There was never a single most important day of my life – in fact there are a parade of those days that stick out in my mind; the ones filled with grand celebrations, candles on cakes, smiling relatives, photos, awards, bands of gold. And there are also the days where I can remember something as simple as slicing an avocado for our dinner and being so steeped in the experience that I transcended the act and entered into an act of divine love.
But there are three days – moments really – that stand out from the rest as the most defining days of my life thus far.
The day I knew I wanted to marry my husband
We were terribly in love in the best sort of way. Our relationship started as a best friendship and grew into a passionate romance complete with the tenderness of total intimacy and vulnerability with another person. Not too long into that relationship, I knew that I wanted to marry him. It was more than just a lusty head over heels wanting, it was a solid calm knowing that resonated somewhere in between my belly button and my spine. I looked at him and he looked at me – and it was just there, in the space between us – this recognition that we would keep looking across the table at each other for ever.
It was quite amazing really, there were no fireworks, not passionate kisses, no professions or promises, just this unspoken knowing between the two of us.
The day I knew I had to leave my husband
The second time that knowing came along it was a little more one-sided. It was the day I knew, after 12 years of relationship, that it had to end. By then there were two little boys swirling around our feet and a big mortgage and a yard under construction and two budding careers and two very wounded souls looking across the room at each other. We had given up that intimate space for a more well defensible space across the house from each other. And there was this deep pain and emptiness that came with the realization that our life wasn’t working and that everything that once brought comfort now caused strife. And the knowing was just as solid, but it was a knowing that my life was about to transform into something unrecognizable.
The day I knew I was going to be OK
Many days after those initial moments, I am now struck with the memory of this “most important day.” It was the day that even in the midst of turmoil and bills, and fatigue, and children who are confused about why this is all happening, and my own fear of what would happen to all of us – suddenly it all stopped – or at least I chose to calmly leave my seat on the carousel and watch it from the side. In that moment, I knew that I would always be okay. That no matter what happened to me, or my children, or my ex-husband, that we would all indeed be just fine.
This realization has armed me with a calm silence that I have carried into every day since then and I smile when it rings out inside of me – a sweet soft song that buffers me against the daily disappointments, stresses, expectations and it even surfaces in those grand days like a best friend who has been with me through thick and thin and is so proud of what I have become.