Step Two

steptwo

The kids relaxing between stops.

Everything at our house is as settled as it can be and everyone is ready to escape away on vacation. We are scheduled to leave for Atlanta in two days and it is arranged that my sister and one of my brothers will make periodic visits to the house. Knowing they would do that gave me a peace of mind.

 

Excitement was pulsing through the children when we got on the plane and by the time we got off it was like they were about to burst. Our first stop was at Mr. Divine’s house and when we drove up his driveway my breath was taken away. The house was a huge ranch style property with oversized windows and a wrap around porch. I loved it at first sight and when we opened the doors and went inside we greeted by wide open, uncluttered room with amazing furniture and fixtures.

Exhausted we were pleasantly surprised to find a fuller stocked fridge and better yet a warm meal in the oven waiting for us. Mr. Divine explained that he had a housekeeper that came twice a week when he was out of the country and every other day when he was home. He had called ahead and she had made sure that everything would be ready and waiting for us. We crashed that night, and when we work up in the morning and headed to the kitchen we were meet by the smells of breakfast being cooked. There we met Nina, a pleasant older woman who worked for Mr. Divine for the past ten years looking after him and his house.

“So you are the woman who stole my boss’s heart. You take care of him now,” she warned before turning back to the bacon she was frying in the pan.

I smiled and I knew she could see it in the flawless shine of the backsplash behind the stainless steel stovetop.

“Yes Nina,” I said sincerely. “I would be stupid not take care of the good man I’ve been gifted with. He is a rare and priceless treasure.”

She watched my reflection for several moments before she went back to her cooking and I got the plates and started setting the table for breakfast.

After breakfast, the exploration began. We spent several days in Atlanta and the nearby environs exploring and seeing what was available. From there we started out our road trip, making a roundabout way to Florida. There we visited the Theme Parks, the Everglades and even took the chance to go to The Keys. It was amazing and we loved every minute of the driving, discovering and exploring.

While in Florida we also stopped at three of the universities that offered swim scholarships and visited their campsite and found out as much as we could about their programs. The kids were as excited as when they went to see the universities in Atlanta. From there we drove from Florida to New York stopping to visit the sites and the NCAA1 rated universities along the way.

When we got to New York we paused and some sightseeing. After all, we were in New York City and there was a lot to see. We visited every site we could, then go the train up to Washington D. C. From there it was more exploring and taking in the sights.

This was the most intense and amazing trip I’ve ever been on and we kept going until we finished off in Toronto, Canada. As we relaxed and had lunch one afternoon, we talked to the kids to see what they enjoyed most about the trip and the places we visited.

“Do we have to decide?” was the question we got in reply.

From that, all we could conclude was that we had given the kids the travel bug and they had it bad.

“That was the most amazing trip I’ve been on,” insisted Kyle and Shane nodded in agreement.

“Can we do something like that again but maybe in Europe?”

Mr. Divine and I laughed. We’ll see what can happen”

When we boarded the plane on the way back to Atlanta we were chatting and planning for what next. Where to take a trip to and what colleges were worth a more intense look at. We loved every minute of that trip and I couldn’t wait to do another one.

The Spoke for my Wheel

 

spoke-in-my-wheel

We wanted to go on vacation as a family.

So I go the jitters. The pre-wedding freak out because I’m asking myself if I’m doing the right thing. I know what I endured during my last marriage and this is what tries to take over my mind and often makes me so afraid to take this important step in my life. Again the fear is trying to stalk me but I know I don’t want to live in that place for the rest of my life.

How did I end up feeling like this? It came about as a result of the complications that came into play due to my evil, spawn of the devil, ex, called Walter. Everything was planned for the wedding and I had even gotten my dress after much deliberation What happened while I got the dress is another story for you to look forward to but for now let me tell you what the idiot did.

The plan for the kids and I was to do some traveling with Mr. Divine and to visit his home to get the…feel for what the area is like. The aim to figure out if it was a place we would consider moving me. The complication, I needed Walter’s permission to take the children out of the country and we were not on speaking terms due to how he behaved when he heard I was getting married. Add to it that, Mr. Divine had insisted on sending Walter a letter from my lawyer to cease and desist his harassment I don’t know how I was going to get his permission to take the children with me.
The whole thing has me worried because there was no way I was leaving my children with that man knowing that he and they were not on the best terms. I had to figure out what to do.

