“Life’s a long and winding ride,
Better have the right one by your side.
And happiness don’t drag its feet,
And time moves faster than you think.”
Kip Moore-Hey Pretty Girl
The beginning of 2008, and April especially, were hard months for me. I was newly nineteen and unprepared to be living with the results of some extremely poor decisions recently made. A relationship I should have never started in the first place had just ended. In its place was confusion, sadness, guilt and more than a handful of people I had hurt and relationships I had jeopardized. My first heartbreak was all the more painful in that, in the choices leading up to said heartbreak, I had caused loved ones all around me to suffer too.
When you’re in a good place, it’s hard to remember what it once felt like to be so low. Knowing I was going to write this blog, I looked back on a journal I have from that time period. I found this entry dated April 21st, 2008: “I went out tonight. It was the first Monday in a long time I’ve been okay. Actually, kind of happy… I laughed a lot and I didn’t get that empty feeling I’m so used to now. I know I’ll probably feel it again & I know I’m not done crying yet. I think I’m getting a little better though. And that’s a start, you know?”
Even when I was at my most stupid and naïve, I’ve always had an underlying confidence and a strong sense of self. I knew things would look up eventually, and until then, I would cling to the little joys afforded to me each day. What I didn’t expect was to, mere weeks later, be given such a jump start in the healing process.
At the very beginning of May, I went to a house party with a girlfriend. I locked eyes with this dude and thought he was cute. I had swallowed many jello shots prior to this so I asked my girlfriend if he was, in fact, cute. She gave me the go ahead and he and I were inseparable the rest of the evening. I was tickled by his pronounced country accent and the fact that he had brought his blue-brown eyed dog along. He asked me on a date that night. A short seven months later, he would ask me to be his wife. And five years later, on a Saturday evening in December, he would feel our baby girl kick in my stomach for the first, and then second, time.
After more than half a decade with my husband, I’m still very much smitten with the guy. As young as I was, I’ve never had even an inkling of regret for marrying him when I did. I know that there’s nobody else I would want to be with. No other person that I could possibly fathom being as right for me, or as good to me. Nobody else who I could have as much fun with. There’s never been a dream I haven’t been able to reach for, not one youthful experience I’ve missed out on, no adventure or goal he hasn’t encouraged me to go after. He still looks at me with a love that will always astound me, and I find that I am still giddy when he walks through the door with that signature big smile on his face. He truly is my very best friend.
But it’s not a story of love conquering all or of an instant happy ending. When I met Robby, there were still many amends to be made and hearts that needed to heal, including my own. Because of the choices I had made prior to that magical night in May, I would not have a good relationship with my dad, the very man who instilled in me that strong sense of self, until years later. It would take much longer than that for me to forgive myself.
Still, that night in May was something. It was a new beginning. The growing hope of happiness right around the corner. The knowledge that, for all of the bad in this world, there is so much more beauty, if only it is sought after with open eyes and heart. And in the days that followed, the hurt would slowly start to ease up and, in its place, the seeds of a love that would only grow, and grow, and grow were planted.
Four months from now, Miss Brynlee Mae will be born. Fourteen years from now, she will probably roll her eyes upon learning that her middle name honors the month her dad and I met. In our defense, we did at least change the spelling a little bit.