One of the things my ex and I have worked really hard on was maintaining a friendship. Trust me. It would be all too easy to be consumed by anger which would eventually work itself into hate. But one of the first things my ex and I did was go see a therapist and try to work out how we could adjust from marriage to co-parents.
To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t coldly schedule time with the kids with their father. I couldn’t sit and keep a cool distance while discussing school and doctors. I’d never want our children to have to choose between us. I couldn’t live my life that way. So, we talked. We detached ourselves from the hurt and anger and emotions and made up a vision of our end game:
Sunday brunches with the kids, sitting next to each other at graduations and weddings, being in the hospital together while waiting for our grandchildren’s births. Restructured instead of broken.
I’m not saying this last year has been easy. I’m not saying we’ve handled it with grace at all times. I’m not saying my girlfriends didn’t receive texts of my threatening homicide or, at least, bodily damage. What I will say is when our son asked to go mini golfing as a family, I was able to agree without a second of hesitation.
Chad came over, hopped in the car with the kids and I, and we all drove to the mini golf course. We played 18 holes, laughing, taking pictures, and teasing the kids. We went out to dinner and sat across from each other chatting about birthday party plans, helping the kids cut their food, and singing to Joseph when his dessert arrived.
We drove back to my place and, when Joseph asked him to sleep over, I grabbed extra blankets for the spare bed. We’re honest and up front with the kids. They know we’ll never get back together, but they’re also witnessing a friendship and that helps.
And that’s all that really matters.