairy and gluten free to accommodate people with food allergies. I told her my color and told her I’d be happy with whatever she came up with.
I didn’t have any time off work before the wedding because someone else had already scheduled vacation days that week. Treun took Friday off to cut the grass and arrange the patio furniture and get the backyard set up.
We were ready to get married!
It’s been awhile since the whole Ray Rice thing came out. I’ve watched the television reports of what he did to his then girlfriend, now wife, Janay. I’ve watched countless newscasters and pundits give their opinion on what happened, what should’ve happened, what he should’ve done, what she should’ve done until I want to scream.
I watched the NFL as an organization handle this as well as a male-dominated, testosterone-amped sports organization could (which means not well at all).
- No more boys will be boys
- No more it’s just the way he is
- No more he just has a temper
- No more why didn’t she tell anyone
- No more why didn’t she leave
At the end the words “Together we can end domestic violence and sexual assault” come on the screen before the website’s address is added.
I just stood there looking at the t.v. as Treun said, “At least they are trying to bring awareness now.”
A million things started swirling through my head and I sat down and tried to continue watching the game with him. I couldn’t. I couldn’t keep watching.
It’s been so long since I’ve written that it was shocking to me to feel the need to feel the keys under my fingers. It was jarring to have my brain screaming at me to run to the computer and get it all out because the overwhelming thought in my brain was, “Has my family seen those commercials?” Then it swirled into, “If they’ve watched the commercials, what do they think? Do they think of me? Do they wonder if I was telling the truth? Dotheyregretwhattheydid? DotheyseriouslythinkBubbaiswonderfulandIwasmakingitallup? WHATDOTHEYTHINKWHENTHEYSEETHESECOMMERCIALS????
Overwhelmingly the thoughts take over. It’s been three years since I’ve spoken to my family yet when things like this happen, I wonder what they think. Then I wonder why I even care what they think of me at all. Why do I still care that they didn’t believe me or my kids? Why do I still care that they believed Bubba and turned against me? Why does the sense of betrayal still sting after all this time?
For the most part, I go about my days, taking care of myself, my kids, and Treun. I’m genuinely happy for the first time in my life. I have life’s ups and downs just like anyone else. My family rarely crosses my thoughts because I’ve worked hard to forgive and heal and move on. Yet, when something like this happens, when I see the Ray Rice’s of the world, when I hear another story of another woman being killed by her partner because she finally had the courage to leave, it all comes rushing back.
Treun loves to watch the news and likes to share things with me. I’ve had to ask him to stop. I’m woefully uninformed about what is happening in the world around me because I’ve had to insulate myself from these types of stories. Any story that talks about a hurt child or hurt woman or abuse or injustice (basically any news story these days) my heart hurts so much that it feels like it is going to break inside my chest.
I’ve become very sensitive to these issues. I’ve been a victim and seeing others victimized make my injustice meter go through the roof. Then it brings up the betrayal by my family and how horribly my divorce went and how very thankful I am that Bubba didn’t make me another statistic. At the most dangerous and vulnerable time for me and the kids, the time I walked out of the marriage and was seeking safety, my family helped him instead of me. It still hurts and I don’t know if it will ever be truly healed.
I’m glad the NFL is speaking up and addressing this issue. Yes, they fumbled when it all came to light but I am so glad to see that they are taking this seriously and trying to educate their viewers.
No more excuses. No more.
It’s chilly this morning. I got Shane on the bus and sat down to have a cup of tea. As I sat down I realized that there is yet another hole in my sweater. I could feel the tears leap to my eyes. Another hole. More unraveling. Let’s get the sewing kit out and fix it before it gets too bad.
I texted Treun, “I am so sad. I keep finding more and more holes to fix. I can’t have this sweater fall apart.” He texted back, “Might be time for a new one.”
NO! Just no. This isn’t any ordinary sweater, you see. This is my big, comfy sweater. This sweater is an 18W and being that I’m tiny, it envelopes me. It goes down past my knees. But the most important thing about this sweater was that it belonged to my grandmother. It is one of the very few tangibles that I’ve kept of my family.
I sewed up the first hole and decided to inspect it. I found two more. I let the tears fall as I sewed them too.
Me wanting to keep this sweater and feeling these random feels about it (I did NOT see them coming at all) begs the question, “Why am I getting so emotional over a sweater from a woman, who when in her right mind, didn’t particularly like me?” I just don’t know.
