This Saturday my herd officially expanded. My ex-husband married a rather amazing woman and with her comes her awesome seven-year-old son.
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, sometimes there are no good answers. And sometimes the only thing you have to go on is that God is good and that’s all.
Last summer Ryan and were offered the best piece of advice… we were sitting at a very nice French restaurant with some friends at Virginia Beach and going over what exactly was going to go down over the next few months. We had made the decision to divorce a while ago and were currently on vacation filling out paperwork together. Only a small handful of people knew at that time, our two oldest children being the majority of that circle, and we were struggling with how to navigate what was going to just be a mine field of, well for lack of a better term, sh*t. We were two hurting people knowing that we were getting ready to hurt many people around us with our decision, when our friend very adamantly said, “it’s no one else’s business.”
And so that’s how we rolled. Ryan and I are still friends and good teammates, so we just did what we always did, worked through how to keep our focus on our kids and the health of our home and we didn’t tell anyone else. We didn’t make it Facebook or IG official, we concentrated only on our baby buffalos. We realized that we could handle this our way and that it didn’t have to look like what the world thinks a divorce should look like. We could still be honorable to each other. We called the shots.
We chose to subtly break it to the internet world that we were divorced and that Ryan had a girlfriend only through a post on Tazz’s social media about her being out on a date with “her guy.”
We broke news of their engagement through much giggling on my own social media by showing Tazz’s ring off together while we were out to dinner one night. Ryan wasn’t there. We thought were hilarious. We are.
It wasn’t anybody’s business and now I am making it yours, but just what I choose, because that’s the point, you get to make the choices of how you handle the hard things. You get to choose your attitude, you get to choose to laugh about the awkward stuff, you get to choose how you want to maneuver, and you get to choose the kind of example you want to be to your children.
I am not glorifying this at all. We never asked for support of our decision to divorce, just kindness as we swam these choppy waters with our heads barely surfacing. There is no good divorce. I am not advocating for divorce, but I am advocating for what’s healthy for the babies and the choices we make. There was so much hurt. So many tears. So many prayers. So many late-night talks explaining to family members what went wrong and with our large herd you can imagine that by the time we had worked through our immediate family and parents, it was too exhausting to even break it down to close friends. Consequently, that’s how you know who the reals ones are; the ones that let you take your time and don’t demand what you currently don’t have and what little you do have, they know, is given to your kids.
We were unraveling 15 years of a life together, there was mourning to be done, realizations to be had.
I helped Ryan set up his online dating profile. The very first date he went on ended up being the woman he said “I do” to this past Saturday and the grateful tears were aplenty as I watched them say their vows in a large 100-year-old dairy barn in Southwest Missouri.
Tazz has become my good friend, one I have (you guessed it) cried to and cried with over the past few months over whatever random thing had us emotional that day. She became a mentor to my kids and rather quickly her and her son become part of the herd.
With this large of a family, we realized that if they wanted a wedding anytime in the next five years it was going to have to be June because literally every other weekend for like ever was booked. And so we as a team worked and planned one inside of a few months. It was beautiful.
And all the while we needed to make sure we were open and honest with the baby buffalos. They needed to know it was okay to mourn a life that will not ever look the same as it did and at the same time, be excited for the new one. It was okay to be all over the board. They love Tazz, Nicolai became their brother, and having all the emotions is okay. They now have a third parental figure that loves them and can light fires under their chores in a rather fantastic South African accent.
We planned. I did the flowers for the wedding, and why wouldn’t I? Tazz and Nikolai were going to be an integral part of my children’s life as well as mine. I did her hair the day of, just grateful that she trusted me with these things. But that’s not all….
My dad officiated.
My mom served the cake.
My daughter Amy bought her pearls which is a tradition for the females in our family.
Two of my brothers drove here from Virginia with these astronomical gas prices just to be here support Ryan, and meet his bride.
One of my brothers was the DJ…
In their words and in the words of my in-laws (my mother in laws brought me a Crumbl cookie the day of the wedding shower) they weren’t losing a son in law or a daughter in law, they were just getting another daughter by marriage, they were getting another grandson. We were just adding to our herd like we always do.
Everyone worked together to make their day special because that’s what family does.
On Friday I spent 4 hours in a 100-degree barn decorating tables and setting everything up. Tazz had left to do more wedding errands and Ryan and I were waiting on the chairs to arrive that were two hours late. I was laying on the floor sweaty and trying to muster up air. The song Nobody Knows by the Lumineers came on over the speakers and I started smiling while I teared up because of how fitting the first line is,
“Nobody knows how to say goodbye, seems so easy until you try.”
Especially when it got to the end,
“Nobody knows how the story ends
Live the day do what you can,
This is only where it begins”
A person that had been my person for fifteen years is now another woman’s person and I truly couldn’t be happier or more at peace. When the chairs finally arrived and I had them set up, my friend Maria took a picture of me that I thought rather neat. I was walking back up the aisle grinning because of how damn pretty everything looked, and I couldn’t wait for Tazz to see it. When I saw the photo, I realized how symbolic it was.
I joked I was going to give a speech at the wedding and then Tazz asked me to actually do it, so I did. I was also asked to sign the wedding certificate at the last second, so I did; the inside jokes are aplenty around here…. I purge cried (because that’s what I do, I cry) on my dad’s shoulder to the same song I danced with him years ago when he gave me away because it was the best day and a new beginning and despite the timeline there has been healthy progression and now there is healthy closure. It was perfect and we all win here.
