Friday, June 10, 2011

On Departing, and Parting Ways, Pt. 4

Jim and I were ex boyfriend and girlfriend for thirteen years, and we ended up married with children.  We agree: that's enough ex action to last the rest of our lives.  Neither of us communicates with exes, unless you count my Bible-camp boyfriend from middle school, whom I've never kissed but to whom I still send Christmas cards (when I get around to sending Christmas cards).

Or my ex-husband, who is also my son's dad.

One just can't be a stickler about no exes when she shares a child with one.  And I must say: my ex-husband and I share our hind ends off.  We parted ways seven years ago (when Cade was four), and nearly every week has been three nights and Saturdays him, four nights and Sundays me.  The week has never been split down the middle, either, because I feel like I can say "goodbye" okay, but, afterward, I prefer to say "hello" as soon as possible.  The boy is a human ping-pong ball, but he has little memory of anything else.  He has clothes at both houses and carries nothing with him but his school stuff and, occasionally, his karate uniform. 

Now, my ex-husband and I do not agree on everything because--hello--we claimed irreconcilable differences and divorced!  But we disagree about very little, especially where Cade is concerned.  And it's all about Cade.

My ex-husband, our spouses, and I have busted hiney butt for friendly, even friends, and--while we have not vacationed together--Cade could testify:

  • His mom attended his stepmom's bridal shower.
  • His stepmom (and her mom) attended one of his mom's baby showers.
  • His mom sang a solo in his dad's and stepmom's wedding.
  • His stepdad and his mom's parents attended his dad's and stepmom's wedding.
  • His dad and stepmom helped his mom and stepdad move.
  • His parents and stepparents attended the same church for awhile and, occasionally, sat together.
  • His dad and stepmom were in the room minutes after Clementine's birth.
  • His dad has hunted with his mom's dad and brother since the divorce.
  • His mom has borrowed his dad's hunting clothes since the divorce.
  • His mom has taken him to Southern Indiana to visit his dad's family since the divorce.
  • His mom and stepmom have, together, delivered cookies to his class.
  • His parents and stepparents have gathered for numerous events (starring him) and holidays.

And I could keep going.

I can't say I recommend all of the above, or even that I would do it all again.  Because--let's get real--some of it was over-the-top hard, and some of it just made me feel weird (even if only because of the way other people eyed me up).  But what I would never change is the heartfelt, sincere intent...of four adults who love, desperately, one child...behind all of it.

It hasn't always been easy to figure out exactly how to go about it, or exactly where to draw the line.  I mean, in all fairness, it's not like there are so many great examples of how to do divorce (or joint-custodial relationships) well.

But I, I know...moving forward, the more my ex-husband, our spouses, and I can keep Jesus in the center, the better off we'll be.  In recent months, I've had the opportunity to pray with both my ex-husband and his wife on several occasions, and it's been odd, but in a great way.

The best such experience was at the culmination of a long "family" meeting (i.e., "come to Jesus" meeting) with Cade a few weeks ago, when my ex-husband, our spouses, Cade, and I joined hands and prayed together.  That's Big Jesus Love.  I give Him all the glory for making something someone beautiful out of a big, fat mess.

Our Cade deserves it.  And--if he doesn't look back and say he grew up experiencing the kind of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love that comes only from God--it won't be for lack of trying.

(This was taken a few years ago; I was pregnant with Clementine.)

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