My Special Gift

It was love at first sight! I knew it immediately when Mac first said hello to me in that mall store, his compelling brown eyes searing a hole right into my heart. In town, visiting family, he was just killing time. Typically, he wasn't the “shopping kind” but, that evening, he was doing a whole lot of shopping! Mac asked me out for drinks. I took him to my favorite hangout where we ate, danced and talked the night away. It was late and having ridden with me, I offered my couch and he accepted. Before turning in, we shared a very passionate kiss. We both ached for more but, with my daughter in the other room, he respectfully slept on the couch. Sleep was elusive as I lay there remembering the evening….and that kiss! I had learned so much about this man in just a few short hours and my head was spinning with the anticipation of learning everything about him that I could. The following morning, I awoke to a fully prepared breakfast, a pleasure that occurred regularly during our time together. We spoke for hours over that following week. I invited him for the weekend, which he readily agreed to, both of us giddy with anticipation. Hanging up, I told my sister, “Mac's coming this weekend and he's going to ask me to marry him.” He hadn't said so, but I just knew in my soul and with every fiber of my being that it was going to happen. Naturally, she thought we were both crazy. And, we were, of course - out of our minds and head over heels in love. This was the beginning of numerous occasions where we inexplicably knew what the other was thinking or going to say next. We couldn't keep secrets from each other - the knowing was so strong. It was the most incredible feeling that engulfed my heart, soul and entire being. Nothing that I had experienced before could compare to this. That weekend was bliss. With my daughter gone, Mac arrived bearing flowers, chocolates and a couple bottles of wine. We grilled out and ate by candlelight. The conversation was engaging, rhythmic and comfortable, like we'd known each other forever. The evening culminated into the most awesome romantic encounter imaginable. He proposed and I accepted. Mac and I were married just six short months later. He transferred jobs and moved in with me. Eventually, his two sons came to live with us. Our blended family had its ups and downs but we managed to achieve a comfortable, happy family lifestyle. Mac was always a perfect gentleman, holding doors open, pulling out chairs. The daily attention he doted on me, the kisses, stroking my hair, soft touches when he was near - all were exhilarating. I felt like a goddess on a pedestal and we devoted ourselves completely to each other's happiness. But life was not as it seemed outside my shrouded veil of bliss. Besides love, a marriage is about give and take, balance and most importantly, trust. Naturally, in every relationship, there are going to be rough patches. And during these rough patches, Mac would conveniently have to work late or stay away – needing time for himself. The obvious signs were there but I loved him so much that I chose not to believe. I became blinded by my own fear and continued to ignore what was blatantly obvious. Mac was having an affair. Still, I chose to look the other way. If I didn't acknowledge what was going on, then maybe, somehow, it didn't exist in reality. But when I caught them in a compromising position, the devastation crumbled my world and led to my divorce. I had been so desperate for happiness, for my happily ever after that I failed to acknowledge my inner sixth sense, that gut feeling that tells you that something is seriously wrong. I felt like a failure for not heeding my own instincts. Fearfully, I built a protective wall to never again experience that horrible pain. Mac became the ruler by which I measured other men. He lingered in my head, making me judge all others. For years, I allowed Mac's mistake to consume and compromise my life. I eventually sought help through individual counseling and with groups of others who shared similar insecurities as myself. I learned about the true meaning of forgiveness and letting go. I had to forgive myself first before I could forgive him. It didn't seem right but once the realization set in, I saw the truth in it. Forgiving myself was easy but I struggled with forgiving Mac. Visions of the past keep surging to the forefront of my mind. I soon realized that I was unable to control the past events that had happened to me, but I was in the position to control of how they affected my future. With renewed strength and courage, I forgave Mac. I've come a long way since then - a couple of relationships and a second marriage. You'd think I'd get the hang of it by now, right? But, it's all good, a learning process if you will. My marriage to Joe is built on trust and has survived the years but, more importantly – it has survived Mac. Forgiveness was the best gift that I have given to myself.

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