When I contacted my lawyer about the situation, after speaking at length we decided it was best to speak to the judge. Several months back the kids came to the decision they wanted nothing to do with their father and I mean nothing. It all came to a head in the office in the office of the school counselor in front of the principal of both children’s schools. The incident then went to a judge who wanted to insist that the children had to have visitation with their father. The adults said what they had to say then the judge said he was going to make his ruling. That was when my daughter stood up and asked about what she had to say.

“You want to send us to stay with that man.”

“Young lady you are in contempt, you need to be quiet. The adults make the decisions.”

“Yes while the children have to suffer the pain of your bad decisions. I dare you. Send me to that man and in less than a day he will be begging you to change the ruling. I will torment him worst than he tormented us. I promise I will.”

Kylie shot her father a nasty look then looked to the judge.

“I. Dare. You.”

The courtroom was dead silent that day and the judge saw that my daughter was not joking and made the decision not to make visitation necessary. Now I had to go to the same judge about the trip. There was no way we were going to tell this man we were thinking about a permanent move. We would deal with that bridge if we were ever going in that direction, till then it’s about the trip.

When we went to the judge he sighed when he saw us. My daughter also insisted on coming. She wanted to hear every decision that would affect her.

I can hear a lot of other adults saying, “that child needs to know his place’, but think about it. How many times have adults made decisions they don’t talk to children about and it destroys the child’s life? At sixteen, Kylie had the right to know what is happening to her. Unlike a lot of people, I talk to my children. Their opinions actually count.

This time the judge insisted on an aside and spoke to Kylie. They spoke back and forth for more than thirty minutes then the judge came back to the rest of us. He got the paperwork from the lawyer and looked it over.

“Mr. Haynes your children have planned a vacation with their mother and her new husband and I’m granting them permission to go on the trip.”

“Why is it she always getting what she wants and I always get punished?”

The judge turned to Walter. “This is about your children’s lives not winning. I was willing to give you a chance but from what your daughter says you have made no effort.”

“Her mother made her…”

“Your daughter is not stupid and can think for herself and I frankly think that if you were a good father it wouldn’t matter what her mother said about you if you were a good father. You are not the father these children need so until you start exhibiting that you are, it is best that the children stay with their children mother and her new husband.”

The reprimand had Walter fuming but the judge’s word was final. We would be going on vacation and maybe more. In the end, the decision that was made ended up being the best interest of the children, the persons who mattered most in this whole situation.

Plans

plans

Maybe I’ll get something like this for my bouquet.

The thought of dealing with the planning of a wedding makes me cringe and I think Mr. Divine picked that up when after he asked me one day I put my head under a pillow and screamed in frustration. With a laugh, he pulled me out of hiding and into his arms and asked me what was the problem. I explained that I was over the making called and all things the needed to be done to get things arranged.

That was when that precious man suggested the most amazing thing. We would choose a hotel and let their wedding planner do everything else. All we need to do was choose a hotel, a date for the wedding, colours and flower types. The numbers of my guest also my attendants then that was it other than clothing. I looked at him wide-eyed.

“So when do you want to get married?” he whispered against my lips. “Morning, afternoon or evening.” Each question came with a kiss and over the next two hours we had everything planned. All we needed was dresses, tuxes and to choose a hotel.

We ended up picking the hotel where we met as the location where to hold the wedding. My sister, Florence that saved me from my downwards spiral and my daughter would be my attendants, but we were yet to decide who would give me away. We decided on thirty guests made up of immediate family and extra close friends who would be at the wedding and join us for a quiet. This would happen after an evening ceremony on the beach.

For flowers, I decided to go for tropical colours and flowers done in a simple hand-tie bouquet with orchids, torch gingers, shampoo gingers and other strong tropical flowers. Buttonholes and anything else could be done in orchids. With all the things I considered different sorted out, all I had to do was back in being in love. Then there was to find my dress and everything was sorted.

So location, check. Food and guests, check. Now it’s to get the little matter of getting the dresses and I will be getting married. I have sorted what I was sure is the hard part, but I think things will get more interesting before I get to walk down the aisle.

The Quarrel

the-quarrel

He pulled me into his arms and held me while we sat in silence.

Mr. Divine is livid. Like caveman, she’s mine, beat his chest, toss me over his shoulder and lock me in for his pleasure, kind of livid. It had me shivering with pleasure at the thought that I was so important to someone. What has caused this or more like whom? No one else but my stupid ex, Walter.

It all started when Walter called the office and started to berate me because he heard I’m wearing a huge engagement ring. His motor-mouth woman who works in my office spotted my rock and passed on the message. I know the expletive wanted to cause trouble when she transferred a call from him to my phone, but I send it right back to her. I had quite the laugh listening to them but my ultimate fear was becoming real. My ex was far from happy I was moving on.