My teen years were not fun. I was labeled the “rebel.” I was the one Celia cried over. I was the one who was running wild, according to the majority of my family. I just wanted to be out from under their constraints. I didn’t want to be the perfect child like Jill. I just wanted to be free to be me. Celia and I got along horribly. And my grandmother held it against me until I was in my early 30s. In those final years, I guess we reached a tentative peace. The mentions of my past diminished and what ones happened, I learned to brush off. I made a sort of peace with my grandmother without either of us every speaking a word of it. I learned to value her experience and meet her where she was. I started asking her about my grandfather. He died when I was very young and I don’t remember him.
I guess as she got older, I was able to put the stuff she said about me in perspective. She didn’t like how I treated her daughter. She only ever got Celia’s side of the story and never talked to me. I see where she came from, I guess, even if she did hold it against me for over a decade after I grew up.
Now she’s gone. She is still alive but her memories, her brain is lost to Alzheimer’s. I had the chance over the summer to go back, to visit her. I knelt down in front of her wheelchair and said, “Hi, Gram. It’s Hope.” and I could see in her eyes that she didn’t remember me. We talked. She told me about her mom because that is what she remembered. She told me about dancing and how much fun she had when she was young. And again, I told her who I was. She said, “Hope. I know her. She’s my……” I said, “Your granddaugher. I’m your granddaughter. I’m Hope.” and she said, “Hope is my granddaughter. I miss her. I haven’t seen her in a long time.”
And even though it was fleeting, a wispy memory that she grasped at and couldn’t quite catch, I realized that my grandmother loved me. Those last few years when I thought we’d reached a tentative truce were not in my imagination. She’d let it go and we did have something.
And now I have her sweater. It is unraveling like my life unraveled. I will continue to fix it and put it back together just like I do with my life. I will view the holes and the fixed holes like I view my life. Not perfect but it is what happens when we live. We fall, we stumble, we get hurt. But we get back up, we patch up the holes, and we go on. We live with the random feels, we cry, we are comforted or we offer comfort.
And we wrap ourselves up in comfy sweaters, have a cup of tea, and feel loved.
One of the biggest changes in my life that will happen when I marry Treun is that I will be resigning from my job. Treun makes enough money to support us and he believes that it is better for me to be home with the kids. They went from me having always stayed home with them to me working full-time. I didn’t have a choice as Bubba was never current on his child support payments and was actually, at one point, over $9,000 behind. I couldn’t rely on him paying child support so I needed to have a stable job to take care of my kids.
Treun and I decided that I would quit working at my current job, since they didn’t offer part-time positions, and then I could look for a part-time job. We both felt that it was important for me to be home to be more available to help the children transition to their new home, new schools, and new step-dad. Treun knows how important it is to me to stay active in the work force so I’ll never be in the position I was when I left Bubba. Even though Treun is a good man and I can’t see us divorcing, he knows that I need a safety net.
I decided to give my employer three weeks’ notice. There were many changes going on and I thought it would be helpful to them if I gave them that extra week. I sat at my computer and started writing my resignation.
And I sobbed.
I did not see that coming. This is a happy thing. Truly. I guess I would say that it was bittersweet. I’d worked my way from a temporary job to being a full-time employee and I had really enjoyed my job, my boss, my co-workers; at least until our jobs started changing. I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy my job once our new roles started. I knew I didn’t want to dedicate even more time away from home when I had the ability to be home more with my kids. Yet still, I cried.
I walked into work the next day and asked my boss if I could speak to her. Since our office had been recently remodeled, we had to go into the stairwell for some privacy. When the door closed behind us, she looked at me and said, “Please don’t tell me you’re quitting.” I said I was and handed her my resignation letter. She asked if I was sure and I told her I was. The company wouldn’t let me work part-time and then I let her know that I’d actually found a new job already. I was going back to the temp agency that had placed me at that job in the first place. When they found out I wanted to go part-time, they snapped me back up.
Much to my delight, my old boss had given me everything I’d wanted. She agreed to my hourly rate, me taking time off when I needed it, being very flexible in my hours. In return I understood that my hours wouldn’t be steady. I knew that around the holidays, I wouldn’t work at all and that was fine with me. It really was the perfect solution. I’d be home more than I dreamed and I had a crazy amount of flexibility. My boss got a little teary-eyed and gave me a hug. She was happy for me but sad that they’d be losing me. I knew she valued me as an employee. She’d always made it clear to me that I was doing an awesome job and had given me the highest rating the company allowed at my last review.
