The Happily To Ever After

It took me fifty one years to really get Jane Austen.

The girl could write the snow off the top of Mt Kilimanjaro with the kind of fiery passion that a thousand year love affair couldn’t match. Her demurely driven portrayal of female equanimity belied the wicked apple martini that a sensuous purr can serve up, after which booty calls become wedding vows. Jane knew that a momentary lapse of reason was all it took.

And I finally get her because she knew the secret to which any successful dealer in addictions must abide: Don’t get high on your own supply. See, Jane painted great big pictures of love and romance from the catbird seat of a single woman’s vantage point. Marriage was the kind of thing to write on, if not invest in. So she never did, like ever.

Now, I happen to be a single fella who admires the verve to that kind of swerve. And even though I did tie the knot once upon a time- back in that glorious age otherwise known as the Clintonian Era- I have now been divorced for a longer time than I was married. It’s not something I celebrate, mind you. I’m jaded as fuck, but I’m not a dick.

Nah, I simply discovered my simpatico with the iconic author was something I could book passage on for the sake of this post on love and marriage. Because I have also come to believe that pretty words do not a lifetime make. And you know what? That’s okay.

I have no beef with matrimony. In fact, I love the idea, in the same way I love Europe and Vegas and the West Coast. I might never visit again, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have great memories.

And so it was that I went to dinner last night at my soon to be fellow in-laws house. They’re good people, and their daughter is the very best thing that ever happened to my son. The wedding is in July and so we went over the plans and discussed the logistics. Me, the in-laws, my son and his fiancee. And oh yeah . . my ex-wife.

It was a really good night, filled with lots of laughing and wisecracks, good food and even better company. I showed off my pet whisperer skills over the course of the evening- first by convincing the finicky and rather aptly named “Gray Kitty” to cuddle with me for a spell. Later, I hypnotized their chocolate lab-Drake- into giving me his favorite rubber ball without a single growl.

I was having such a good time that it took me a solid hour to pick up on a pattern that was busy stitching its way through the conversations. I first noticed it when my son stopped me almost dead in my tracks when I had gone off topic on what I felt was a pretty innocuous story about our old house. And then later on, I noticed it again when his fiancee clipped her father’s wings before he could ask a question she didn’t want him asking. These were subtle incidences, made plain by the fact that I picked up on the avoidance strategy the kids were utilizing.

I’m not being cryptic, it’s just that, my kids share a tenuous relationship with their mother. There are reasons for this, to be certain. And just so that we can all be clear on one thing, she is a good person. She simply made the fatal error of getting remarried, moving away and having another child. Mind you, I had absolutely no problem with this. In fact, I celebrated that first event, raucously.

But I’m not my kids. And while it’s not fair that they feel the way they do, it’s understandable. They get to feel the way they want to feel. I never provoked a single ill gotten sentiment, never placed a single mean spirited verb. I was too busy playing peacemaker and dad.

Still, it was a great evening as far as I was concerned. I laughed a lot, told some funny stories and made a few more four legged friends for life. And the conversations with the ex weren’t bad either. And in spite of all the differences, in spite of all the shit that went down inside our previous lives, there is no animus between us; only two amazing kids. So I’m calling our time together a win.

I drove the kids back to Target after we left because his fiancee had left her car there earlier while shopping with my ex wife. I asked them if they wanted to stop off for some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Hot Chocolates and they whined about how it was past nine o’clock and thus, too late for that. I swear, they’re a couple of old people dressed in twenty something clothing.

They kept me company when I decided to grab a few things for the breakfast I was going to make them this morning. And then the conversation opened up, and all the things that had been left unsaid? Got said. Some of it was enlightening, but most of it was just old news. And then I told my son the whats what.

The gist of it was that his Mom and Dad are different but the same. And no matter what didn’t work, two things did. Spectacularly so. And Mom doesn’t love them less because she is living somewhere else, and Dad doesn’t love them more because he never re-married. That’s not how this works.

The advice was simple, really. Never wish for that which isn’t, just be thankful for that which is. Because let’s face it, if Jane Austen had fallen in love and gotten married, she might’ve given up her writing gig for all we know. And if Mom and me had never gotten married, we would have missed out on our two favorite people in the whole world.

All I know is that these two crazy kids finish each other’s sentences, make each other laugh, like . . all the time, and make a fine art of their respective quirks and oddities.

That’s called blue skies, baby.







