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.
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