Four weeks ago, I hugged the neck of my children’s father.
He and I separated and filed divorce almost three years ago now. The process was short and sweet. We even went together, with our documents in hand, and had it made official with a notary. We were just two people with different goals and lifestyles and it was becoming more tense in the house than was necessary. So we parted ways, agreeing that the children were worth whatever efforts necessary for us to keep open lines of communication.
We spoke when necessary, smiled and swapped information during “changing of the guard”. We weren’t hateful. We didn’t wish harm on one another. I laughed at his jokes and he let me vent from time to time. Then we starting seeing other people.
It began to become a bit stiff and there was a nagging feeling, at times, that something could erupt if the wrong wires crossed. Especially when finances were the topic, it was like all the stereotypes of custody legalities and divorce disputes were playing into our thoughts and fears, effecting how we expected the outcome of every encounter to play out. We didn’t call each other names. We didn’t curse each other. We didn’t use the children against one another. We just didn’t give it 100% and it felt as though we were slowly reaching a boiling point.
Changes in child care have become necessary and I needed to broach the subject and I feared the worst. As he brought the kids to our meeting point he was more stiff than usual. We exchanged greetings and hugs from the kids, then settled them into my vehicle. Then I dove in, stating that changes in child care had come about and that meant changes in income. He said that he knew about the changes in care from the kids. So I launched into an apology that he hadn’t heard it from me, but that I had wanted to tell him face to face. (Due to work schedules a family member picks them up and we only meet when he brings them back.) I was not hiding information from him, just trying to erase technology from skewing any details.
I told him of how I didn’t hate him, and us being in separate relationships didn’t change the fact that we have three kids to raise, together. He relaxed and said he didn’t like the tension that was building between us either. That dealing with each other had become stressful and for no reason. We had allowed all the negativity that other “fouled marriages” and “ugly divorces” to poison our communication. We spoke a bit longer, then hugged each other’s necks as we parted ways.
We have met one other time since, along with our significant others, and the atmosphere was so different. It was easier to talk and it was visible that the kids felt it too. Our love for these kiddos will always be the common denominator and it is possible to become a truly blended family, without the strife and friction. That doesn’t mean that we won’t disagree, but as with every relationship: parent/child, spouse/spouse, sibling/sibling, friend/friend, etc.- communication is necessary. It has been amazing to see how much better things have been between, as result of a single converstation. In a world where communication has become so easily obtainable, relations are growing weaker and weaker. It is important to know what true communcation can accomplish!