Last week, I took Miss M to the DMV to update her State ID as she changed her last name a year ago this month (July) to incorporate my maiden name, and to have the same name as me and to have her Pappy’s last name as well. Yes, we are those ladies who hyphenate. The lady behind the counter said ~ When you bring her in next year for her driver’s license (bluh! that made it real when a State employee reminds you that your daughter will be 16 next year) you may want to consider getting her a Federal ID since you travel. And I see that your license are up for renewal next year so you should consider doing the same. All you need to do is bring in two sets of documents with your name on them, your SS card and if you have ever been married before you will need to bring in that documentation as well.
Is Miss M listening? Of course she is, she is your Dad made over. They miss nothing. Can the lady see on the screen my previous last name? Names?? SHIT. Please don’t say anything if you do kind lady. I haven’t shared with Miss M yet that part of my life. Her dad’s life…… Remain calm PG. Remain calm.
We leave. We are pulling out of the parking lot. I’m watching traffic and she says ~ when that lady said ~ if you have ever been married before bring in that documentation next year ~ I laughed because you haven’t been.
We stopped at Momma’s on the way home because Miss M wanted to spend the night with her and as she was fixing herself some mashed potatoes she says ~ Mawmaw, while we were at the license bureau the lady told Momma to bring in documentation next year for her Federal ID and to bring in any documentation if she has been married before and I thought she’s crazy.
Mom dropped her head and looked directly at her phone. My mind racing. Miss M looks over her shoulder and says ~ sure got quiet in here. It was like my Dad was standing in the kitchen again. I will never live a day without him because I have her. With that said ~ does she know? Is she about to call me out? I’ve got to get out of this house and collect my thoughts. Talk to GW. Plan. Plan how to tell her without crushing her fairytale idea of her dad and I. As a Daddy’s girl myself, I figure the news would bother her more knowing that he has been married before more than the news of me. I mean ~ I’m thankful I didn’t have a sister for crying out loud. I would’ve hated sharing her with my Dad.
As I type this, my jaws are tight again. I am not ashamed of my past. Disappointed. Never ashamed. I am who I am today because of where I have been.
GW and I talked and decided that it would be a good idea that I reach out to husband #2 out of respect for his son since he and Miss M are only a year apart and attend the same school to see if he knows about me. About the us that once was. Don’t judge me please for allowing her to go this many years without knowing. There was never a need. Never a good time. A few near misses but we all came out unscathed.
THE PHONE CALL
We live in the same small town. Our kids attend the same school. When living in a small town, you run into each other upon occasion. We are adults. We can handle it. Can’t say that about some people but…. I’ll leave it there.
It had been 16 or 17 years since we had talked on the phone. There hasn’t been a need. He reached out to me last year after the passing of my Dad as he couldn’t attend our service but not a phone conversation and definitely not one that was almost 9 hours long. Yes, we talked that long. And yes, GW knows. GW had a meeting the evening that the call took place and laughed when he came in from work and his meeting and kissed me and said ~ tell him hello ~ I’m exhausted and I’m going to bed. THAT my friends, is an adult. One that trusts me and one that is secure with himself and us. And, he knew that it was for our daughter and for me. Much healing took place in this 9 hour conversation. Much needed healing, validation, clarification, resolve and release.
I began with the whole DMV conversation and went into the I could have swore my Dad was standing in the kitchen again looking over his shoulder at me making me wonder if my secret had already gotten out and she was just waiting for me to fess up. And then I explained that out of respect for his son FIRST and then him, I needed to know if his son knew about me. About us. He said very kindly ~ yes.
That is how long our talk continued. N I N E hours. A bottle of wine for me and maybe a couple of Michelob Ultras. In 9 hours, one can do that right? Well, I can. Anyway, we laughed, we cried, we talked, we apologized, we cussed and discussed and at the end of it I believe we understand a lot of things, each other, our relationship then and our relationship now better. There are a lot of things that were forgotten. A lot of things that were misunderstood. A lot of things forgiven. A lot of healing for sure. And, we are friends. Why is it that at the end of a relationship, people can’t be friends? If you aren’t battered or worse, why not? Aren’t we all adults? I’m thankful for his friendship. I am thankful that I can have a 9 hour conversation with my ex-husband and my husband now isn’t upset, threatened or doesn’t understand what in the world we could have talked about that long. Some wouldn’t. He does.
THE NEXT DAY
After a few hours of sleep, (I didn’t get to bed until 3:30 am) I showered and got ready to take Miss M to get her contacts. My prayer ~ God, please give me the words, the wisdom, the courage and the proper time to talk to Miss M. The trip to get her contacts is an hour one way. We each had undivided attention. The radio wasn’t on. Our phones didn’t ding or ring. The dog didn’t need out. You get my point. From here, I am not going to go into deep details because it is our story. Our moment.
What I will tell you is this. I started with what I have always said. In life, sometimes people make choices for you which are beyond your control and when that happens, you have to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward. I am not ashamed of my past. Disappointed, yes. But not ashamed. Would I do a few things differently? Sure, wouldn’t we all?
I told Miss M that I would probably write about this topic and told her as such because she is one of my most loyal readers. And, I appreciate and respect her more than she will ever know. If I can help one person by writing this and about my experience and why I waited almost 15 years to share with her details of my past I am thankful. I wasn’t being dishonest or disloyal to her by not telling her. The time wasn’t right. We didn’t want her to ever worry that she would be without her dad and I together.
When you find yourself in a similar situation as mine, share with your child as long as they are old enough to receive and understand what you are sharing. I didn’t go into the gory details of people past. But, I was honest. I watched our relationship grow that day. I saw a mother and a daughter get closer. I saw a daughter see her mother as human.
As we headed on our hour trip back home, Miss M said to me something I will cherish forever and always. She said ~ Momma, Pappy would be proud of you. Stunned by the sentence, I said ~ Really? She said ~ Yes, because you are so strong.
I melted. That in itself was worth all the sleepless nights, pain and tension in my body leading up to the time God appointed me to share with her. Another beautiful moment blessed by God Himself.
XOXO ~ PGWW
It was many years before my kids knew about my past marriage. It did eventually come up and I discussed it openly. Probably more so with my daughter than son, because some important lessons for her were in there as well. Until that moment though, I wasn’t hiding it from them, I wasn’t lying to them – it was just a part of my life that didn’t come up in discussion and there was no need to tell them. ❤❤
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Thank you so much Michelle. I, too, used my story as a teaching moment. I feared that she would look at her dad and I differently. She amazes me more every single day and honestly, I don’t give her enough credit at times because I still look at her as a little girl when in reality she is a young lady.
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Now THIS is how we unveil our “befores”: With truth, with integrity, with love, with honesty, with humility, and with unwavering faith in those to whom our stories someday must be told. 💖💞💝
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