Single Parent Stories: Tech Savvy Butterfly

Stephanie Van Pelt is a single mom I met through Google+ (Seriously why aren’t you there yet? Connect with me!) who writes the blog Tech Savvy Butterfly. There she writes about technology, parenting, and how technology affects families for better or for worse. She also discusses these things on Google+ so if you’re new to the platform and interested in these topics, circling her is a must. This is her single parent story.

My journey to single parenthood was so exciting I decided to do it twice. I’m twice divorced with 2 sons, one from each marriage. The journey itself is full of bad decisions – my own and those of my exes. Low self esteem coming off of marriage #1 resulted in an even more disastrous second marriage. Let’s just say that no one was truly innocent in either of these matrimonies other than the children and move on.

This results in two very different single parent scenarios. My older son spends one week with me and then one week with his father. While we still bicker from time to time, we managed to keep our relationship cordial and later even friendly. I’m actually pretty happy about the fact that we’ve demonstrated to our son that even though we couldn’t live together as a couple, we have still been able to work together to raise our son.

My younger son hasn’t seen his father in more than three and a half years. At first this made me very, very angry. Now I’m grateful and to be honest, this is my preference. In his current state, ex #2 is not fit to be around children. He may never be. This leaves me as my second son’s sole parent, both more challenging and simpler in the same moment.

Who am I now? What is single parenting like for me today? It’s frustrating when my first ex doesn’t meet my expectations. But then again, that’s hard enough for married couples. While divorcing I think that’s the hardest thing to understand. Co-parenting is difficult in even the very best of relationships. We always have differences of opinions and those early angry days certainly compounded those differences. I have to remind myself that he also loves our son and is just doing things the best way he knows how….as am I.

By contrast, I don’t have to consult anyone when making decisions about my younger son. I also don’t have anyone else to help with the responsibility of raising him. That fact alone can be very wearying. Knowing that there’s no one else to tap out to – no one to call and say “Your son did XYZ!” I fear my younger son will not have appropriate role models or take on the absences of his father as his fault.

Through it all I’ve learned so much about myself, what I’m capable of achieving and I’ve grown into a better person. The key things I’ve learned:

  • Develop a strong support system. It’s pretty much impossible to parent well completely solo. Develop a team of people to help you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Meaningful relationships with your family, your ex’s family, other single parents and other whole families matter. When you have a sick child, there’s someone to lend a hand. When you have a win, there’s someone to celebrate it with. You don’t need a spouse/partner but you do need that village. And it provides you with a little welcome relief and sanity.
  • You will be amazed at how strong you really are. I had no idea I was such a strong woman until I became a single mom. At the end of the day, the responsibility of my boys rests solely on my shoulders. You know what? I got through it – I even managed to do it a bit gracefully. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when push comes to shove and it’s your children at stake.
  • I have three main responsibilities in life and only time to do two of them well. Family, work and home. The house can wait. I’d rather read bed-time stories to my kids. Work gives me something of my own, outside of my identity as Mom and provides me with the income to support my boys. The boys are the light of my life. I can have a clean house when they’re not there anymore. We have too much fun being messy right now.

If you enjoyed this story as much as I did, I hope you’ll read past contributions to this series. Single parents can, and do, create loving and healthy environments to raise wonderful, happy, and loved children in. Here’s more proof:


Single Parent Stories: The Brainy Babe

Meg Winkler is a freelance writer who keeps the blog Brainy Babe where she talks about books, writing, and of course the single mom life. She has been through two marriages and maintains a good relationship with the father of her daughter. This is her single parent story.

I didn’t set out to become a single parent; although, how many of us have? I was married and happy and we were surprised with a precious little girl who—I kid you not—from the womb has always been the biggest sweetheart I could ever have been blessed with. And then the marriage fell apart.

