By Gina DeNicola
As I sat in my apartment alone the Monday morning after the wedding, I practiced “Just Being”. Rob was out of town, my parents were still at their hotel and I was 100% completely alone. I sat there on my couch, no television, no radio, nothing to distract me but my thoughts and I found myself reflecting on the wedding. Sunday night was really the first time I was alone since the wedding and it was a hard night. As soon as I kissed my parents goodbye and closed my apartment door I sat down on my bed and just cried. I’m not really sure why, except that it had to do with all the emotions that weekend brought to the surface for me.
Rob and I were in charge of the rehearsal dinner and my promise to the Bride, Groom and my daughter was that I was not going to let my feelings for my ex-husband and his family affect their special day. I assured them they would not detect one ounce of tension or awkwardness from me. I wasn’t really sure exactly HOW I was going to accomplish this daunting and what seemed like an impossible task. I found myself digging deep inside myself and reminded myself that the past was the past and I was happy with whom I am today and this was not twenty years ago. I have also recently had a theory that if you are happy with yourself and show kindness to anyone, they will react in kindness and relief. So I put the old Indian adage “walk a mile in someone’s moccasins” to work that Friday evening. I thought to myself they were probably just as apprehensive as I was, maybe more so because they don’t live around all these people. So when my ex-husband and his family walked into the restaurant, I gave them a minute to get their bearings and approached my ex-husband. I put my hand on his back and when he turned around I gave him a big hug and said, “Can you believe, sweet baby Raymond is getting married?”
It all started with that one hug, each hug was a little easier after that and my theory of showing kindness ended up being true, they all responded in genuine kindness and what seemed like, after the shock of it all, relief. Most importantly, and unknowingly to me, my daughter, her boyfriend, my son and his wife to be, were all sitting at a table with a full view of their parents being kind to each other for the first time since they were 3 and 4 years old. I found out later that the four of them were mid-conversation and just stopped talking and just stared and stared as if expecting the whole building to explode. I can’t speak for my ex-husband or his family, but it made the whole wedding so much more beautiful for me. I was able to be in the moment without having to look around every corner hoping not to have any direct eye contact with that side of the family.
I’m not sure I’ve buried the hatchet completely, but I’m learning to leave it in the past. I’m learning to acknowledge the past for what it was and moving onto the future and being in the present. The present is so much better than the past ever was and the future holds so much promise. I don’t want to be bogged down with the weight of dragging that hatchet of the past around. My theory of Kindness begets Kindness also proved to be true and I believe even more now that Kindness is King.