Immediately word spread through my office that I’d be leaving. People weren’t really surprised. They kept asking me if I was going to keep working after I got married and I’d told them that I hadn’t had any plans to quit. Treun and I tossed the idea around but we hadn’t decided until that weekend that I would definitely quit work the week after the wedding.
I had two weeks until the wedding and three weeks of work left. Things were looking up.
I should’ve enjoyed it while it lasted.
It was a month until the wedding and I had jury duty. Really? The universe just had to throw that at me right then?
Treun and I still couldn’t get the guest list under control. I was so stressed that I was ready to just run away. We’d seriously started talking about scrapping the whole thing and going to the Justice of the Peace. Melanie was still demanding to bring three people. Liam was acting up more and more. And Bubba was at it again.
I had emailed him about our next big visitation and he just didn’t answer me. I had no idea at this point whether or not he was taking his parenting time or if he was going to blow it off. This happens every time we have a big visitation. I’ll email him 6-8 weeks ahead of time to hammer down exact dates because I needed to get vacation if the dates fell on week days. Besides that, the kids need to know when they are going to get that big block of time with Bubba. Bubba must not like that I’m trying to get an answer so he’ll just ignore me.
I was at the end of my rope and I told Treun that I wanted to call the whole thing off. He told me that he’d gladly go to the JoP if that would give me less stress. The only thing he cares about is making me happy.
My jury summons instructed me to call a number Sunday evening after 5:00 p.m. to see if I had to report Monday morning. I called Sunday evening and my number was not in the pool that was instructed to report Monday but I was instructed to call Monday at 5:00 p.m. to see if I had to report on Tuesday.
As it turned out, I had to report Tuesday morning, but not until 9:30 am. Treun and I decided that he would go into work late so that we could be there at 8:00 to get certified copies of our divorce decrees then get our marriage license. While we were waiting for our certified divorce decrees, we decided to move the wedding date… to two weeks sooner than we’d originally planned. We also decided to only invite our children and his best friend and his fiance and Arcadia and her family.
My stress just disappeared. Until I realized that all the personalized things we’d bought weren’t right anymore, Endellion wouldn’t be able to come to the wedding, I had to make sure the caterer and baker had that date available. I had some work to do but in the end it was better to keep it to only a few people.
Jury duty ended up being a really relaxing time for me. I’d taken a book along and read for about 90 minutes when the clerk came in and told us that we were dismissed. Both people who were on the docket that day had accepted pleas so they didn’t need jurors.
I headed back to work. It had been a productive day. Treun and I had gotten our marriage licence and I’d relaxed with a book.
It had been a good day.
Treun is so easy to work with. I found a website where I can custom make our invitations. We’ve decided to get married at
his our house and to only invite 50 people. Ever the frugal person, I’m finding ways to save money and still have a small, intimate wedding that we’ll be happy with. The website I found offers all types of personalized items for reasonable prices.
We’d thought about renting a place by the lake to have the wedding and reception but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to keep it simple and do it at home. Why spend all that extra money when we could just have it at home where we’re comfortable?
We decided to go with Mexican food and found a restaurant that would deliver and set up the buffet. We didn’t need anything fancy and having a fajita bar and fruit was just what we wanted.
I finally got to show Treun my secret board on Pinterest. When he first gave me the engagement ring, I was floored that it was exactly what I wanted. I asked him if he’d talked to Arcadia about it. He said no. I asked if he’d talked to Endellion about it. Again, he said no. I asked him how he knew what ring to get for me. He told me he saw it and it just looked like me. I told him it was exactly what I wanted and when he looked skeptical, I pulled up the secret board and showed him the collection of rings I’d pinned that had been almost exactly what he bought for me with only slight variations.
I showed him the rest of the things I’d pinned and one had been wedding bands. I wanted tri-color. Treun didn’t like the few I’d pinned and had really never seen tri-color rings before. I told him it meant so much to me to have tri-color because I see the three colors as representing what we were doing. It would represent my family, his family, and the family we were creating together, all woven together. He fell in love with the idea so I just had to find rings that we both liked. That took me a few days.
I finally found a website that had our perfect rings. They were a bit pricier than I would’ve liked but they were custom made for us. I emailed the site to ask if they could do what we wanted and if so, how much would it cost and how long would it take. I heard back from them the next day that it would take 6 weeks and how much it would cost. After I got over the sticker shock, I told Treun about it. We’d be cutting it close on the timeline and the cost didn’t even phase him. He said that was actually a good price and that we should go for it. We’d gotten our fingers sized a few days before, so I immediately placed the order and told the man I’d been emailing our wedding date. He said he’d do everything he could to get the rings to me before our wedding.