The reasons behind the collapse of our marriage are more involved than I care to go into, but we were married for almost seven years, separated for the last three. Even with that separation, it was hard—one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. To make matters even more difficult, my first husband was (and is) in the Army. He’s deployed fairly often and at the best of times he’s still at least a few hours away. At the time of our divorce, he was literally on the other side of the world. And I had this three-year-old for whom I was suddenly primarily responsible. Her dad’s always done everything he can to help out, but living close by has just never been a reality and I was granted sole custody because of our mutual living situations.

I sold our house—I had to according to the divorce agreement. I ran the gamut of all the legal stuff and honestly for a while I felt completely ashamed over getting divorced. On top of all the embarrassment, I had so many decisions to make. I had to decide what to do with my business. Should I continue pursuing my master’s degree? How was I going to get along? I was scared.

At around the same time, an old friend popped back up in my life after several years of silence and we fell into a very quick romance. I wasn’t a single parent for long and I married the second husband much sooner than I should have. That marriage ended after just about a year together. That’s when it got hard; that’s when it got interesting.

I was a single parent for quite a while. I lived with my parents for a bit, and without their help I think the little one and I would have learned what it’s like to live out of a car. I didn’t date anyone; I focused on finishing school, finding a good job, and getting my feet back underneath me. I had to find what made me happy. After going through two “failed” marriages, I had to figure out what I was doing wrong and how to fix it.

I’d married the first husband when I was just 20. I was just a kid. In many ways we’d grown up together, but that also meant that I had to stop and look at things from the point of view of what I wanted out of life as a grown up. I asked myself what made me happy. I changed religions, and therefore a large social set. I got a new job and finished my degree. I started really writing, I mean really pursuing it. And finally I started dating again.

Being a single parent has been difficult, but it’s also been an enriching experience. And I’ve learned a few things:

  1. You can’t do it all: I never absolutely bought into the “it takes a village” philosophy until I became a single parent. When there’s just one of you, suddenly this support structure means so much more. You rely on extended family, teachers, and friends in ways that you didn’t before. You also become hyper-aware of how this village influences your kid.
  2.  All the hard work is worth it: Sure, there are times when you want to throw in the towel. There are days when you seriously just want to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and a chick flick (or a beer and a football game). This is okay. This is normal. And this doesn’t make you a bad person, which leads to my last point:
  3.  You have to put yourself first: Of course your kid is a top priority, but not your only priority. Take advantage of grandparents who want the little one to spend the night–go out with your friends. Take time to paint your toenails. Don’t beat yourself up when you really just want to hit the drive thru at McDonald’s because the work day was rough. If you remember to put yourself first, you’ll feel better and be a better parent. It’s easy to get dragged down by single parenthood. Take some time for yourself; your kids will see this and be happier for it.

Today my life is different. I met the love of my life a year and a half after the second divorce. When I met him, I’d already figured out what I want out of life. I’d learned what makes me happy. I discovered a few things about myself and finally returned to the person I feel like I was before I was married the first time. My relationship with my daughter was solid and I’d buried all the hatchets with her dad. I’d gone through those struggles of having to deny my little one a toy or ice cream in lieu of a new pair of shoes or actual, healthy (read: boring) food that she needed. I’d learned how to prioritize things and I’d learned what’s most important.

And the reality is that I’m no longer a single parent. Sure I take on all of the big responsibilities of parenthood for my daughter, but I live with my boyfriend and a roommate (his nephew) and we form a kind of non-traditional family. I’ve always believed family is who you choose, not who you’re born with. I learned a while ago that we have to do things our own way, not dependent upon what society, friends, family, or the media tell us. For some, single parenthood is the way to do it. Being a parent is hard—I don’t care who you are and who you’re with. But it’s worth it. In the end, it’s worth more than you know.

If you enjoyed this story, I hope you’ll read the other contributions to this series. If you’re interested in sharing your Single Parent Story, please email me.

