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Why My Wedding Song Still Gets to Me 8 Years After Divorce

Once, we believed that our love was the real deal.

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Illustration of a couple happily dancing at their wedding
Tomi Um
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"This is Dad's and my wedding song,” I said as I turned up the volume of the car radio. I regretted speaking the words even before I had completed the sentence. For eight years, whenever I heard the song “Amazed” by Lonestar, I would change the channel or mute the radio altogether. It was just too uncomfortable for me to listen.

Every little thing that you do, Baby, I'm amazed by you. … I am so in love with you. It just keeps getting better.

Um, ew. No, gross. How did I ever feel that way about my ex-husband? I just couldn't make sense of it. I was reminded of how we picked the song and how I truly felt as though it was the perfect demonstration of my love for the man I thought would be by my side ‘til death do us part.

But now? We have been divorced for eight years, and that couple who glided along on the dance floor on July 20, 2002? They have disappeared. There was no happily ever after, and I am sorry to burst my younger self's bubble, but it just didn't keep getting better.

But on this day, for a split second, I thought the kids deserved to hear this song and to know that on our wedding day, we danced together and loved each other — as much as we could at that time in our lives. But the lyrics of the song quickly forced me to face the sad truth: The love that we had, it just wasn't the kind that love songs are written about.

We were young, reckless, and our courtship was fueled by alcohol. We were in love with something, but we just didn't know each other well enough to really love each other. Hell, I'm not even sure we knew ourselves. But when “Amazed” played on our wedding day, I really, truly thought he was the one. My forever man. We really believed that our love was the real deal. Were we young and naive? Yes. Should we have seen the signs? I don't know. I really don't know. I'm not sure I am ready to answer that question just yet.

I guess there is still a part of me that wants to believe that our love was true, because if it wasn't, that makes me really sad. Sad for me, sad for him and, mostly, sad for my beautiful children. Because for eight years, they have been robbed of seeing an example of romantic love; of commitment, compromise and unconditional, unbreakable love; and of knowing that their mom and dad love each other more than anything else in the world. They don't see Mom and Dad kiss; they don't see Dad bring in the groceries to help Mom; and they don't see fights and makeups, date nights or wedding anniversaries. The truth is, I want my kids to have married parents. And because I couldn't give them this, I wanted them to hear “Amazed” by Lonestar and for a few minutes live in a fantasy world where Mom and Dad were once madly in love.

I turned up the volume and wondered what the kids were thinking as they listened to the lyrics: I want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side forever and ever.

I wondered if they were sad or happy, confused or indifferent. I wondered if they even cared at all. Telling them about our wedding song was a bad idea, I thought to myself as I considered changing the station. But I didn't. Instead, I let the song tell them a love story.

The taste of your kiss. The way you whisper in the dark.

And then, I heard my son whisper quietly in the back seat what I had been thinking all along: “Ew, can you guys believe Mom and Dad used to kiss?”

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