The gall. I know. After all, he left me and took up with a woman, so why was he angry I had become involved with someone? Sadly it was the way he was. His joy stemmed from making others feeling inferior and he had been doing it to me for years. Now he is angry I was taking a step further out of his clutches.

Now to my caveman, Mr. Divine. We have made the decision to get married and we were still trying to decide if we were going to live locally or transfer to his home overseas. The kids were of the opinion that we should take the time to test out both locations to see which one will be the best for everyone. The kids are of the opinion that it didn’t matter where their friends were, they could still keep in touch.

Now to the matter of their father…yes I have been avoiding telling you what happened but you now what. I might as well get it over with. When Mr. Divine found out about the Walter incident, yes he was livid but to my shock, he didn’t have a snap reaction. When we were finally together he pulled me into his arms and held me while we sat in silence.
It felt like we were there for about an hour but it hadn’t been that long. Tipping my chin up, Mr. Divine made me look into his eyes.

“As much as I would like to kick that bastard’s ass from here into eternity, we have to deal with Walter on a legal level and make sure nothing like this every happens again. He knows he isn’t allowed to contact you like that so we will remind him. But know this, if he comes near you I will take him down with extreme prejudice.”

My eyes widened at how calmly he stated his intent.

“Also I want you and the kids to learn self-defense in case of an incident where you need to protect yourself. I would devastate me if something happened to you and it was as a result of you not being able to protect yourselves.”

Something swelled in me when I heard Mr. Divine’s words and I gave them some serious thought. He didn’t just want to be the big guy protecting his woman and children, he wanted us strong and able if we ever ran into trouble as well. That very second I knew I was linking myself with a strong man with a good heart, and together with the children we would grow from strength to strength.

The Reaction

When a Man wants More 1

The ring is now finally staying on my finger.

So I have officially said ‘Yes’ to Mr. Divine and we are in continued discussion about what I will…make that ‘we’ will do next. With the kids in mind, we have decided it would be best to get married during July then take the rest of the summer to relax and settle down as a family. The thing is there is still Walter in the background who might want to cause us problems. We are keeping it in mind that if we try to move he could decide to kick up a fuss and cause trouble, but after the way the judge dealt with him regarding the children, he may take that as a cue to leave well enough alone.

I have finally put on my ring, well make that Mr. Divine has made sure that it was no longer hidden away on my necklace. After we had that talk on the beach, he told me it was time to put my ring on my finger and let it stay there. When I went to work the next week I tried to act natural, but of all the people who spotted my ring first, it was Walter’s side bit now girlfriend. Her jaw dropped when she saw my ring, unable to believe I was making a commitment again. Like I said Mr. Divine had slipped on a ‘she-is-mine-so-back-off sized rock onto my finger. I looked her dead in the eyes, daring her to say anything.

Her mouth opened and closed like a fish trying to get air then she cleared her throat.

“You were asked to come to the office,” she said.

I continued to look at her and she backed away. Since I had left Walter my confidence had grown and I stood up for myself more. I had gotten past the norm I use to operate under when I was married to Walter.  No more allowing people to push me around and manipulate me. Confidence looked and felt good on me and I intended to keep it.

As the day progressed, others spotted the ring and commented about it. I smiled and said thank you but kept my business to myself. When I went to my boss earlier, he congratulated me. It seems Mr. Divine had told him about our general plan, so he wanted to remind me to keep my options opened when it came to my job. We talked back and forth for a while and when I went back to my desk I felt good about my job and what I could and couldn’t do.

No sooner than I sat down to my desk, my phone started to ring. It was an internal transfer so I picked up expecting a business call or a colleague after I gave my greeting. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was Walter.

“You could hardly wait to divorce me but now you’ve got a big ring on your finger. Do you really think he wants you? You’re nothing but a cold, sexless prude.

Taking a deep breath I gave him the answer he needed.

“I’m sorry sir but you have the wrong number.” I transferred him to his woman’s extension and waited for the blowup. Two seconds laterI heard it.

“Who the hell do you think you’re talking to?” she yelled into the phone.

I nearly  fell out of my chair trying not to laugh. I took up my phone and called Mr. Divine and in a whispered conversation told him what had happened. I could hear that he was fuming but I calmed him. When I saw him we would talk and see what we would do next but for now back to work. I would deal with Walter later.

