Next let’s move on to something a long time coming and, happily, now resolved: my divorce. When I say “happily,” I don’t mean that I’m happy to be divorced. I wish things didn’t go down this way, and I really dislike that I’m going to have to check “Divorced” on any marital status questions. I wish that my kids had both their parents in the same house and didn’t have to deal with everything they now have to deal with. So no, I’m not really happy that I’m divorced. But I had to get divorced. It couldn’t stay the way it was and the past wasn’t going to change. I am capable of forgiveness once, but twice, on something so fundamental, is just beyond my ability. I deserve better. I deserve to be happy. And now I am.
I am happy to be done with the process of divorce. Overall, we have kept things very civil during the whole thing and we didn’t have to take anything to court. We were able to agree to the terms without making it a legal battle. There were some close calls, some nasty words, and even some tears, but we’ve come to agreements on everything that suits us both and I’m confident that we can manage things from here on out. Not without frustration, of course, but we lead relatively simple lives and neither of us cares to create unnecessary drama.
I’m still very close to his family. They’ve been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. They wish that things could have been different, but they know that maintaining a good relationship with me is vital to all of us, for the sake of the kids. It’s all going to be ok because that’s the top priority for all of us. Not only do they provide moral support, they also provide childcare. They watch our kids every day after school and are so integral in our kid’s lives. Having a good relationship with them is so key. I’ve told them for years that we couldn’t do it without them, and nothing has changed there.
The main question everyone has is about the kids. How are they doing? It’s impossible for this situation not to affect them. Babe is too young to really understand any of it, and she seems to adjust really well. I think she’s adaptable in general, so that really helps her to deal with what comes. Bud is struggling a bit more. He’s old enough to remember what it used to be like. A few weeks ago he told me that he wishes we could all be in the same house again, me in the kitchen, my ex in the living room and him playing with his toys. What he doesn’t realize is that I was hiding in the kitchen so I didn’t have to deal with my ex. And my ex was in the living room ignoring all of us. But that was “normal” for us and so Bud misses “normal.” I don’t blame him. Our custody arrangement isn’t the easiest on him either. We split 2 days-2 days-3 days (ensuring we each have the kids for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday every other week). It really works for us, but it isn’t so easy for them to be jumping back and forth between houses. It won’t stay like this, the arrangement will evolve as our lives evolve and the kids grow older. But for now, this is the best arrangement. They get to see us an equal amount of time, and that’s very important to all of us. My ex was a terrible husband, but he’s a very devoted father and I would never take them away from each other.
To add to the custody struggle, my ex had his girlfriend and two (slightly older) children move in. I’ve known his girlfriend for years (she was his sister’s best friend growing up) so they know each other well, and I’ve always gotten along with her and think she’s a good mom. I also think it’s very important to have a working relationship with her. It’s in all of our best interests. Plus, I don’t want to be with my ex in the least, so there is no ill will about it at all. But now my kids suddenly went from being one of two, to being one of four, and the transition hasn’t been easy for Bud. He’s struggling to adjust to a new set of rules in the house he’s lived in for more than half of his life, and he’s struggling with all the “stuff” that she’s brought into the house. He says that she moved in and took over the house. That’s hard for a 7 year old to deal with. I think part of the reason he’s struggling so much is that he’s not as adaptable as Babe. I don’t think her “new rules” are unreasonable, and of course she moved her stuff in. But he doesn’t like that we aren’t together anymore and he can’t get past that to be accepting of all the change. I can’t say I blame him. I just feel awful that I can’t do anything to change it for him.
With all these changes, he’s beginning to have difficulty at school. He’s the smartest boy around, he has no trouble learning, but his focus is non-existent. If the teacher isn’t right on him all the time he does everything but his work. His teacher can’t be on top of him all the time though. We are working with the school to figure out what we can do to help the situation. We’ll see what happens there.
Outside of school he’s doing very well. He is a happy boy and is so damn smart! I have a hard time keeping up with him sometimes! Thank God for Google! He is old enough now to do a lot of things on his own. He makes himself breakfast most mornings (meaning mama gets to sleep in a few extra minutes…holla!!!!) and then he brushes his teeth without being told. I still pick out his clothes because I prefer he not look like a homeless person, but once his clothes are out he dresses himself. It’s a glorious thing. And we’ve become much closer with all that’s going on. We’ve had some really great conversations and I think that’s helped both of us handle some of the rougher aspects. He’s such a good kid. I know he’ll be ok, but I also have to make sure I keep on top of things so I don’t lose him. I’m not too worried.
So let’s leave this part here. I’m divorced. Now on to the next chapter…