If I've learned one thing in my 36 years on this earth, its that life rarely goes the way we plan. 

15 years ago, on May 10th, 2002 I got married. I had just turned 21 and he had walked into my life 6 months prior. It was a beautiful wedding; full of hope, and promise. I remember feeling that day that life had not gone the way I planned. I always thought I'd marry my high school boyfriend or at least my best guy friend from high school, but that day as I said "I do" I thought this is going to be even better and perhaps it has been.

 

We have two of the most beautiful, kind, talented, smart kids I have ever met. (They are ours and I can be biased!!) I'll be the first to tell you that I don't deserve my children and that they teach me far more than I could ever teach them. We built our first home together, spent 8 years in our second home, and for many years I was overall happy. I remember breaking down in Walmart just after I had my second child and as I looked at my life I looked at my Mom and said, I have it all. I have the dream. I really did.

 

Slowly over the years the dream changed. I found myself really unhappy. Looking back, I was probably unhappy with myself the most.

 

Keep in mind, like I said, I'm a planner. I think I had my entire life planned out by the time I was about five. I've since learned that that was part of my problem. I assumed he wanted a college degree, a big fancy house, and a boat just like I did. I never asked him, I just assumed. In all of my plans to have the white picket fence, the career, the picture perfect family, I forgot to nurture my marriage, so did he. Before I knew it I didn't even know who he was anymore and I'm pretty sure he didn't recognize me.

 

We had become two very different people. We had different goals in life, wanted to live different lifestyles, and the passion had been gone for a long time.

 

I talked him into marriage counseling at one point, I always thought it was fixable, until suddenly it wasn't anymore.

 

Yesterday I received papers in the mail letting me know our divorce was final. Signed and stamped by the judge. In seemingly an instant I wasn't married anymore. My maiden name has been restored and the book was closed on all those hopes and dreams.

 

I felt like such a failure until my now ex-husband sent me this text message,

"Carly, you are an amazing person with such a great heart. All I have ever wanted is your happiness. There are many things I suck at and I'm definitely going to work hard to become a better person and father. We will always be connected and remember no matter what you are going through, that you can always reach out to me. I will always have your back and still look forward to some fun memories! Hold your head high and believe in yourself and your abilities.You didn't have a failed marriage. We have two great kids, have progressed and still have a special connection. Don't view this as failed, but something we can still work together on in raising our kids together."

 

I know divorce is often messy, filled with anger, and sadness but in the end I have learned to be grateful for what I have. I am forever grateful for the two sweet kids who call me Mom and who wouldn't be who they are without their incredible father's influence. I have more respect for my now ex-husband than I ever did when we were married. He has showed me incredible kindness in a less than ideal situation.

 

And so we press forward in this crazy thing we called life. I still have a beautiful family despite how my marriage turned out.

 

The plan and the dream has changed and I have no idea what the future holds but I  trust that it holds great things for both of us and for our two beautiful children. No, life doesn't always go the way we plan but that's part of the beauty in the journey.