By Nancy Hetrick

When my divorce descended on me unexpectedly after my 18-year relationship, I really thought that only devastation would be left in its wake. Much to my surprise, there were actually some unexpected benefits!
I had been a full-time working mother for 18 years. I had never experienced a night with no responsibilities, no obligations, no demands. 18 years! I remember that the first week my children were at their father’s new residence for his parenting time, I was at a total loss for what to do with myself. Time for me? What? I don’t even know what the options are. Hm. Gosh, I guess I’m going to have to give this a little thought.
The next week, I planned a spa night. Deep bubble bath with candles, lavender oil, music. I also drove to the video store and rented the newest chick-flick that my husband would never have watched with me. For you youngsters, yes we used to had to actually go to the video store to do that. The evening was magical. I had not pampered myself in 18 years. Now that was certainly partially my own fault, but I know lots and lots of working moms that would tell you the same thing.
The following week, I signed up for a class at the local community college for beginning watercolor painting. I was like a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve! “I get to do something just for my pure enjoyment? Really? Wow! This is amazing!”
The following week I spent an entire evening with my girlfriends and didn’t even have to explain myself to anyone. Ahhhhhhhhh. They took me out to a nightclub to celebrate my birthday. We went to some trendy nightclub with really loud music and women that were dancing in cages! I thought, “Wow, I am really, really old.” I felt like a total fish out of water and was struggling to not crawl out of my skin when a magical thing happened. The girls had already bought me a couple of drinks and as we laughed and joked on the patio, my friends broke into a raucous rendition of the happy birthday song and this tall, ruggedly handsome, buff dude who was actually a fire fighter says, “It’s your birthday?” And my girlfriend says, “YES! And she needs a birthday kiss!” Gulp. Uhhhhh, wait a minute. My lips have been touched by one man and three sloppy baby mouths in the last 18 years I don’t know if I……WHAM! He plants one on me. And I mean a long, deep, let-me-make-your-night kiss. Holy sh&*! I felt like I was 18 again. I felt that ridiculous tummy turning excitement, blood rushing to my face and thought I was going to pass out!
I also felt a little sad. I knew at that moment, that my lifetime with my ex was over and a new adventure was upon me. Definitely bitter-sweet. But then I looked at that rugged, tan, younger-than-me fireman and I thought, BRING IT ON!!!

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