There were lots of things we fucked up in our divorce.
Like, for example, I don’t think either of us really, fully grasped the financial impact of running two complete households. Or, filing taxes. (Am I the head of household now? And why does that conjure up visions of a reality show rather than adulting things like a tax form?) Or, the logistics of sharing the responsibilities of a dog. You get the idea. The nuances of getting divorced go on infinitely. It’s been a learning curve, no doubt. And, admittedly, some things we, singularly or collectively, have done poorly.
But. When it comes to our kids? I gotta say, we’re rockstars.
We’ve never been typical parents. Individually, our parenting styles couldn’t BE more different. He’s a talker. Negotiator. He’s the doer of tasks, and the getter of items. You need an analysis? He’s your guy. Me? I’m the feeler. The one who wipes the tears and cracks a joke. The hand holder, the pusher, and simultaneously, the worrier. I swear. I make them laugh, and hopefully teach a lesson at the same time.
Somehow, our two halves couldn’t make a whole marriage, but damn if we haven’t crafted a damn fine life for our kiddos.
Even in our darkest times, and I do mean DARK, scary times when neither of us knew how we’d even wake up in the morning and take a breath, let alone put one foot in front of the other and care for two kids who needed nothing more than stability and reassurance and love, we managed. Not always well, but in spite of fighting and screaming at each other like banshees, at some point, we’d always come back to the same idea, that we needed to keep our shit together and be a team for our kids. They were the sun and the moon and the stars and they never asked for any of the adult stuff we’d fallen into. They were everything. They are everything, and always will be to us.
This past month, our son’s teacher called a conference to discuss his work this year. My immediate assumption was, I would have a conversation with a lovely woman who was about to tell me how our divorce so negatively impacted his work, he was sure to fail 5th grade, ensuring his academic ruin. On the contrary, we spoke at length about how he thrived this year. How he found his writing voice, and adjusted well to the responsibilities of more work, and how his sensitive, quirky little personality crept its way into the hearts of his classmates, and his teacher. How she adored him, and said she’d very likely shed a few tears when the year was done and he’d move on to a new school, and she’d excitedly look for his name in the paper, certain of a bright future of honor rolls, and deans lists, and doing great things.
I sat there and cried, a little. I kept it together until I returned to my car, but then, yeah. Heaving sobs.
Our biggest fear, quelled. We hadn’t ruined him at all. In fact, we’d somehow kept him in the light.
Today, our daughter embarks on a new, exciting adventure of her own. She, too, has blossomed this year, despite so many other challenges aside from her parents getting divorced. She’s like me, a risk taker, and is trying a new sport for the first time, something she’s never really done before, and I’m in awe of her bravery and overall not-giving-a-shitness. My tiny bad ass. I adore her, and I can’t wait to pick her up and hear her gush to her brother and I about how amazing it all was, or how much it sucked, and who was there and wearing what and whether she forgot her water bottle and…all of it.
And, I’ll call my ex later tonight, and I’ll give him the run down of everything that happened, and we’ll have a good laugh and figure out logistics, and do whatever needs to be done. We’ll stumble and trip and splay on to the floor, but we’ll always be the rockstar parents our kids need, no matter what, as best we can. And we feel really good about that.