79 thoughts on “The Happily To Ever After

  1. Dude. This was fantabulous… The GIRL could write? How ’bout the BOY can write…

    “The girl could write the snow off the top of Mt Kilimanjaro with the kind of fiery passion that a thousand year love affair couldn’t match. Her demurely driven portrayal of female equanimity belied the wicked apple martini that a sensuous purr can serve up, after which booty calls become wedding vows. Jane knew that a momentary lapse of reason was all it took.”
    Wish I could do that.

    And kudos to you. Marriage is a tough job. Doesn’t always work out. How we choose to go forth after it is broken is really up to us, isn’t it? Some never get past the bitterness and pay dearly for it.
    Congrats on gaining a new daughter. That is wonderful and worth celebrating!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Relationships can be a sticky wicket for sure. Between parents, children, friends, pets…well you get the picture…it ain’t easy. And surely the times we live in now add to make it complicated. Throw in a couple opposite and passionate personalities, societal expectations and a sense of having to choose something ‘over’ something (or someone) else, well, now you’ve got a hot mess. But when you have a solid foundation based on respect, admiration and acceptance, you can survive those rocky peaks and valleys. Congrats to your son and his about to be new wife. Sounds like they can look to you for inspiration on how to navigate the muddy waters. Now maybe catch 40 winks to be at your very best. Just thinking out loud. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tails,

      I am currently in a “Me” period of my life. Sounds self serving, and it’s meant to be. This isn’t a result of being selfish, quite the opposite. For the first time in a long time, I am flying solo for the sake of me. To learn, to understand. To gain a peace of mind I hadn’t been able to grasp before now.
      These kids of mine are special. They make each other laugh, and yes, you’re right . . . it’s about respecting the other person. True thing.
      40 winks huh? I was going to go for a run to wake me up, 🙂


      Liked by 2 people

    • Can ya tell I watched Sense and Sensibility? lol . . .
      Yeah, I think I relate to the perspective she was able to gain over the course of her life. She wasn’t just a brilliant writer, she was the kind of person I could just sit with and talk to for days on end. She got it, yanno? At least, that’s the way I see it . . . 🙂

      Thank you again OG!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good advice: “The advice was simple, really. Never wish for that which isn’t, just be thankful for that which is”. Love the ending with Sinatra. Wait till the warm-up … BTW: You left a few straggled thoughts at the end. Happy Sunday! Enjoy your breakfast.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “I have now been divorced for a longer time than I was married.” Me, too! Jinx! You owe me a Coke. My marriage began and ended during the W administration. I did count his presidency as a factor in the latter.


    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a great real life story. And where you all end up is good too. I guess we all have our life stories, and they’ve all got a lot of ‘real’ in there. Always enjoy the way you write.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate your words. Sometimes it’s hard to write when it’s very personal to yourself. I wonder if anyone else will get what I’m saying. But hey, that’s why I write, so I put it out there and hope for the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great treatise on Life, Marc. You said it so well that all I can say is I like the idea of liking what you got and not wishing for what you don’t have. It is like the wing walker rule. (learned by trial and error I’m sure) Here it is, “Don’t let hold of what you got until you got hold of something else.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve read this post a few times over the past couple of days. I’m not sure why… but I have. I think it’s a combination of jealousy and envy and a few other things I can’t quite put my finger on. There are times when I have trouble hearing other people’s love stories. Maybe that’s terribly self-centered… but I guess it’s a defense mechanism. If I avoid it, it can’t hurt me. Only that’s crap. It still hurts me.

    What does any of this have to do with your post? Hell, I don’t know. But I do know that I’ve thought a lot about what my writing would be like if I had the fantasy life that I dream of… that I write about. Is it either/or? I can either write it or have it but not both? Or can I have it all? I may never know…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sizzle,

      The older I get, the more I think this ‘dream’ you speak of is elusive to most peeps. Even the ones who have those ‘perfect lives’ and share every minute of it on social media.
      Be comfortable in your own skin. That’s gotta be the most important first step. Write, because you can. Fantasy…reality.. no matter, write it.
      You can write, girl.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Every time I see the word sizzle, all I can think of is bacon. I wonder if there’s some psychological meaning behind that…

        I do think people lie. Maybe I’m just cynical, but when I see people online, especially, detailing their perfect husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend, I roll my eyes and move along. I assume it’s all a cover up. I remember hearing some comedian once say something about this sort of thing. Who wants to read your little love messages to your partner all over twitter? If you feel the need to put it out there for the world to see, you must be compensating for something else. Of course, it was much funnier coming from someone else.

        I think I need more sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Definitely a lot in this story of recent events. I wasn’t sure where the twist and turns were taking me, but in the end, I smiled. Well done! …. Thought I’d say hello from the land of blog break.

    Liked by 1 person

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