41 years my parents have been married. Growing up, I only knew two families that were divorced. My one friend, whom I will call Linda, lived with her mother, and her father lived in California. It was a whole year of friendship before i found out she had a brother because he lived with her dad and only came to visit one month out of the summer. My other 'divorced family' friend was Debbie. Her mother had remarried and her father lived just a few short roads down from them. She was able to take the same bus to either house and split her week between the two. Often, her father would be at her house having a cup of coffee or a hamburger when I would arrive for soccer practice.
When my first marriage dissolved, I had hopes of something similar to my friend Debbie's parents. I had read articles about the effects of divorce and wanted to spare my children the torment of having to chose between us. I had fantasies about us keeping the marital home and leaving the children in it and just rotating us in and out. I planned on sharing teacher conferences, and celebrating birthdays together. But the reality is, that there was another person I forgot to ask....my ex.
Last Saturday was my oldest son's championship baseball game. As they were celebrating their victory, Dylan came over to ask if we could all go out for a celebratory ice cream. They were at the game with their dad since they are with him on the weekends. I told him that I would think about it, and later he came back and said that his dad wanted to know where we were going. I thought 'okay, this maybe uncomfortable but I can suffer through it for Mason and Dylan". Shortly after, Dylan came back to me and was very upset because his father said they couldn't go. My heart was heavy. For a few brief minutes Dylan would have had both his parents and all the people he loves in one place! I understand that their father and his girlfriend may or may not have wanted to cozy up with me and my husband, it just reinforced that divorce sucks!
There is always emotions and baggage that come along with every interaction. A famous doctor always states that people should not get divorced until all emotional business is done. but how often does that happen? I think it is more that we as parents have to let go. We have to consciously remember that the children are the ones affected. This means putting aside our hate, or guilt or just plain childishness. Not always easy, I must admit.
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