Single Parent Stories: Getting Us There

Sass writes the blog Getting Us There. She has been a single mother for 15 years and her daughter is now in college. On her blog, she mostly discusses the financial challenges of single parenthood. Sorry guys, kids don’t get cheaper as they get older! Here is her story.

It is always interesting to me to think back to how I got here. I don’t like to think about it often because all of the old wounds are healed over. This wasn’t what I planned almost 20 years ago when I said “I do”. I met The Ex back during my freshman year of college. He was a couple years older and a member of the “bad boy” fraternity. The hard partyers. The guys that everyone warns you about, but secretly can’t resist. After we met, that was it for me. We dated all through college. His partying never really bothered me because “everyone was doing it”. He graduated before I did and started life in the real world. His job had him on the road a lot so I thought he had grown up and become responsible, and I was growing up too. We got married a few months after I graduated and began our lives together. There was one problem though…  I was slowly starting to realize that the party hardy ways had not been left behind in college. By the time I really clued in, I was pregnant. Not the best of timing. He lost his job (and our insurance) due to his partying when I was about 6 months along. And after the Princess was born, we were on a series of him being hired and fired, hired and fired, arguments, fights, broken promises…. Well, you know the drill. Around the time the Princess turned three, I realized this wasn’t going to change. So, I started making plans…

I quit my job as a teacher in private school (no benefits) and went to work as a receptionist — better pay PLUS benefits. A few months after that, I hit the breaking point. I scooped up the Princess and moved home with my parents. Three months after that, I was “officially” a single parent. The Princess and I lived with my parents for about a year to get on our feet. I’m well aware that not everyone has that kind of safety net and I’m very grateful that I had it.

So, fast forward to today…. Yeah, I’m leaving out a LOT, but almost 15 years of being a single parent has had its share of ups and downs and this would be a novel instead of a blog entry if I tried to tell it all. But where we are now is what is important anyway. I currently live in a cute, little (and old) house I rent from my Dad in the town where I grew up. I love my job, it provides fabulous benefits and it is close to home. The Princess is in her first year of college. The Ex grew up and gave up the partying and has a wife and two sons now. I have a friendly relationship with both the Ex and his wife, child support gets paid on time and we can openly and rationally discuss the things that affect the life of the Princess. Finances are a huge struggle as I constantly scramble to pay off credit card debt, pay tuition and lead some semblance of a normal life. All of these have come with their fair share of blood, sweat and tears.

So I’ve learned a few things over the way-too-many-years that I’ve been a single parent:

  1. You can find humor in most any situation: It can be SO easy to get bogged down in the more month than money, the loneliness, the frustration, the nameyournegativefeelinghere. However, finding a way to laugh at least a little at the current situation really helps avoid the bogginess!
  2. The dust will still be there tomorrow: The house will still need cleaning tomorrow. But that soccer game or tea party is strictly a one shot deal. Don’t miss out on them.
  3. Creativity is your BFF: Think outside the box. Whether it is sneaking veggies into a picky eater’s diet, how to stretch that $100 budget into Christmas morning magic or how to survive when both you and your own Princess (or Prince) are down with the flu. Look for the less than obvious solutions. They are often the best.

At the very end of the day, realize that although it sometimes seems like it, you are NOT alone. There are a lot of people out there who have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and made a movie of it. If they can get through it, you can too. Heck, if I can get through it anyone can!

Like this? Here are previous posts in the Single Parent Stories Series. Email me if you’re interested in contributing.

Single Parent Stories: Not Your Average Single Mama

Explicit Single Parent Stories

CC writes a very raw personal blog at Not Your Single Mama about life after being married to a meth addict and raising her 10 year old daughter, the PIT (princess/punk in training). So raw, in fact, she gets her very own Single Parent Stories header with bonus Parental Advisory sticker on it. 🙂 Here is her incredible story.

I can’t say exactly when my journey to motherhood began. I mean obviously there’s pregnancy, that’s a start- but the start of the roller coaster that is pregnancy which is a walk in the park compared to the unexpected tsunami of reality my life had once become but we’ll get to that eventually.

