I had a few boyfriends as a teenager, but never the heart-breaking young love crushes experienced by so many girls. I was too busy with school activities and sailing. Instead, I jumped into marriage at 20, and kept marrying until I got it right at 50. Four times to be exact. Each marriage was right for that time in my life, gave me much joy until we outgrew the relationship and, in retrospect, made me a better person.
Husband #1: A Father Figure. Just out of Coast Guard Boot Camp, I was stationed on the Oregon Coast. My father was lost at sea two years prior and this was my first time living away from home. Steve was an electrician, like my dad, and seven years older. We married within six months and divorced a year later when I got orders to Petaluma for Radioman School. He wanted a housewife; I was ready for adventure. He lives in Arizona now and although we haven’t seen each other in over 30 years, we keep in touch on Facebook.
Husband #2: My Shallow Phase. John blinded me with his studly physique, resulting in pregnancy and followed by a wedding because it seemed like the right thing to do. We created a beautiful, smart daughter who he abandoned as a toddler for a career in the Navy and just recently renewed a relationship with. I don’t hate him for the past; I pity him for all that he missed and will never have. (Funny how his still devastatingly-handsome looks now seem smarmy instead of sexy.)
Husband #3: Stability. Brett was a good Jewish mama’s boy who took me and my daughter into his life and cared for us at a time when we were struggling. He introduced me to the religion that I lovingly embrace, supported my career and gave me the family structure that I dearly missed since the passing of my father. We made the most perfect little boy together but drifted apart as the children became teens and didn’t need us as much. We didn’t know how to be anything except parents and found that we had nothing else in common. We still talk about the kids and grandkids weekly.
Husband #4: My Sailmate. Aaron is the man I should have kissed on South Shore Beach in 1981 when I had the chance. It took us 28 years to reconnect and for the first time in my life, I know that this is my last marriage. We have history and we see the same horizon. He’s the perfect combination of the best of my first three: a sailor and electrician; incredibly handsome; and adores our grandchildren. I can’t imagine living on a boat and planning to sail around the world with anyone else.
We’re going on five years of marriage and it still feels new. I guess when you have your first dance at four at your dads’ electrician picnic, you’re destined to forever feel like young lovers.