Guest Columnist Marcie Riger: One Fairy Tale Ended, But Another Began


Marcie Riger, who lives in West Milford, New Jersey with her boyfriend, Steve Agnello, has four children: Matthew 30, Blair 27, Paige 24, and Kevin 21.She works in a dental office. In her spare time, she loves to go to the beach, get lost in a good book and spend quality time with her girlfriends.

Dear Matthew, Blair, Paige and Kevin,

We started as a typical family. Dad goes off to work and coaches baseball and softball. Mom stays home for 19 years, chairs the local PTA, coaches soccer, even drives a “soccer van,” trying to get four kids to a different field, all at the same time.

Then, somewhere along the way, little by little, our fairy tale life unraveled. Dad lost his job and remained out of work for two years. Nothing was ever the same after that.

For starters, money was always an issue. Worse was the lying about money. We also refused to talk about it, creating a tension we could never resolve.

Then came more job losses, compounded by health issues, plus a lot of pent-up anger. I finally admitted to myself something my friends already knew from all my crying: I had been unhappy, unbearably so, for more than ten years. I realized I had to get out of my marriage before it dissolved into an emotional black hole.

Scary stuff. It would mean giving up the home we had created. It would mean people would talk. But I knew there had to be a better life out there. So your Dad and I separated after 30 years of marriage. I never thought this would be me.

Then my life turned around yet again. I went to a 40th high school reunion. It was there that I ran into Steve, an old friend from the neighborhood. He had always made me laugh. He used to come over my house to play and give me piggyback rides. We went through elementary school together and we were in the same class in third grade.

Steve and I met for breakfast at a diner the following week, and right away I knew. Despite my determination never to have another serious romantic relationship, something very special was happening here.

Nothing came easy, though. I was still uncoupling from our marriage. Steve was still involved in a serious relationship. So we had to figure out what to do. I loved how happy I was with Steve. I knew in my heart I was meant to spend the rest of my life with him. And now, as luck and fate and destiny would have it, Steve and I are living together. I’m happy beyond any expectations I could ever have imagined.

Why am I telling you all this? I’ll tell you why.

Because, my beautiful, amazing children, each of you a dream come true for me, we’ve all gone through a lot of turmoil, especially in the last two-and-a-half years, and it’s important to me that you better understand how we all got to where we are now, and at last it’s time for us all to heal.

Because I’m always going to be your Mom and always going to be there for you and I love being your Mom and – you’ve heard my say so a million times – consider it my best work and the proudest, most joyous reward of my entire life.

And because, above all, in the years to come, I wish for you to experience the same love and friendship with a special person that I’ve miraculously discovered, all these years later, with Steve.


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