(I’m an expert random rambler. Enjoy.)

The reason I can’t say when my journey to motherhood began is because I was never going to have kids. I was never going to get married. I was also 17 and an absolute clueless know it all snot with a weakness for a bad boy.

(Teens, pay attention. Now is not the time to convince yourself they’re THE ONE. You’re a teenager. You should feel butterflies in your belly, not babies. TLC once said “protection is the priority”. It still is bitches, wrap it up. End random rant #1)

Turns out, you don’t know shit when you’re 17. I thank God every day for that simple fact. Also turns out that bad boys who choose to live the thug life, are not always the best long term partners. Prison doesn’t pay your child support bitches.

Why am I talking about the 17 year old me if I wasn’t a teen mom? Because, that’s technically where all of this began.

I was 17 when I met my future ex-husband and at one time, we were so in love it was intoxicating. We made plans for our life together…we bought a car, a cute house with lots of windows, we got an adorable puppy I named Sir Winston Duke, we talked about someday raising kids together, building the kind of life for our children that we had wanted….

We had plans, dreams, goals… none of which included meth addiction, affairs, and abuse but that is where shit once ended up. I wrote about my life with a meth addicted he-whore of a husband once. I typed it all from my phone, emailed it to myself and eventually started my therapy, aka my blog. I only tell you this because if you want the details, you’ll have to go there to get them. I wrote it, published it and never read it again. I felt a huge relief when I got that story out of my head where it constantly played over and over like a broken record, wearing me down daily.

I’ll give you the short version.

It was 9-11-01 the first time I saw her little heartbeat on the screen. I bawled with joy, awe and fucking fear. I was 22 when my daughter was born. She was 2 days old when I brought her home, kicked my so-called husband the fuck out and cried my eyes out, cradling my baby in my arms, apologizing to her over and over again,

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I’m so sorry. This isn’t what I meant it to be”

What it is should never be.
Except when it is.
Then it simply is what it is.

At the time I apologized not knowing, not trusting, that even though things were clearly falling apart, they were falling perfectly into place. A place I never imagined.

Fast forward ten years… welcome to the perfect chaos that is my present life. It’s still just me and the PIT, plus 10 years’ experience and 1 crazy ass bastardcat. I never remarried, I’m not even open to the idea right now, and I’m in absolutely no hurry to redo any part of my life as a Mrs. as I did it all wrong the first time round. Since I went from a meth addict to an abusive alcoholic to a married man, I don’t date. I don’t know how and honestly, I don’t want to. Maybe my mind is warped, haha ok, it SO is, but to me dating seems like a charade….

You know what? Let’s stick to the topic- single parenting, not “the thousands of excuses CC has for not ever dating or even leaving her house”. I should really keep that shit on my own domain.

As I was saying, I tried marriage and failed, I tried dating and failed. I’ve been on my own for long enough now to realize I didn’t do it wrong; when I love…I love with all my heart and soul. That’s the way you should love. Fierce. The trick is knowing who is worthy of your fierce love because even the fiercest love can’t make them love you like that back.

I haven’t mastered the art of knowing yet. At first, to protect myself, I’d just shove everyone away. “I’m fine. I got this shit” I’d tell em. If they didn’t leave, I’d get simply vicious and without a doubt, I’d drive them right out of my life. I couldn’t let anyone in my life without it directly affecting the PIT so…I just didn’t. I don’t. I’m better than I was 10 years ago. I’ve met people. Awesome people who have helped me tremendously once I let them. People who have re-established my faith in loyalty and friendship. People who GET me….that helps when you’re as insanely difficult to be around.

I bet this will be the last time Mutant Supermodel asks for my opinion as I cannot stay on track to save my ass (Editor’s Note: I like your off-track, on-again-track just fine).

