Today another of Esther Perel’s phrases sprang to mind as the ‘Big Pack’ started in earnest: The first sweep of the house to throw out collected items over the years that are not coming with us to our new start.
She makes the point most people in the West will marry or have serious relationships with at least 2 or 3 people. For relationships where an affair has caused the relationship to break down, she says to the couples she works with ‘Some of us are going to do it with the same person. Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?’
Very early on that question helped me (and us) move on to answer ‘yes’; If I could forget everything that upset me about my first marriage, including the behavior of the man in it, I could. So everything to do with that first wedding went in the bin or was smashed in a fit of early anger. And pretty much everything to do with the marriage, with the exception of the children, extended families and trusted friends, is being left behind, sold off or thrown away.
Today I found a little book that the 3 girls in my uni house kept to record our ‘snogs’… a little bit like a little black book. All our secrets. And in it was the date of our first kiss, our first night together back in early 1997. We are very different people, 20 years on to the 2 people who are deciding to create a second relationship, a second marriage together. And as with any second marriages, there isn’t really room for much of the first for the second to be a success, except the lessons, the learnings and the wisdom of experience.
So why, over our delicious family Easter roast, when my Mother-in-Law asked me what I wanted to do with my wedding dress that was with hers and my sister-in-law’s did I hesitate? My beautiful dress that I designed myself, walked up and down Berwick Street for original and handmade lace and silks and spent hours with my dressmaker to make sure it was just how I had imagined.
I can’t quite bring myself to skip it, bin it, burn it, rip it or tear it… and in that moment, she knew. ‘How about I keep it for one of your nieces? Just in case they want it. Lovely Yorkshire puddings, Ali! Where did you get your beef?’.
I hope one day, I will be a Mother in Law just as wonderful as she is.