Months ago, I found the perfect dress and pinned it. I went to order it and, much to my dismay, found that it was out of stock with no expected in-stock date. I called the company. They weren’t able to help. I had to find a new dress. I was heart-broken. Arcadia and I took a day to go shopping at all the bridal shops and department stores. I didn’t find anything I liked. I started looking on Amazon. I found a couple of dresses that were similar so I bought them. I figured I’d try them on and return the one I didn’t like.
Once I picked one, I took it to the store so that I could get a bra to wear with it since I didn’t own any strapless bras and the dress had spaghetti straps. My bra lady found me a bra and when I put it on with the dress, I told her that was as good as it was going to get because I wasn’t enthused about the dress. She looked at me and thought for a moment. Then she exclaimed, “I have an idea! Don’t move! I’ll be back in five minutes!” She took off before I could say anything.
Five minutes later she was back with two dresses. I looked at both of them and told her that I didn’t like either of them. She told me to trust her and just try them on. The first one fit like a dream but I really didn’t like the style. I wasn’t hopeful trying on the second one because of the way it was made but I like my bra lady so I decided to humor her. I put it on and nearly cried. It was my dress! It fit like a glove and it was perfect for my wedding. The best part about it is the bra she brought back to wear with the dress was on sale for 99¢! It was $50 bra and I just happened to be there when they were getting rid of the last of the last of last year’s styles.
I found my bouquet on Etsy. I don’t like cut flowers so I was looking for something different to do for a bouquet and for Treun’s boutonneire. I looked at paper flowers and foam flowers. Nothing was really striking me. I decided to once again turn to Pinterest. There I found examples of button bouquets! Eureka! That was what I wanted. I turned to Etsy and started sifting through all the button bouquets. I wanted white since I’d be wearing a darkly colored dress. After going through pages and pages of bouquets, I found one! It even had a matching boutonneire! I emailed the crafter and asked how long it would take to have it shipped to me since she was in another country and how much it would be. Once she answered, I ordered it. I didn’t tell Treun about it. I wanted to surprise him.
We were moving along quite nicely. All we really had left to do was wait until all the packages arrived and work on our guest list. I didn’t know the amount of drama I was about to enter.
It almost ruined the wedding.
Treun asked us out to dinner. It was a particularly busy week at work and by Thursday, I didn’t want to go home and cook. We’d been texting during the day and he asked me if the kids and I just wanted to go out to eat. I really didn’t think anything of it since we’d been having dinner together a couple of times a week. Usually, I’d have something in the crock pot that I would run home and get along with the kids before heading to his house to eat. I hadn’t thrown anything in the crock pot that morning and was trying to figure out what to make that night. I always planned meals ahead so that I could grocery shop just once a week and by Thursday, I was down to my last two choices of the week. Neither thing I’d planned for that night sounded appealing, so his solution to take us out sounded like a good one.
After work, I ran home and got the kids. We went over to Treun’s house and the kids decided to wait in the car while I ran in and told Treun we were there. Shane decided half-way to Treun’s house that he was thirsty so he came in with me. I walked in and hollered for Treun while Shane ran to the kitchen to get some water. Treun walked out of his bedroom, gave me a kiss, then took my hand to lead me to the bedroom.
“What on earth are you doing? The kids are in the car and Shane is in the kitchen. We can’t go into the bedroom!!!!!” I was beside myself thinking he was going to try something. This was totally out of character for Treun. He stopped in front of his dresser, opened a drawer, and pulled out a box. He opened the box to reveal a beautiful ring. It wasn’t a diamond so I was wondering what he was doing. He took the ring out of the box, took my left hand, put it one my ring finger, hugged me, and started talking on and on about our wedding and our future. Then he kissed me.
I looked him in the eye and said, “Uh, honey? Are you ever going to actually ask me?” He looked at me non-plussed for a moment. Then he grinned and said, “Will you marry me?” I laughed and said I would. Ever practical Treun had just skimmed over the asking and started planning. Oh, how I love that man!
I told him that I wasn’t going to say anything to the kids until they noticed the ring. The only jewelry I wear consists of my small hoop earrings and a necklace. I haven’t worn a ring since I made the decision to divorce Bubba.