So basically, I’m still a single mom. I have been since day one. Some days…it fucking blows goats. Other days…there is nothing greater. It’s a roller coaster to say the least.  Ten years later, I can say with confidence, Hang in there mamas. Keep those heads up. You’ll see why…all your hard work, sleepless nights, tears and fears are going to grow up into a phenomenal human being…because of YOU.

You’d think that after ten years of this I’d have some solid advice or wise words but I don’t. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing here. In all honesty, none of us do. The ones claiming to know it all are assholes and probably childless. People have ALL the answers till the kid falls out their vaginas.

Then shit gets real.

People like me are too lazy to bullshit & prefer to keep things real.

Parenting, single or not, is a hard fucking job. One that should be taken seriously but not too seriously or neither of you will enjoy it. The PIT is a good kid, a damn good kid and people ask me “How’d you get a kid who’s so polite and well behaved when you’re so…”

I’ll tell you how.
I raised her and I take my parenting responsibility very serious but rarely ever to never take myself serious.

We laugh, a lot.

We play, we learn, we are a team yet I am still very much Mom and she knows it. I am without argument, a bitch.
I struggle with depression and anxiety daily. The stress and pressures of being a single parent fuel that fire but over time I’ve learned to channel some of the frustration into motivation.  There’s Xanax and good friends for the rest.

It’s utterly mind blowing to think back to where I was when I was given the greatest job I never knew I wanted, to where I am now……it’s still the greatest fucking job EVER and I am honored to have this beautiful little person call ME “mama”.

I leave you with this, the three most important things I’ve learned over the past 10 years are simply this:

  1. Laughter really is the best medicine
  2. Love (as in a parental kind of love) will conquer
  3. When shit is falling apart, give it a minute… shit might just be falling into place.

Remember that being a single parent doesn’t mean being alone.  There are A LOT of us out here…reach out. And if you think you fucked up….spend an hour over at NYASM and you will see you are not alone….I have fucked a lot of shit up…a.lot.

Single Parent vs Married Families: Stop the Comparisons

Some headlines just beg a clicking, for better or for worse. Marriage: America’s best antidote to child poverty, was one of those. In this piece, the Heritage Foundation presents the argument that because a disproportionate number of families with children living in poverty are single parent ones vs married ones, the United States should advance policies that promote and reward marriage.

Frankly, suggesting marriage as the solution to poverty because a high number of those in poverty are unwed is like promoting becoming white as a solution to poverty because a high number of those in poverty are nonwhite.

I had written a post responding to this “fact sheet” until it dawned on me their argument is completely invalid because their research is wrong. As a matter of fact, most studies on single parent households are wrong.

When you are doing a study and you are seeking to compare and contrast, your study’s strength relies on the variables and controls. In other words, if you want to determine whether or not drinking food colored water affects the health of mice, you have to make sure your mice are very similar and eat exactly the same diet with one exception– what they drink. Group A drinks regular water, Group B drinks food colored water, and Group C drinks neither regular or food colored water but orange juice.

So what does this have to do with single parent studies? Too many variables.

If you really want to arrive at concrete conclusions on the differences between single and married families, you need to reduce as many variables as possible– especially income since income is critical in a capitalist economy. Get the data on families with two children making $35,000 a year. What are the differences between married and unmarried households there? Get the data on families with two children making $50,000 a year. What are the differences between married and unmarried households there? Get the data on families with two children making $100,000 year a year. What are the differences between married and unmarried households there? Get the data on families with two children making $250,000 a year. What are the differences between married and unmarried households there?

My gut tells me that the more variables you remove, the more similarities there are. In other words, a house where both parents work full-time, have two children, and make $50,000 a year is probably very similar to a house where there is only one parent, that parent works full-time, has two children, and makes $50,000 a year.

