Yeah! What she says!

Yeah! What she says!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Yesterday...

Yesterday was a day that really caused me to look back on my life of the last few years. The history that leads up to yesterday's story, is this. My husband of five years walked out on my almost five year old son and I ten days after our five year wedding anniversary. It had not been a good marriage during the last two years of those five years. That is a very long story, it involved his cheating on me with my so called friend, who was the only friend he allowed me to keep the company of at the time, but I am not going to get into all of that, as it doesn't really pertain to the story I am about to tell other than to state, that there is some bad blood.

We got divorced rather bitterly, but through it all I always tried to keep my wits about me a remember that I had to make the best of this situation, and try to make it as easy on my son as I could, despite the fact that at the time I thought the world was crashing down around me. After all, he was never a bad father, only a bad husband, and we were divorced, so the husband factor was now removed. The divorce was official three years ago in September. (We split four years ago in October.)

The first two years of our separation/divorce were far from a walk in the park. (The first year being the year we spent trying to finalize a divorce.) He was still trying to control my life any way he could, and it led to constant fights as I refused to allow that control any longer. The only problem was that his only leverage over me was our son, who against my wishes, was constantly being drug into the middle of it. I made a promise that I wasn't going to bad mouth my son's father in front of my son. I will not lie, I did plenty of that to my mother and sister and friends when my son wasn't around. I did have rules. No one in my family was allowed to talk crap about my ex in front of my son either. My father hated this rule, but has obeyed it.

My ex did not have the same rule in his life. My son was always telling what his father said when he would return from visitation. I answered his questions, and explained that he knows who I am and should follow his heart not his dad's anger. He was a smart child and this sunk in. My son would often ask why his father was mad at me, when his father was the one who left. (A day my son remembers quite well, having been almost five.) I could never answer this question although I guessed it was probably guilt, and the fact that he was even more unhappy with the new woman who constantly complained about the same things I had. (Needless to say, he didn't keep her around over long either which surprised no one.)

I have gotten off the point a bit again, you will have to forgive me. Yesterday was not the turning point in our tenuous, but necessary relationship. Only the point at which I was able to reflect on how much things have truly changed. I am remarried to a wonderful man, and my ex is seeing a wonderful gal who I like a great deal. All four of us can now get along it seems. I am not saying that we don't still have issues and difficulties. My ex still does things I don't approve of at all, but not in regard to our son, so I brush those things off, or complain to my current husband or mother to make sure I am not the one who is completely stupid on those particular matters. Just to give a quick example, he still has a massive spending problem and buys dirt bikes, quads and cars almost as often as he changes his underwear, yet he still owes me thousands of dollars in money I have had to spend to pay of marital bills. This could be a big deal, but I am better with my money, and no one goes hungry in my house because of his poor spending habits. This is the type of thing that I complain to my mother and husband about simply because I don't understand it, and I don't like seeing him with new toys while I am paycheck to paycheck while paying off the bills.

Despite all of this, and this stuff is very menial considering the stage we were at before, things have improved greatly. No longer do I have to throw a fit to have some extra time with our son when he has a Cub Scout Event or a Tae Kwon Do test or a soccer game. The first year we were separated I would have to really drive home the fact that this wasn't about my ex and his visitation, but about our son, and his not having to miss the things normal kids did because his parents were divorced. This wasn't about me trying to inch him out of his son's life as he was always more than welcome to come and watch as well, and I told him on numerous occasions that his son wanted him there. I always urged him to attend no matter how uncomfortable it was for me at the time as I also had to remember that it wasn't about me and my comfort level, but about our son.

Half way through the second year of our separation things were marginally better. He attended more of our son's events, and would call me on weekends when he had to work and let me spend those hours with our son instead of leaving him with someone else. He even started letting our son attend things when he couldn't bring him, by picking him up after the event or having me drop him off. Things weren't perfect as he wasn't attending as many events as our son wanted him too, but at least our son was getting to do the things normal children get to do without his mother having to fight with his father. He wasn't getting left with other people on weekends his father had to work either. Instead his mom could take him to a movie and to lunch.

This brings us to a much more current time. My husband and I treated my ex to lunch, even though he owes us money, and were glad to do so. We all sat down and enjoyed a meal and conversation without any hurt feelings or wounded egos. No arguments. It was actually a very good day. I was driving our son in to his father's house after spending the morning with him launching rockets with the Cub Scouts. It was around lunch time, so I called his father and asked if he wanted me to feed our son before dropping him off, as I didn't know if my ex had already eaten. (This is something I always do to try and avoid arguments or sore feelings about stupid stuff. His father can feed him, but it makes it easier if he doesn't have to worry about it. Especially since I have already had Cris for part of the day on his weekend.) He said that was fine as he didn't have a whole lot planned for the rest of the day, as none of us had known how long it would take to launch rockets. I said thanks and hung up to hear our son ask if his dad could eat with us too. I looked at my husband and asked him if it would bother him, and being the wonderful man he is, he said it wouldn't and that it would be a good idea to extend the goodwill as his father had been very accommodating with the Cub Scout schedule recently. I called my ex back and invited him. To my surprise he accepted, and we met and had a pleasant time.

Our son got out of line as kids do, and our son got the reprimand in unison from a chorus of three adults who all want what's best for him. After the initial reprimand his father went on to say that "You don't get away with that at my house, and I know you don't get away with that at your mother's, what makes you think you can be sitting here in front of both of us and get away with in now?" I have to admit I had a hard time controlling the giggles.

On the way home I was almost giddy. Not because I had been able to have lunch with my ex, but that we were all able to set aside our differences, and accept the fact that we were going to always have to be together to raise this now eight year old boy. This eight year old boy has taught us all more than I think any of us would have ever guessed he would be able to. He has been able to convince us that team work, even when there are issues of particular dissent is always the best way to go. Among other things of course.

1 comment:

SGT DUB said...

I'm glad you had a pleasant time with all, hopefully more to follow it and a much better life for your son.