‘On my wedding day, I asked both my mom and dad to walk me down the aisle. I won’t let divorce keep us from being a family.’: Woman’s separated parents set aside their differences, come together in ‘surreal’ moment on her ‘big day’

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“My name is Ana Moore and I am a 32-year-old first time mom. Basically, I am just trying to get through life being as happy as possible. Being a mom has opened a whole new side of me where emotions seem to flow and writing has become one of my ways to express them.

I don’t even know where to start my story. My mom and my dad met when my mom had recently divorced her first husband. My sisters were very young. They really didn’t have a relationship at that point, they were just friends and stayed in touch. My mom got pregnant with me with another man and when she broke the news his response was, ‘I can give you money so you can get rid of it.’ He wanted nothing to do with me. I met him three times in my life. He died when I was 15. I don’t even know why or where his remains are. I don’t believe I want to know.

My true dad stepped up to raise me but he and my mom didn’t get married until I was about four and then finally they started their life together. They made a living owning a little convenience store while I would run around the joint. On Saturdays, we would go to the big market and buy merchandise for the store. We would leave early (like 4 in the morning) and come back by 7 with a car loaded with groceries to put up and start selling. It was a normal, stable life.

I remember on Sundays we would close the store in the afternoon and my dad would take us to a restaurant. He just loves seafood so we would go eat fish fairly often. I also remember a vacation when they took me to the mountains. We had a small car and I thought it wasn’t going to make it all the way but it did. My mom and my dad took me on a walk in the morning and I remember we picked up mushrooms, to be honest I don’t know if we ate them. But I remember these kinds of wonderful moments.

After that, most of my childhood memories are just every day types of things but I do remember one specific weekend my mom sent me over to my grandparents ranch and when I came back my dad was gone. No explanation was given to me, no reasoning, he was just not in my life anymore. As you can imagine this was hard on an eight-year-old, the man that had raised her was out of her life. We started going to court and I remember the divorce dragged on for what felt like forever!

Courtesy of Ana Moore

While my dad was away, I felt very confused. I didn’t really get an explanation of what happened and my mom remarried rather quickly. I hated my stepdad. I think he had a lot to do with my dad being out of my life for so long. He was not a nice person but he’s gone now so it doesn’t really matter anymore. I was very angry at my mom back then but it was mostly because of my stepdad and the situation. He was an alcoholic and things were very ugly for a while. I also resented my mom for leaving my dad.

During this time, I probably saw my true dad two or three times. I didn’t really see him again until I was 13 and after that we started visiting on and off. When I was old enough to drive and get around I started seeing him more but it wasn’t until my 20’s when I finally started really building a relationship with him again. You have to understand it’s really hard to bring one of your parents back into your life when they were gone for so long.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

As I started visiting my dad more often we tried to have lunch together once a week. That’s when I found out he tried to bring me a birthday cake every year since the divorce but I never got to see them. To this day I haven’t asked my mom if it’s is actually true. He gave me his explanation for their divorce. I had already heard my mom’s side and they are similar but not exactly the same. I suppose every story has two sides. I imagine I could ask them and really try to figure out what made them split up, but that’s not very important at this point, knowing the exact reason why they split up won’t change all those years they weren’t together.

I decided to bring my dad back in to my life because I knew he was getting older and I didn’t want to miss anymore time without him. I needed to heal our relationship because I feel like it was affecting me. He was always open to me being part of his life. He has other children and we have learned to get along. It’s still strange to this day but we work through it. It’s still hard to remember to call him other than on holidays but I try. If your dad is gone for so long you sort of get used to not having him and wanting to build a relationship feels like you’re getting to know a whole new person. My mom and my dad starting rebuilding their relationship when my stepdad died and it gradually happened. It was very organic. The older I got, the better they got along.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

My dad was not there for me for many things but it’s not because he wouldn’t have if we had invited him, it’s because we didn’t tell him. Once I understood we were leaving him out I made sure I would ask him to everything that was going on, my birthday, little family get togethers, funerals, and even some of my mom’s birthdays. I’ve made sure to visit him on his birthday and Father’s Day or at least call him. Every time I’ve asked him to come he has. And my mom has always been open and willing to go with me and visit my dad. Now that I live 14 hours away I go visit him every time I visit to Mexico and each time my mom goes with me.

When I got engaged my fiancé, my mom and I stopped by my dad’s house to say goodbye. He was so happy I had found someone to live my life with. I asked him if he would walk me down the aisle. My mom already hoped she would be the one and I honestly don’t think she believes my dad really deserved to be there as well, but she didn’t oppose. So when my big day came my dad made the trip to walk me down the aisle. It was surreal for me my mom and my dad walking me to the man of my life.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

I now have a daughter and my parents adore her with everything they have. Every time we go we go visit my dad my mother also comes along as both of them want my daughter to have memories of them. We eat lunch, we talk, we visit, we play with her. My dad says he had never seen a baby so beautiful. My mom is completely infatuated and can’t contain herself with my daughter, she just wants to eat her up.

My parents may have made a lot of wrong decisions but I now know they did the best they could with what they had. What’s really important to me is that being divorced has not kept us from being a family. My daughter will know her grandparents are not together but she will never think they don’t love her or we’re not a family.

I know my dad is not perfect but everything I’ve described doesn’t allow you to see the type of man he is. You must also know he’s not my real dad. You read that right. Remember how I said he had stepped up to raise me? That’s exactly what he did.

I will forever be grateful to my mom for choosing life. To my dad for raising me as his own daughter. To my biological dad for staying out of my life and allowing me to know what a father’s love should be like through another man. And to God for getting us through the mountains and valleys of life so we could learn family is much more than blood. Family is much more than a piece of paper. And not all families look the same.”

Courtesy of Ana Moore

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ana Moore of Texas. You can follow her on Instagram here or her website here. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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‘My sister’s back in town, newly divorced. You should give her a call.’ I heard a knock. He looked up and smiled. I thought, ‘One day, I’ll marry this man.’ I didn’t tell him. Why ruin the moment?’

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