We got to our table at the restaurant and sat around talking. I couldn’t believe the kids hadn’t noticed my ring and after about 15 minutes couldn’t take it anymore and held my hand up and asked them if they noticed anything different. Serenity announced that she noticed it as soon as I got in the car. She was just waiting for me to say something. Serenity and Shane are excited. Liam just isn’t as excited as the other two. He did give us his blessing and that meant so much to me. He still continues to try to avoid us as much as possible and just wants to do his own thing. I’m not pushing him because I think he’ll come around eventually.
Now to set the date and make all the plans.
And it wasn’t until the next day that I realized that Treun asked me to marry him on the 2nd anniversary of my divorce from Bubba. That date was a happy date before but it is truly remarkable now.
Treun: So, I’ve told everyone except Melanie about our plans. I’ve told my folks and both of my sons. I haven’t told Melanie yet because she’ll be the most sensitive about it.
Me: Oh which plans? Fixing up the house?
Treun: Our future together plans. We just have to decide whether we’re going to make it official in May before the boys leave or in August when they get back.
Interesting conversation. He’s back from his business trip. He spent a lot of time with his folks and apparently he told them all about everything. He has a close relationship with them and considers his dad one of his closest friends. He’s told his sons but not his daughter. I wonder how she’ll react. I guess he’ll tell her eventually.
We’ve come a long way. A few months ago I doubted that he’d ever want to marry me and now we’re trying to decide when would be best to make it official. Only it is very hard to do that when he hasn’t even asked me yet! I don’t know what he’s waiting for. I think maybe he wanted to tell his parents before he asked me. He’s been home for a couple of days and he just told me he’s told everyone except Melanie.
He has a plan. One thing I’ve learned about Treun is that he is a planner. He knows exactly when he’s going to ask me and make it official, he just hasn’t let me in on the plan yet.
So while I wait for him to ask me to marry him, we continue on making plans for once we’re married. The one thing that struck me about this is that most couples make such a hoopla about the wedding and don’t put much thought into the marriage that results from that wedding. I was guilty of it with Bubba. Our focus was on the party but we really didn’t discuss how things would run when we were actually married. I’d like to think that some of his crazy might’ve showed if we’d talked about things before the wedding.
This time around is different. The wedding itself is almost an afterthought – just something we have to get through. We’re talking about the future. He’s shown me his finances, I know what he has coming in and going out. I know what his financial responsibilities are. He knows mine. We’ve discussed parenting and what his role is in regards to my kids. We talk about things that matter from our views and beliefs to conflict resolution and what to do when we don’t agree.
We’re preparing for the future. I just wonder when he’s going to make it official and ask me!
Okay, these business trips are starting to get on my nerves. Seriously.
I’d been making plans with Treun’s daughter-in-law to throw him a surprise party. Well, he’ll be gone that day so the party is off. I’m rather bummed about it but I realize that he doesn’t have any control over these things. When his boss wants to see him, he goes.
Treun is leaving bright and early Sunday morning for his trip. I asked him if I could have a playdate at his house later that day. He pulled me into his arms and said, “Hope, you are welcome to be here and have guests any time you want. That is why I gave you a key.”
Then we took the kids around the house and outlined all the changes we are going to make when we get married and move in. Treun and I have discussed a ton of changes we want to make. We’re preparing for me and the kids to move in, yet we’ve not actually discussed the wedding. That is a rather nebulous idea at the moment. We are going to move in. We just don’t know when.
I think the major complicating factor now holding us back is Bubba. I’m trying to figure out how to do this without Bubba getting angry and taking it out on the kids. Our parenting plan states that we need to give the other one 30 days’ notice for a move. If we get married before the kids leave for the summer, Bubba will have a month to get a good lather going before the boys get there. If we get married when the kids come home, then I have to notify Bubba while the boys are there. If we could decide what has the least risk to the kids, we’d know how to proceed. We’ll figure it out.
While we were showing the kids all the changes we planned to make, I mentioned that I really wanted the wallpaper in the powder room gone and each time I went in there the urge to start pulling it down was overwhelming. I told him that I might not be able to restrain myself while he was gone. He just grinned at me and told me that if I wanted to get started, I was welcome to.
He finally left on his trip and I behaved myself all week. I pilfered a pillow and one of his t-shirts to sleep with while he was gone. It helps me not miss him as much. We had our play date at his house and had so much fun. I went back the next day to clean up. I did the last load of laundry he left in the hamper when he left. Then I waited for him to come home to me.
I just hope his boss doesn’t want to see him again for awhile.