I said ‘Yes’

I said 'Yes'

“Yes.” The word of acceptance, the giving of consent, the acknowledgement that you have agreed to do something. That is what I did. I said yes and agreed to marry Mr. Divine. Yes.

I have never seen a happier man and when I whispered this words to him, he held me close and kiss me for what felt like forever. Slow, long and deep, and I don’t doubt that he was trying to fill me with his love. I took his touch and cuddled close, but what now?

Trailing my hands over his chest I asked him just that.

“We’ll talk to the kids and see what they have to say. From there we will plan and see what we do next.

I considered what he said then nodded. I had been so mentally caught up in the turmoil of his proposal I that I forgot the impact his request would have on my children. They are comfortable with and got along well with Mr. Divine but that was my…partner, boyfriend. How would they deal with him as a more permanent father figure? Yes indeed, the talk with the children would be vital.

We waited, until the weekend to have the talk with the children and we planned for it to talk took place at the one location where we all felt most comfortable…the beach. My daughter has become a more perceptive child and I knew she took note of my change in demeanor. The morning after my long talk with Mr. Divine, she gave me a long look over the breakfast table then broke into a huge smile before continuing to eat. Somehow she knew I had made a decision.

At the beach, we settled down and talked. There was a lot to discuss. When we would get married, where, but more important when that day passed where would we live as a family. The children were happy that I had said yes, but where we would live was a valid question. Major exams were approaching for both children and what they would do next would be a key element in their lives. We spent the whole day talking, throwing ideas back and forth and as the sun set we had a rough plan about what we were going to do.

The kids were past happy, ecstatic was the best way to describe them and they eagerly contributed to the plan as we went home. They wanted us to be a family. One thing Mr. Divine and I needed to discuss was what country would we live in. The bulk of his  business was overseas even though he travelled to where I lived quite a lot. Then there was the company that I had started that took tourist on hiking tours. It was going well, but if we moved what would I do? I started making a list because there was a lot to deal with and  I planned to make sure everything was discussed. If I was getting into this relationship I wanted to enter it with my eyes opened and everything on the table. We would talk and plan, then move forward because that was all we could do. Live.

The Talk

The Talk

“I love you with every breath I take and just the of being with you fills me with joy.”

After taking a few deep breaths, make that a lot of deep breaths, I have finally called Mr. Divine and told him I need to talk. Always attentive, he took note of my  tone of voice and arranged for us to have an intimate, uninterrupted dinner. He took us to one of my favourite restaurants and as we sat down to eat, I tried to let the rush of the waves sooth me. After dinner, he got the classes, took the bottle of while and lead us to a quiet spot on the beach.

We sat there in silence for several minutes while he played with the ring on my finger. It was a habit he had developed and he did it whenever we were sitting down relaxing.

“I’m frightened,” I said in a rush. Trying to pull my hand away from him, but he held on.

“No, my love.” He pulled me into his arms and cuddle me against his chest. “Talk to me. Tell me what’s on your mind.”

We stayed there and did just that. It was like a dam had been broken and I told him everything. The fact that I had been waiting for the next shoe to drop when it came to our relationship, and that I was in no way prepared for that shoe to be a marriage proposal.

“I never expected us to get so far. When I sit done in the quiet of the night, all I think is that I’m damaged. I had to be to say in the relationship I was in with Walter for so long.”

“You aren’t damaged,” growled Mr. Divine. He twined his hands in my hair and pulled me closer. “You need to wipe those insane thoughts from your mind. That man you married to was a practised liar and manipulator. To him, it was like breathing and he used his twisted talent on you every single day. You love him and were convinced he loved you, so you believed his every word. The problems in your marriage were because of him. You have survived and moved forward despite him.”

“Why do you want to marry me?”

“Why wouldn’t I want to be with you? A breathtaking, beautiful woman, who is strong and loving, with a heart that is overflowing with kindness.”

I fell into the intensity of his eyes when he tilted my head back. “I love you with every breath I take and just the idea of being with you fills me with joy. That is why I want to marry you because I love you. You Lindsay, forever you.”

I was crying and I didn’t even know I was. The sweep of this thumb over my damp cheeks, then a slow, deep kiss stripped away the last of that fear that had been trying to control me.

When Mr. Divine lifted his head, his eyes captured me and I answered him finally.

“Yes. Yes, I will marry you.”

Yes…Maybe

 

Yes...Maybe

I couldn’t just tell Mr. Divine Yes.

