Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Issue 7 of Holl & Lane. To read the whole issue, pick up a digital copy in our shop.
When you get married you expect it to last forever. You make a commitment to share life with someone and start a family and dream about the life you’ll lead together as you grow old alongside one another. Never do you expect that person to come to you one day out of the blue and say they no longer wanted the life that you’ve created together. That is exactly what happened to me.
To say it came as a shock is an understatement, but as the months have passed since that moment I am left with a lot of clarity and strength as a woman and as a mother, and I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. Throughout this experience, I’ve come to find joy in a circumstance that to most, and even to myself at one point, seemed really unfortunate or unfathomable. Over the course of time I have come to be very thankful for the growth it’s caused within me and I’ve become so excited for all the future holds for me and my boys.
When I first met and married my ex-husband, I thought that I had found someone who would keep my heart safe and who would care for me forever. Over the years following when we first got married, I sacrificed a lot of those hopes as he slowly stopped pursuing me and treating me like he had before, which I chalked up to growing comfortable and a little stagnant within our marriage and the routine we had fallen into. Eventually I gave up on any hope of that happening anymore and we grew apart. But I still never thought or expected that would lead to divorce, which was something I never wanted for myself. I held onto hope that he would come around again, would snap out of it, and agree to counseling and miss what we had had before. But instead what he chose was to walk away.
When he left us, everything I knew as normal in my world completely unraveled. I was a stay at home mother to my twin boys, Liam and Noah, who were 15 months old at the time and was suddenly placed into a situation where I had no income or anywhere to live. I am so thankful to have parents who were so willing to help us in our time of need, and took us in to live with them. So just like that, six days after he decided he had had enough, we were packed in a car and moving halfway across the country to live in the town I grew up in on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
There was a lot to get used to in that time, and things went from pleasant to ugly and back again as the adjustments were made. My main focus was protecting my boys and ensuring that their life remained as normal as possible amidst the chaos that we had been swept up into. I am so proud to say that they adjusted so well, and really began to thrive within their new home, and that was the starting point of me really opening my eyes to the situation we had been in during my marriage and the toxic environment I had them living in for the first year and a half of their life. I had begun to realize that the home life we’d been living had turned into one of resentment and lacked in love, and that is something that I never wanted my children to grow up in when I dreamt of being a mama someday. It blew my mind that I was so caught up in caring for my little boys that I never saw what had been in front of me all along, though they themselves had seen it.
When we finally got out of that situation, I began to blossom, which encouraged the boys to bloom as well. They started to open up more, play more, talk more and love more, because I’ve been able to show them how to do those things with abandon. That was the beginning of me finding joy in a seemingly unfortunate circumstance.
The decision to move back in with my parents was both tough but necessary. Since I had been a stay at home mom, all of my income was dependent upon my husband as I looked after the boys and kept up with the house. Suddenly that was all gone, and I found myself in a very needy situation that I was not comfortable being in at 26 years old and as someone who had been doing life on her own for years. But being back home with my parents has been the biggest blessing and it’s made me grow a lot as a person the last few months. I am thankful for the boys to have gotten to spend every day with their grandparents and getting to know them. I am thankful for the built-in babysitters I have right here at home for when I need to catch a break, which is such a blessing as a single parent. I am thankful for the roof they have placed over our heads and how much they’ve helped me pick up all of the pieces. I will be forever grateful for them and I hope one day I can repay them for all that they’ve done.
Since becoming a single mother, my eyes have been opened to just how common my situation is, in a world full of hopeful couples coming together in marriage and having children. Needless to say, I don’t understand why it’s so easy for people to give up on these things and to just walk out on their families without even trying to make it work. But this situation has made me a stronger person and I love that I can walk with these other women as they become stronger as well. I’ve been able to help countless ladies already through my social media outlets, just by sharing my story and sharing my growth, which has been an amazing experience and I look forward to being able to share our journey coming full circle, and finding someone who will love the three of us unconditionally and get the family that I’ve always wanted with someone who will cherish me and my boys.
I hope someday to be able to find love again. A love that will be everlasting and never cease to amaze me, a love that is straight out of the fairy tale books. I won’t let what happened to me get in the way of those hopes and those dreams. I know that type of love exists out there. I have to believe that for myself and for my boys. I know I am a better woman for what has happened, and will be able to carry that into my next relationship. I’d love to experience pregnancy again someday and have a houseful of laughter, bare feet padding through the halls and countless adventures. These are the things I cling onto for hope when I have the days where my world feels so dark and far from ever getting better. And I know that it’s out there, it's just a matter of finding it when the time is right. Until that day, I will continue to grow as a person and raise my boys up on my own to be gentlemen - men who will cherish what is right in front of them and never let go.
The divorce is definitely the hardest and most trying thing I have been through to date, but I know there are better things out there for us in the future and everything happens for a reason. That thought is what is keeping me going in all of this, aside from the need to be strong for my little Liam and Noah. Things are far from being over for us right now, but I have faith that things will also continue to get easier.
Our situation has been a little different than most, since I haven’t had to experience joint custody or sending my children off to spend time with him quite yet, which is something I am dreading if the court decides to rule that way, since I never wanted to be apart from my children. But I know if it comes to that, we will find a way to get through those times. I know there is hope for us yet, no matter what that will look like, for the three of us to get the happy ending we deserve. For now, we will continue following the course life has put us on, my little boys and I, and continue to grow into the people we are intended to be as the three of us, while we hope for the greatness that is in our future.
Kelly has remarried and is currently living in northern Texas with her husband, Andrew, and their four boys. They spend their days going on adventures, having impromptu dance parties in the living room, and snuggling up together as they make memories as a little "blended" family of six. Life is nowhere near perfect, but honestly, it's pretty darn good.