As 2018 ended and a new year began, I can’t help but be reminded how “unconventionally” lucky I am.
No, I don’t have a bank account overflowing with money. I don’t own a house yet or have a fancy new vehicle. My car is actually 13 years old and has several flashing lights on the dashboard, not in a festive way, either!
I don’t have a lot of “things” nor will I. But material possessions and large paychecks never truly satisfy the heart’s longing for a connection in life. Friend or family, it doesn’t matter. The connection is what you make of it. And my connection is one that several people may think of as odd. Some have said that it’s a very unlikely connection and it’s one that they could never have.
What kind of connection? I have a friendship, a familial connection if you will, with my ex-husband and his wife and her family. We are the modern co-parenting Brady Bunch!
We’ve been on our separate paths for almost 6 years. In that time, we have both remarried and have new extended families of our own now. My two sons now have two wonderful step-sisters. And obviously, I never set out in life to be a divorced/single/remarried/co-parenting mom. But life has a way of throwing you wrenches that you either have to dodge and continually avoid, or you have to face them head-on and make the most of it.
I choose to make the most of it and accept it. I don’t consider myself the ever shining ray of sunshine optimist, but more so a realist. The situation my family is in is permanent. It’s how our life is and instead of fighting against it, we choose to make the most of it.
So, we all get along. We tag each other in social media posts that are about our children. We freely text each other with schedule questions, pictures of our children’s events, and just because sometimes. Extended families have met, and there’s no hurt or animosity towards anyone. We choose to be positive and we choose to get along. Because in the end, this has nothing to do with us. This isn’t about our bruised egos or hurt feelings.
This is now, and always will be, about the kids.
So when my son invited me and my husband to attend church with them on Christmas Eve, we said, “Of course!” When I see my ex-husband’s wife’s aunt (did you follow that?), we hug and talk about how we’ve been. When I make my family recipe spaghetti sauce and meatballs, I bring my ex-husband a container because I know he likes them (and my mother made sure he was going to get some!). When I take my boys out for ice cream and I know their step-sisters are at home, I bring them some ice cream. When we drop our sons off at each other’s houses, it’s not a drop and dash. We actually talk, we converse, we share.
The kids have nothing to do with our divorces. They are innocent in everything dealing with our relationships. There is no reason for them to be punished. So for those reasons, and so many more, we choose to be friendly, respectful co-parents who communicate openly. This really makes a world of difference. It’s truly one of the most positive things that has come out of our life situations. Life hasn’t always been this way, but with work and prayer and an overwhelming desire to make my children’s life the best it can be, it has been a very good experience.
We may not have a perfect life by many people’s standards, and we may not have a life that you could imagine living. But I can truly say that I am thankful for the life we have. I am beyond grateful for a co-parenting scenario that is (usually) pleasant and easy. There’s already enough stress flowing in and out of our daily lives. This is one less area where we don’t have to stress, and that alone is worth it!