Divorce & Living Happily Ever After

February 12th, 2013 posted by Vicki

Today I was sitting at my son’s baseball game watching the love of my life run, hit, catch and yell. The love of my life is my beautiful little boy….Dylan. You can sense a bit of maternal pride here can’t you? Dylan is 7 years old and his father and I have been separated/divorced since before he even turned 2. Dylan has no recollection of his father and I ever living together as a cohesive unit and no memory of a family living happily ever after. Or does he? I guess to answer that question you have to look at the way you define, “Happily ever after.” Little boy with bat

You see, as I am watching Dylan on the baseball field I also see his father who is helping to coach the team. Each week, we do the practice thingy and go to games and for at least an hour on that day we’re all on the same team. We cheer at the same time and we flinch our eyes in unison when one of our guys gets tagged out. We talk about bringing treats and whose turn it is to provide the sodas. Then, when the last out is called we head towards the parking lot and drive off in opposite directions. One of us with a beautiful seven year old perched on the seat next to us. A seven year old who is smiling, chomping on a big wad of bubble gum and squeeling about the fact that he “really hit it far” this week. I smile to myself often when I see how happy Dylan is and I feel confident that the way we have handled joint custody is a large part of his happiness. I’m not saying joint custody is pleasant. I don’t necessarily enjoy telling Dylan what a wonderful Daddy he has and it’s not the most flattering feeling to have him say that he wishes he was at daddy’s when I’m holding him on my lap. But at the same time, I am happy. I’m happy that Dylan has a mom and dad he loves. I’m happy that he feels comfortable singing the praises of both his parents. I feel successful about this and that makes me happy. So what does this all mean? Why is this even relevant? When the process of divorce was taking place and those strong feelings of needing to prove that “I was the better person” were really strong, it was very hard for me to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like I was being robbed of my baby, my rights as his mother, and my freedom to be happy and independent. I felt used, I felt cheated, I was mad! I had no proof that being a congenial partner to my ex would ever prove to be a positive thing. But it has. Now that we’ve got some history behind us and a track record going, I can look back and see that we have been successful. Learning to work with a man that I obviously couldn’t learn to live with has turned out to be a very good thing. We’re giving Dylan a great life. We’re able to put our differences away and be parents. Do I feel like we’re even? Do I think his dad sings my praises as often as I do his to our son? No. I think “I” go the extra mile. I feel like “I’m” the one who has worked to make this a positive situation. I definitely feel like “I’m” the bigger person. His dad probably feels the same way. But that’s okay. Dylan will learn there isn’t a Santa Claus soon enough. Just as he’ll come to realize that the gifts that were hidden and the treats that were secretly tucked beneath our tree did not actually come form a wise old man in whiskers, he will learn that mom and dad aren’t perfect. Yes, Mom has made mistakes just as dad has. We’re equally to blame in the failed marriage. But hopefully, Dylan will know how much we both love him and want him to be happy. And most of all, he’ll come to see that we’re both there for him. He has parents that will work together to hold his head above water when he’s in a little too deep. He doesn’t have to worry which parent will help him this time. He knows we both will. When I finally was able to quit trying to win the battles with his father, Dylan actually started to win the war. Our marriage was over, but for a long time, I felt this need to prove why the failed marriage wasn’t my fault. I had this over-whelming need to show that I was right. But in divorce, that never happens. You’re different teams. You’re loyal to your side. You’re always going to feel that the ref’s aren’t on your side when you lose and the ref’s are fair as can be when you win. So learning to let go of those battles can be liberating. I no longer look at my ex as a battle to be won. He’s not a thorn in my side, he’s part of my life. Good or bad, he’s there. I can’t erase him and he can’t erase me. {Say those words to yourself, “He can’t erase me.”, then move on.} I have recently re-married. That in itself, brings about a whole new set of battles and strategies. But now I’m looking out at the ball game again. I see Dylan standing on third base, I see his father coaching from the side line, and believe it or not, I see his step dad umpiring on third base. I quickly grab my camera and snap a photo of the three of them. We’re a team. We’re working together. We’re winning. We’ve learned to put our differences aside and focus on the real meaning of the game…which is raising a happy, healthy and productive little boy. So in answer to my earlier question, “Yes”….Dylan does remember his family as living happily ever after. He doesn’t see the negative side of divorce, he doesn’t see the fights and he doesn’t see the battles lost. He doesn’t live in a household where mommy and daddy don’t get along, he doesn’t dread being in a home full of anxiety and stress because his parents are constantly at odds, which is what he would have lived with had we never divorced. Dylan sees a daddy and a mommy who do what they can to help him succeed. Dylan’s family “IS” living happily ever after. We just live in different houses.

about the author Vicki , although recently remarried, spent the past 5 years as a single parent to her son who is now 7 years old.

Vicki (1 Posts)

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