Since earlier this week we were talking about knowing when to leave a marriage and finding happiness after you do, it only seemed right to dive into second weddings and making peace with your own path. To quote APW’s first ever post on Second Weddings, and the excellent Brandi, “This isn’t your second wedding, it’s your last. Should I have the honor of receiving an invitation, I’ll be there with bells on and help you celebrate, however you choose to do so, in the fullest manner possible. You deserve it.” And now, let’s chat.
I recently wrote a pre-engaged essay all about getting married a second time. It was about how excited I was but also about how disappointed I was because it was all so Complicated. I worried about what people would say, how my kids would react, how I was supposed to feel, how much I was entitled to celebrate and even how my ex-husband would handle everything.
While I waited for my boyfriend to get his ducks in a row, and while he and I talked about Everything (because I still believe if we talk about Everything I can avoid a train wreck of a divorce) I secretly fussed and worried myself into knots over the actual wedding. I was obsessed with that line from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, “How very awkward to stand in front of one’s family and friends (many of whom had been guests at one’s first marriage) and swear solemn vows for life all over again.” She encapsulated everything I was thinking.
Then one day he turned to me and said, “Do you want to go buy kayaks this weekend?” I had told him that I’d rather have a kayak than an engagement ring and I guess he was listening. We saddled up my sons (ten and thirteen) and headed to this amazing shop where you can “test drive” the boats. After four hours of paddling, laughing and swimming when we flipped a boat, we each had a perfect engagement kayak.
Then I went home and deleted my essay on how Complicated everything seemed.
I don’t know what snapped in my head that morning but sometime during those four hours with my new little family everything changed for me. When you make up your own rules you can have anything you want. Everything is appropriate when you are celebrating happiness and love. It all makes sense now. I have already been asked if I can wear white (grrr) and one uncle has already said something dumb about this being my “second time around.” I had been dreading this and was sure I would slink away to city hall if anyone mentioned my first marriage. Silly Girl! It’s looking like this wedding will be a humongous and crazy display of friends and family and love and DIY projects and music and happiness, and I can’t wait.
Picture: by Hart & Sol Photo