People promoting “traditional values” as the solution to poverty and other problems in society have it backward. If you want to preach anything, you need to make sure you have an audience that is ready to listen. And that means having an audience that is not worried about the next meal, the next light bill, the next trip to the gas pump, or the next illness. You want to reduce the number of unwed families? Ok, no problem. Get them to a place where their life is easier so they have the time, energy, and self-esteem needed to find a good marriage partner. In other words, you don’t solve poverty with marriage. You solve single parenthood by reducing or eliminating poverty.

What do you think is a better indicator of a family experience– income or marriage status? Do you think marriage translates into more money? I can’t help but think of this other piece where a couple left their toddlers at home while they went to get married. Why? Because they are both unemployed and in Florida if you’re unmarried you need to have a child support agreement in enforcement to collect state benefits. In my mind, broke is broke– doesn’t matter if it’s two people or one. Am I missing something here?

Divorce: One Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of my official divorce. My separation actually happened way before that– in June 2009. Yes, we were separated almost two years before we officially got divorced. So by the time it was legally declared and done with it was more like a celebration and wave of relief thing than anything traumatizing.

The hard part was the separation. That initial shock to the system.

I was the one who wanted the separation and the divorce so a lot of people take the point of view that I should have been off the hook for any sort of negative reaction to it. That’s a load of bull crap. I’m sure there are lots of people who want divorces and don’t experience a confusing tornado of emotions but there are way more than do and I was one of those.

In my case, by the time I asked for the separation and divorce I was done, beyond done. And even though I knew the marriage was past the point CPR would’ve helped, it didn’t mean I wasn’t without doubt. Was I seriously doing the right thing?

The answer was always yes. But there was always so many things to question myself on. And doubt is not the same thing as regret.

I have never regretted my decision to end my marriage. I regret my decision to get married and even that one is hard to do with 100% conviction because my marriage brought along two more children. Can’t have one without the other.

The biggest difference between now and then is probably the level of anger. I just don’t have it much anymore. Yes my Ex confuses the crap out of me. And sometimes he frustrates me. But for the most part, my Ex and I don’t really talk or anything so there’ snot many triggers to get the anger going.

Yes, you read that right. We have children together and they regularly go with him, but we have a system set up where communication and interaction with each other isn’t really required. It happens, mostly via e-mail, sometimes by text, and rarely by phone as his girlfriend doesn’t allow him to talk with me. But we have a system and we have a flow and thankfully there aren’t many hiccups. We rarely mess with the schedule. Child support is handled by the government. And I pretty much take on 90% of everything related to the kids so I don’t have to count on him. There are exceptions of course, but for the most part  I just get it all done so I don’t have to deal with empty promises.

Honestly, the thing I keep thinking about today isn’t me or my former marriage or anything like that. It’s about all of you who are just starting this whole process now. Whether you’ve just thrown your husband out of your house or he’s left you for someone else. Whether you’ve left him for someone else or he’s thrown you out. Whatever your personal situation is. I’m thinking of those of you who are at the very beginning and everything is raw.

You probably feel like you’re on this psychotic roller coaster ready to just fall out at any moment. You probably have no idea how on Earth you’re going to make it through. You may feel like you may never heal from this, you may never trust again, much less love again. So many things hurt. So many things confuse. So many things doubt.

The questions are in the millions and the answers are in the single digits.

All I can tell you is I was there too not so long ago and I’m here now and I’m not perfect now and there are still more questions than answers but the questions are different now. The feelings are different now. I’m happier now. I’m calmer now. I’ve learned so much. So. Freaking. Much.

It’s almost been three years since I separated from my Ex. And you know what? Everything is better.

My job is better. My financial situation is better. My love life is better. My relationship with my children is better. My future is better.

I remember that vividly– the fact I couldn’t envision a better future when I was in my marriage or even when I was fresh out of it. But I was freaking determined to make it better even if that meant some major hard work.