I’m yet to give Mr. Divine the all important answer to his question. “Lindsay, will you marry me?” Since he has asked me I think I have experienced every emotion possible while I tried to decide what my answer will be. It’s not that he isn’t an amazing man, but for months after this epic question, I have been fighting my old friend fear when it comes to making my decision.

My fear had sent me into a spiral of asking ‘what if’ and you can believe me when I say it’s the worst place to be. I’m fighting my way out of that rut because the ‘he-may-be-like-Walter’ idea that has infiltrated my mind is the path to distraction. That is why I took a much-needed break, to just stop and think. At this point in time, I need to have a firm grip on the reality and truth that I know. That is, Mr. Divine is a good and kind man to my children and me.

So what do I do…tell this amazing man? He has been unfailingly patient with me. There for me when I needed to talk, vent, to be held and comforted. The question is do I love Mr. Divine or am I just clinging to the way he makes me feel. I took a break to just relax and think but still I couldn’t just tell Mr. Divine yes. That was when I knew we needed to talk. It was the only way I could be comfortable with the decision I finally made.  Tell Mr. Divine my fears, feelings and from there we would figure it all out…together. That was the only way forward and forward was where I needed to go.

Mr. Divine vs Walter

Mr Divine vs Walter

A ‘she’s-mine-s0-back-off’ kind of ring.

As I mentioned before, but I’ll update you if you missed it. Mr. Divine slipped a ‘she’s-mine-so-back-off’ kind of ring on my finger and asked me to think about being officially his. It shocked the…it shocked me but right now I’m wearing his ring and thinking about what he asked me. My daughter spotted the rock, gave me the eyebrow raise along with a thumbs up. I know she has told her brother because they have become like two peas in a pod, but now to Mr. Divine.

An old school friend I have become reacquainted with, Mr. Divine entered my life when I most needed someone to reassure me I was no a hideous troll. After all, when your husband of more than fifteen years just gets up and leaves you, it makes you doubt everything. Sometimes the feelings of worthlessness would creep into my mind and fill me even though I had been working on myself rebuilding my confidence. Mr. Divine’s words and attentive nature helped me to further look at myself and see my true beauty.

Those doubts are drifting away. With Mr. Divine for moral support, plus the children and I all pulling together life has gotten better. I have found myself settling into a more peaceful mental place, the place I want to be…need to be. The thing is now that Mr. Divine has slipped the proposal into the mix I feel fear and uncertainty trying to creep its way back in. When I think about this proposal, I find myself just frozen with the inability figure out what say to him. Mr. Divine had a special placed in my life but the past of my marriage is still raw in my heart. I need to figure out what to say to this amazing man.

Now I have been really considering Mr. Divine’s proposal but things have taken an interesting twist with who else but Walter. It seems that his woman who works at the same company as me, spotted my new finger real estate and told Walter. The phone calls started again….heavy breathing and endless hang-up calls. Like I don’t know it’s him. Sigh.

New Year, New Plans

New Year New Plans

Aiming for goal in the new year.

It’s a new year and so much potential is right around the corner for us to experience, that the children and I have sat down and started to plan. This year is very important for both of them because they will be doing exams that will move them to another level of their lives.

Kylie has brought up the idea of aiming for a sports scholarship and has urged me to set up a meeting with her coach to see what are her options. We should have probably had this discussion when Kylie was younger, but in truth all of us were just struggling to get through everyday life despite the drama of the divorce that filled our minds. Possibilities for the future weren’t even a passing thought.

The meeting ended up being easy to arrange and we soon found out that due to the fact both Kylie and Shane had been so active on the competition arena for swimming, plus the fact they did so well, put them in the line of sight of recruiters. They had the natural talent, plus good speed but both of them would have to push training to a higher level if they wanted to get scholarships. We talked to the coach and started to plan.

I was in awe by the attitude and seriousness of the children. They took note of the training they needed to undertake, nutrition to keep healthy, plus they started to talk back and forth about school-work and how to keep on top of it all. When the meeting was over we headed home and the children kept on talking and planning and I let them. One thing I have discovered is if you fuel a person’s enthusiasm then anything is possible. I wanted that for my children, endless possibilities and determination despite difficulties.

I left the kids to plan and come up with ideas of what they wanted to accomplish and I went to do the same for myself. What was next for me? It was time for me to sit and really figure out what I wanted to do next. Then there was Mr. Divine, where we were going in our relationship? It was time to make some choices as well.

Diary of Recovering Idiot is a work of fiction being written in serial format. It tells Lindsay’s story as she grows stronger and wiser.