Happily Divorced – The Real Modern Family

When I typed this title into my book outline, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to specifically write here and even as the words hit the page, I’m not sure where they will take me.  So let me start with this as I think it demonstrates the point…

When Bob’s wife planned his 50th birthday party, she of course included me and Brian in the celebration.  I contemplated whether or not to go for about a half second as I considered seeing all the old softball friends and their wives whom I really hadn’t encountered much in the preceding 17 years.  But just as I’ve always done, I considered the fact that what they thought wasn’t as important as the fact that Brandi wanted us to be there.  Plus, I relished another opportunity to spend time with my son and my beloved ex-in-laws.  So I easily put my brief hesitation aside.

When I arrived at the party, it must have taken me twenty minutes to make it through the venue out to the back patio where the celebration was actually being held as I was greeted by countless members of Bob’s family and friend group who made me feel right at home with all of them.  Honestly, it was so genuine and well beyond an obligatory “hello” or “how have you been?”, but rather, real interest in talking with me and knowing how my life as going.  I hope I returned the feelings of acceptance and interest in them that they afforded me.  It was so comforting to feel so loved by those who for so long I felt I had fallen out of grace with when I left Bob.  See it is one thing to celebrate your child together and for everyone to focus on that.  But when the “ex” shows up at the former spouse’s birthday party, it is because they want to be there, not because it is expected due to parental responsibility.  And it’s true.  I really did want to be there and I really did enjoy it.

As I made my way to the patio, I came upon a poster board full of photos throughout Bob’s life that Brand had created.  Ahead of the event, she had asked me for some snapshots that pre-dated her and I had a supplied her with a stack.  I wasn’t sure how she would feel about including them.  So I told her use what she felt comfortable with and left it at that.  I included pictures that Bob’s mom had given me of Bob when he was in high school and pictures of him with Ian when he was a baby, toddler, and preschooler – all which predated Brandi.  I also chose to include one other picture that probably was the most controversial choice if you were an outsider to our special relationship.  It was a picture of Bob and me together after a softball game when I was about seven months pregnant.  We both looked so happy and young and Bob had his hand on my pregnant belly.  I really didn’t know if Brandi would be willing to put this one in the collection she created for public viewing.

As I scanned the board, I didn’t really look specifically for this picture because I had convinced myself to have no expectation and to harbor no judgment either way she went with that.  But then my eyes locked on it and I was filled with joy when I saw that this particular image made the board.  See, not only did it represent the happiest time of our marriage and of course the impending birth of our only son, who is amazing, but it also was us in the element in which we had enjoyed so much fun with friends celebrating softball wins at the local pub after the game.  I had lost all those friends in the divorce if you will and many of them were there that night.  Having that picture on the board made me somehow feel even more like a part of the celebration – a key orchestrator in the creation of our family 2.0 and a genuine friend… still!  I probably spent more time talking with Bob’s friends that night than I had even when we were all hanging out at the pub after all those games.  I was no longer a person separate from the group who was just tagging along.  I was a member of the group… for that night at least.modern-family-3

As the party progressed, Bob asked that someone “take a picture of his modern family” and grabbed both Brandi and I to pose with him.  It was a really cool feeling and a proud moment for both of us.  I just love my real modern family!

 

Please Judge My Book by Its Cover

I am about to embark on the process of self-publishing my book Happily Divorced.  All along as I’ve been writing and self-editing my book, I’ve tried to apply one of the many valuable lessons I took from my time as a “student” of Wayne Dyer.  That is the notion that we must act as if.  We must visualize what it is we want to manifest in our lives.  Then we must live as if we already have it.  And in doing so, we will see it when we believe it.

In keeping with that thinking, one of the first things I did earlier this year as I started on the path of building an audience and preparing my writing to be submitted as a book proposal, was to print out the entire manuscript and place it in one of those 3-clip folders.  You know… the ones that cost about fifty cents and allow for the pages to be awkwardly turned?  The idea of this exercise being that it resembled a finished book.  It became real to me in the most literal sense at that moment.  No longer was writing a book just a theory.  It was a real thing sitting on the table right there in front of me.  I was no longer just thinking about writing a book or becoming an author.  I was one.  I am one.  And even if the book never gets published or if I have to publish it myself, no one can ever tell me I did not write a book because I have the physical proof that says otherwise.

Of course, no book is complete without a cover.  So about a year ago I did a very rudimentary sketch of what I envisioned for my cover.  Now, I may be a creative sort.  I write of course.  And I had my moment as a local musician fronting an incredibly talented group of musicians in a cover band. I even dabbled with some song writing back in the day.  But an artist in the sense of one who draws, paints, or sculpts, I am not!  Having said that, the image that came to me that day really felt authentic and perfect in its imperfection.  Given the fact I grew up in my mom’s bridal shop, it quite frankly seemed to fit like a glove – or should I say dress?  And with my rough sketch as complete as I was ever going to make it, I placed it at the front of my three-tab folder to give my book a cover.

Now that I will soon be getting a professional cover designed for my book, I asked my stepdaughter to upgrade my sketch to something that resembled the work of an adult.  You can see the product of her efforts above.  In keeping with the sentiment behind this book, it’s nice to have another member of my post-divorce blended family contribute to the effort.  I’d love to hear what you think of it.  Of course, I’ll hire a professional book cover artist to fine tune this image for the final product and make sure it hits the mark in terms of not looking weird or out of place within my chosen genre.  If there are any book designers out there that have an opinion, I’d love to hear that too.

So, will you indulge me and share your reaction to this image as the cover for Happily Divorced? I’d be very grateful for your feedback whether it is good or bad.

Thanks for your time and consideration!

Teresa