So I guess what I want to say is please do not give up, cave in, or fall apart. Ok yes you can have meltdowns and breakdowns and tantrums. But do not let yourself fall past recovery. Do not dismiss your own power, your own strength, your own intelligence, your own creativity, your own bravery. Maybe you’re in the most brutal of situations and people are belittling you left and right. Please understand other people’s anger towards you has absolutely nothing to do with you. You are not responsible for their anger, their hate, their confusion. That’s all their stuff. They choose you to throw it at because you’re vulnerable and they know it. You scare them because here you are on your own and you are alive.

People are scared of women on their own. People are scared of you. And the better you get at being by yourself, the more people are going to be scared of you and resent you and hate you and call you all kinds of really ugly stuff. Let them work through their own demons– you have enough work cut out for yourself and your children.

So there you go. That’s my anniversary wish if you will. I’m thinking of all of you who are starting to navigate this difficult road. You aren’t alone. I wish you all the patience and the strength and the endurance and the courage I can possibly muster and then some.  I can do it. You can do it. We can do it.

The Forbidden Wedding

I got married in 2004. It was in a big, old Catholic church. I had my traditional wedding gown. There was a reception at a hotel. Cake. Dancing. Tossed bouquets. Traditional photos.

It wasn’t my dream wedding but, that had way more to do than my ideas of marriage, religion, and expectations than any fault of anyone else.

I guess one thing some people think as a perk for divorce is that you can get a do-over on your wedding one day.

This is a strange concept for me because I never really wanted a wedding to start with. But, I’ve also noticed the universe has a twisted sense of logic and “Never say never” is generally a good piece of advice.

As a matter of fact, it has been my personal experience the more one fleshes out certain concepts, the less likely it is they’ll happen.

So, here is my dream wedding that will most likely never ever happen for a myriad of reasons. This crazy post was inspired by KC at Momma and the Misters’ post.  She obviously designed her dream wedding for all of the right reasons. I’m designing my forbidden wedding for all of the wrong ones. Either way, it’s fun to look at.

Let’s start with the ring.

Look, I’m not much of a bling bling kind of girl. I prefer really funky pieces. Don’t bother with an engagement ring either. I’d rather have an engagement letter, poem, or mixtape. But I’m all for exchanging rings during vows.

Get me something simple, funky, or elegant. I don’t care. I just want it to be meaningful to you. I want it to symbolize something special about you and me and I want you to figure it all out by yourself. Also, I’m a romantic and like words. Bonus points if you engrave something beautiful.

That being said, it should be obvious this ring would be a no-no (for a wedding ring, otherwise it’s awesome).

We’d get married on the beach and let me explain why this is important to me. I feel calm, serenity, and bliss when I’m on the beach. These are three things I want to associate with my marriage to you. In a church I feel frustration, boredom, and as if I’m being lied to. These are three things I do NOT want to associate with our wonderful nonexistent marriage.

I’d walk down the sand aisle in a great dress. It will most definitely not be white. Or ivory. Or off-white. Or cream. Or even beige. I’m not pure, not virginal, and I’m not trying to pretend I’ve never done this before. As a matter of fact, I’d want it to be a glaring obvious fact that I have done this before and am nuts enough to do it again under an entirely different set of circumstances. If I knew you loved seeing me in a particular color, it’d probably be that. If you thought I looked gorgeous in anything (and nothing) it could be anything.

After the ceremony, I’d ask our small group of loved family and cherished friends to go home, get comfortable, and meet us for dinner at somewhere around 8. It’d be at “our” restaurant, of course, and we’d pick up the tab because we’d be so happy to share this big step together. Of course, there’s no telling what “our” restaurant may be but I’d have no objections celebrating somewhere cheap and delicious.

When it’s time to set off on our honeymoon, I definitely have a destination in mind– somewhere with a good balance of adventure and relaxation. Bonus points if neither of us have ever been.

What about you? KC and I want to know about your wedding that hasn’t happened yet (first, second, forbidden, or otherwise). Tell us about it or write your own post and share. We hopeless romantics love the mushy stuff even if it’s not really intended for us.