As I said in my speech, here is what is amazing…
At the end of the day my kids get a stepmom that will love them and is someone they can look up to.
Nicolai gets many, many siblings, and the best dad out there.
Ryan gets a woman that will stand by his side and light fires under him.
Tazz gets a man who I know from experience will always be loyal and faithful, will always love her and support her and encourage her in whatever project she takes on.
And I get a good friend.
So, what is good for the baby buffalos is that we keep the foundation of family and we do this by multiplying our love and make our already large herd larger.
Oh, and consider this Social Media official.
Why you should always be a white belt- AKA Tactical Fitness Austin's Third Party Protection Course EIRRead Now
About six months ago I made a joking rashguard for jiu jitsu that said white belt for Eva. I was poking fun at myself (which is basically the majority of all my shirt designs) that due to traveling and constant going I was never going to be in a place long enough to belt up and that was life..
About a year ago I took a room clearing course with AR tactics in Charlotte and had a sweeping realization (pun totally intended) that I was not going to learn everything I needed to know about clearing a house in a couple hour period…
I know, big surprise, hell I am not likely to learn to be proficient in it inside of a couple months.
So those last two points? I swear I am going to not so smoothly Segway into this next part, but hopefully I can tie it all together in a neat little bundle later, so strap in
Last weekend I took a third party protection course with tactical fitness Austin. Bernardo chernitsky (I told him I was going to try the pronunciation out anyway, how did I do?) was our esteemed leader and I gotta say based on his background of like Israeli special forces thingys, I was pretty skeptical I was going to get much civilian relational things out of it…
I had been looking for a course that would go over protecting a third party for a while. I have like hella kids to watch in public and I get questions all the time about the what ifs when out and about and needing to protect them babies… I had also been following tactical fitness Austin for quite some time. I liked some of the drills and such the owner Rob had posted and so when that class popped up I thought, you know, I was in Austin like 20 years ago and don’t really remember it outside of some good Thai food I had #collegebuzzedyears
Soooo ride or die or at the very least make new friends.
One thing I want to note that was awesome about this course were the people I met #newfriends. We were a group of about fifteen and when we had an opening introduction I loved how many men and one other gal, Ashley stated that they were there for the sole reason of wanting to be able to responsibly take care and protect their wives/girlfriends and children. You could tell they had put in the work before and were wanting to soak up more. They also had developed a community of friends. They all train together and were very welcoming to an outsider.
I love fundamentals. You are never too good for foundations and when someone takes the time to explain the basic? listen, because you will probably hear something you still haven’t heard before…
One thing I had done but honestly never knew why I did it, probably just copied those around me, was after shooting a target, tracing the target down with my gun. Bernardo explained the fundamentals of this by explaining you were following the body to make sure the threat was fully eliminated, then making sure you are in the habit of looking around you for other threats. I was probably just doing this before because I saw John Wick do it..
I know now the why
My fears of this being an extreme militant tactibro course were quickly laid to rest because Bernardo very much made this relevant to my civilian world as a mom where my third parties are my kiddos. Or now, possibly my tinder date…
Bernardo laid good foundations for specific ways of manuervering a third party out of harms way as well as laid a foundation of the combat time line ie safety plan.
Combat- what to do when he’ll breaks loose
Tactical position- understanding cover and your lines sight
Containment- controlling the crowd effectively for leaving safely and
Evacuation- getting the hell out of there
We ran several simple and easy to hammer home drills empty hand and then with live fire, we went over how to manuever around your person, we then moved into my favorite, scenario work with sim guns. Also got to run a little KCC knife defense in my evolution so that was super fun.
Bernardo ran a safe course and I got to say the only injuries I received that day were to my ego when I did the same exact thing while dialing fake 911 this time as I did when I was at ECQC.. thought I had learned my lesson prior.. guess not… to be fair I was holding a doll at this point and didn’t know exactly what to do with my hands.. that needs some work..
And a bug flew in my nose and stung me… I was waiting for it to swell up like hitch and then wondered if anyone had an epi pen since we were like in Area 51 only like in Texas… I survived.
I loved how in the end Bernardo asked for us to state ways that he could improve this course, that is the mark of an excellent teacher, one always seeking to fine tune his classes and become better.
So two things, one: if you are a good instructor you must have the constant desire to achieve more knowledge and place yourself in a position to be student consistently.
Attend new courses, seek out those that are doing new things. I have trained under several bad assess in their field and then a few months later was a fellow student with them in a different course taught by a different instructor. Those are the people I want to learn from. The non stagnant ones, the ones always seeking out a better way.
And two: If you are constantly learning you are never not going to stop being a white belt. (Told you I would tie this in)
You will constantly find new skills that you want to add and learn and master. You will be attending something and realize crap that’s one more thing I need to add onto my list of things I already want to learn and need to know
You will have to figure out which ones you want to prioritize, the ones you find exciting and the ones that are practical and you will then find yourself being a white belt again, learning a new skill and that’s beautiful
Tactcial fitness Austin put on an incredible course and Bernardo proved to be an fantastic teacher, one of which I will definitly be back to take part two of the third party protection.
This was an extremely relevant course to the civilian world and i got exactly what I was hoping to get out of it. If you are concerned with what to do during an active shooter when you have another present this is an amazing start.
Check them out on IG and get involved, they have an awesome community down there in Austin.
Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal