There was a time, soon after we became a one-parent family, that I thought I would never be able to have a civil conversation with my ex, let alone be in the same building as him. There was a time that it hurt just sharing the same planet with him, breathing the same air – I was in so much pain that I couldn’t see past it.
We may no longer be married, but whether we like it or not, we are co-parents for life. We have four most awesome sons together who are our souls, our lives. Both of us are 100% invested in doing everything in the children’s best interests. Truthfully, occasionally our perception of the kids’ best interests differs, but we are always able to come to a peaceful resolution.
Time healed. Time allowed us both to work through our own issues and get past them. But that’s only because we were BOTH invested in doing so for the sake of the kids and for our own sakes too.
2 months post separation, when he was 11, our eldest asked about his barmitzvah. I can still taste the bile that rose in my throat at the thought of celebrating this momentous occasion with the “other side” of the family. It scared me. It frightened me. There was no way that I saw that it could possibly happen.
You know what? We made the barmitzvah together and it was awesome. It showed the children that their parents are willing to put them first. It showed the kids that they are our number one priority (or as they say, numbers 1 thru 4) and we would do anything for them. Sharing the simcha hall with my ex was fine – there are awesome benefits to mechitzahs!! We’ve since made another barmitzvah and have one coming up in 8 months. (We had three sons within 31 months!!). We have celebrated graduations and birthdays together, and sat holding our broken-legged child in the ER together.
Today we are able to pick up the phone and talk to each other like grown-ups. We don’t talk about anything other than the kids, and that’s ok. But I am so thankful that I am able to have this kind of “relationship” with him – that we have left the past in the past. Accepted that it is over. We have moved on with our lives. We are both remarried with stepkids. Our lives are an amalgamation of families and in-laws and relatives on four sides. As my kids say – so many more people to love them (and give them presents!!).
I just wish that all divorced couples were able to do the same. That at some point they come to the realization that they need to move on with their lives, and leave the nastiness and bitterness in the dust. It is even more important when there are children involved. I wish the divorce court could mandate some kind of co-parenting class for divorcing parents. Make them sign some kind of agreement that forces them to do what’s best for the child. There have been many things I have had to just accept, because being angry and bitter would not change them.
Had I not accepted my lot in life, the fact that I was getting a divorce – had I allowed myself to be consumed daily with anger and resentment and every negative emotion known to womankind – I would never have been able to move on with my life. I would never have been in a position to meet the KoD and realize his true value. I would have cheated myself out of this fairytale that the KoD and I have recurrent starring roles in.