Ever since I was a young girl, I have dreamt of becoming a wife and mother.
You can imagine it felt as if my dream came true fairly quickly in life as I got married during my second year of college. 22 years young, I was excited for the new adventure before me.
As the years went by. I was blessed with my first baby and then my second. Two sweet girls who became little best friends.
The Heartbreak of Divorce
Then suddenly, my marriage came to an abrupt halt after 8 years. My devastation was shattering. I found the heaviest part was having to share my girls. I knew I no longer could be with them all the time and it was heart wrenching.
Through the divorce, I proved to myself that I can do hard things.
I moved back in with my parents.
While I was super grateful for them and know that I wouldn’t have made it through the divorce without their support and love, this transition was incredibly hard at first.
I started nursing school
I quickly realized that I was going to need to support my girls financially. I wanted to create the very best life for them and I knew that a nursing career would still allow me to be with them most days and still be able to have a full time job.
Nursing school was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There were days when my alarm would go off at 4 AM and I just didn’t know if I’d be able to make it through the day. I was emotionally and physically exhausted.
During this time I really turned to God. I knew that I could be extremely angry about my situation and become a disbeliever or I could completely give my pain to God and turn to him. I spent countless days in the temple praying for peace and joy.
I know that my Heavenly Father blessed me. I can honestly say that during this time I was able to find so much joy,and I attribute that to Him.
One of the scariest parts of the divorce was my fear of never having the joy of having the love and joy of a marriage and a baby again. Of course, I am eternally grateful for the two beautiful children that I already had, but my heart longed for another child.
Little did I know, God had a special plan for me.
New Beginnings for Ashley
A friend in my nursing class suggested I try the facebook dating app. ( Apparently dating apps are how you meet people these days.)
Sam was one of the first guys I chatted with. He was so sweet and quite the gentleman. He asked if he could call me and set up a time to go on a date. That date turned into two dates, then three, then a few more, plus an impromptu trip to New York where I fell in love with him and I KNEW he was the one I’d marry.
We got engaged in February and had a lovely Covid wedding in his parent’s backyard surrounded by family.
Now I know. It’s easy to look at this as a new ending to my perfect fairytale. And truth be told, it felt like that at times.
But divorce is hard.
It doesn’t go away, especially when you have to share children. You’re reminded almost weekly of the pain you went through. And the reminder that you don’t get to have your kids with you all the time.
On the days when I didn’t have my girls, I felt really lonely. Sam was at work and I spent a lot of time at home alone, no little girls to chase around, feed, clothe, snuggle, kiss, love. It was just me. I missed them. I missed feeling needed all the time. When you go from being a hands on mom 100% of the time, to almost half of that it’s a really painful adjustment.
The Miracle of William
The summer after Sam and I got married, we decided it was time to start trying for a baby. We were blessed to get pregnant much quicker than we thought. We were thrilled.
If we’re being honest I was so excited, but I was a little worried as well. I was worried that maybe I wouldn’t love this baby like I loved my girls, was it too quick, was I even ready to take on another baby after going through such a difficult trial?
I felt reassured multiple times throughout my pregnancy that God had a special little spirit waiting to come down and this was the right time.
We found out we were having a baby boy. I instantly felt a connection to him. We decided to name him William right when we found out he was a boy. William is named after my great Grandpa Papaleo, who was a handsome Italian man who loved his family fiercely. He had three beautiful daughters, one of them being my grandma. He was very protective of his girls and would do anything for them.
The name William also means protector. Another reason why I felt inspired to choose this name.
My Will certainly came into this world protecting my heart. He was born with a strong and peaceful presence. Maybe he knew that my heart had already been broken before and was committed to protect and mend it.
I still struggle when my girls are away. I miss them greatly and nothing will ever fill their place, but Will came into the picture and mended so much hurt and pain. He’s been protecting my heart ever since he came into this world. My tender little miracle.