My First… Hopefully Not My Last… And Definitely Not My Everything…
Love is in the air! You can’t log onto Facebook without seeing a sudden splurge of new couples in relationships, engagement announcements, and wedding pictures. I don’t know if it’s just me, but my timeline has been full of these beautiful people who have found love. It has certainly spilled out of cyber space and into my everyday life. My close girlfriends (yes that’s plural) who are part of my inner circle are engaged and planning their weddings. It is so refreshing to see my girlfriends with the look of love in their eyes as they plan their weddings.
I take my job as the Bachelorette party planning expert seriously. I believe you MUST give your girls the send off they will never forget! I recently hosted a group of friends at my house to plan the upcoming bachelorette weekend for one of the brides to be. The planning committee sat around my living room with note pads and plenty of ideas of how to make the bachelorette party weekend memorable. I pretended to not be slightly disappointed when they adamantly opposed having a stripper. I mean seriously, what’s bachelorette party without a stripper?! LOL! I conceded and settled on ordering a cake shaped like a large… well… a large part of a man’s anatomy. As well as purchase straws that will look like the shape of the cake to sip our cocktails (pun intended) for the weekend. Anyway, I digressed!
With that in place we finalized our weekend of bachelorette party fun. Before everyone departed we went through out list of to do items and I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
Me: Alright ladies, are we all set? Are we missing anything?
Girlfriend #1: I think we are. What did you your girls do for your bachelorette party?
I was slightly taken aback. Not in a negative or bad way. But it had been a while since I reflected on my wedding weekend. And all the fun me, my bridesmaids, and close girlfriends had for my bachelorette party. I had the presidential suite at an amazing hotel. The stripper ended up standing us up. But they bought me a cake shaped like a…. man’s anatomy. They got me all kinds of sexy/trashy lingerie including edible panties, whips, and flavored massage oil. We went out to the club in a super stretch limo, drank plenty of champagne and partied the night away. I ended up falling asleep in the corner at the club because I was so exhausted from all the wedding planning. One of my bridesmaids threw up in the limo from mixing her liquors. But what I remember most was being surrounded by my girls from different periods of my life (high school, college, LA life) and just enjoying each other and acting like we were teenagers.
Girlfriend #1: Oh… that’s why you are so adamant about the strippers! I get it!
Me: You know what? You are absolutely right! I’m like a stage mom turned bridesmaid. I want my girlfriend to have what I didn’t have!
Wow! Within 2 minutes, my friend manage to diagnose my need for strippers at the bachelorette party weekend. Go figure!
A few weeks later my other Bride-to-Be girlfriend gave me a call. She was newly engaged and in the beginning stages of her wedding planning.
Girlfriend #2: There’s so much to do. We are still trying to finalize the actually date. We are thinking of Sunday. Did you get married on a Saturday or a Sunday?
Me: I got married on a Sunday.
Girlfriend #2: Did it deter some of your guest from coming?
Me: Actually it didn’t. We were able to squeeze in more activities for the weekend. It ended up being a countdown to the actual wedding.
Girlfriend #2: That makes so much sense! Thank you. I will probably need to call you and pick your brain on more wedding stuff.
Me: No worries! Call me anytime.
We hung up the phone and a day or so later the other Bride-to-Be sent me a text message.
Girlfriend #3: Hey there. Where did you have your rehearsal dinner?
And last but not least I ran into another girlfriend of mine at a party. She is a bridesmaid in one of the upcoming weddings.
Me: It looks like we are the last woman standing!
Girlfriend #4: Yeah. But you’ve been married before. SO technically you were the first woman down the aisle!
We clinked our glasses and toasted to the single life.
When I got home that evening I went to my meditation room and did something I hadn’t done in years… I went deep into the bowels of my closet where I had tucked away the last piece of evidence that I was once married… my wedding album. When I threw out, burned, or tore up any pictures, cards, etc. one of my close friends told me I should keep the wedding album.
Friend: You never know. One day you will look back on that day differently than you look at it now.
Me: I highly doubt it. But okay. I will keep it.
As I took the album out of its protective cover and lifted the heavy brown leather out of the box I took a deep breath and opened it up. Wow! Who was that girl in that picture? She looked like me, but she wasn’t me. I flipped through the pictures. I saw the look of love and hope I had that day and I found myself smiling. Looking at the pictures of me hugging my mother, father, and grandmother, me and my closest girlfriends toasting to my wedding, the love I saw in parents’ eyes. The album was no longer about my ex or the marriage. It was about that moment in time.
I realized I had spent the last few years pushing down that day so much so that I never allowed myself to actually look back at the beauty of the day and that weekend. It’s funny how things in life force you to revisit something you had put to the side for so long. By being the midst of wedding planning with my girlfriends I had been forced to revisit my wedding weekend.
It’s also ironic how looking at a picture that once brought you tears of sadness, disappointment, and made you melancholy can have such a different perception a few short years later. A few years ago I would look at these pictures and regret that I had my first experience of marriage with that person. I would be so upset because not matter how much I tried to deny it to myself. The fact of the matter was I was once married. Even when I meet my true soul mate, no matter how much I try to deny it in my mind, that person would indeed be my second husband. I would be having my second wedding. And it truly upset me that I gave the wrong person the opportunity to be my first.
But now looking at the pictures I can say YES he was my first husband, NO he won’t be my last, and he was certainly was NOT my everything and end all be all. I can look at the wedding pictures and smile at the happiness of the day. And acknowledge, YES I was once a beautiful bride and got to experience walking down the aisle and be surrounded by my family and friends and experience the full love of those people. Those same people were there to lift me up when I went through the ending of the marriage with the same love and support they gave me as I prepared for the beginning of it. I am finally at a place where I am content with where I am in my life. I am actually enjoying the freeness of being a divorcée.
I can celebrate the weddings of my girlfriends and know I was once where they were and I can be excited that they are getting to experience the joy of the experience. I also know I will experience walking down the aisle again, but this time because I had the FIRST marriage I will know it will be my LAST and to me, that means EVERYTHING!