This Monday morning I am feeling grateful for something that may seem odd to some. Today I’m feeling grateful for my ex-husband. You see 17 years ago we made the decision to end our marriage. It wasn’t easy and it took us an entire year to finalize the divorce even though we shared a lawyer and literally had nothing to fight over. We tried the best we could to make a marriage work or at least the best two selfish twenty somethings with too much pride could do. While our divorce decree clearly outlined the standard family law with visitation on Wednesday nights and every other weekend and alternating holidays, we never needed it. Although we could not put our differences aside enough to live together the one thing we both had was a love for our children above everything else.
Now, it wasn’t always pretty at first. There were hurt egos (mostly mine) and we made some of the typical divorced parent mistakes by trying to continue to provide our kids the same lifestyle they had when we were together. Reid is much more laid back and easy going and, well, more fun than me. I was the one always worrying about money and keeping the kids on track so of course my fear was always they were going to love him more. New people came into our lives and then new babies and that presented a whole new set of challenges. At some point I think we both realized that our kids loved us and knew us as their parents and no one could change that.
Fact is I needed him in my life. I needed to know that when a challenge arose with one of the kids I could call him and he would be a voice of reason. At the end of the day he was the only one who knew and loved them the same as I did. Our kids were never able to play us against each other because we kept the communication so open and we headed them off before they could even get started. We always had a united front when it came to discipline and it made my job so much easier knowing I had his support. Because our personalities are so different our kids sometimes turn to one over the other when they are going through a tough time but we always, always circle back and get the other in the loop. We became their parents the day they were born and neither of us were willing to give up that duty.
I can’t tell you how many people are confused by our family because at events we are all together. Reid has another son who is two years older than Dillon and they were always so confused trying to figure out how they were related. They even played on the same little league team one year and when someone asked them how they were related one of them said “well he’s my brothers brother but he’s not my brother”. Reid even had my kids calling him Uncle when they were small so no wonder everyone was confused! To complicate things even more Reid remarried 2 summers ago and his wife’s name is also Shelly. He says he likes to keep it simple.
Our kids will be 25 and 22 in just a short 4 months. As the kids have gotten older it is not as important that we stay in touch and it feels kind of weird. He has been part of my life for more than half my life! It makes my heart happy to look at our babies and know that because we were able to keep the negative to ourselves and put their needs first these two feel loved and secure.
My ex gave me two of the biggest blessings I could have ever dreamed of…..and for that I will always be grateful!