Last week was a busy, crazy, amazing and wonderful week. This week, I'm going to talk about it. At length. Pull up a chair.
Today, I'm going to talk about my company at the beach. I was invited, rather sweetly, to sally forth on this adventure by my ex-husband's girlfriend. Her family was going to go live the beach house life and would like to know if me and my girls would like to come along.
I'll be honest, ya'll, I was not immediately sure if the answer was yes. So much awkwardness could have happened. So much discomfort. But, I love my girls and they love their sorta stepmama and all the assorted cousins and aunts and uncles that come along with that. And I really like that stepmama, I mean, like really like her. So, I figured it wouldn't be torture and after asking a few hundred times if she was really sure she was good with this, I packed my bags.
And it. was. wonderful.
We had a blast. We talked and talked and talked and talked. We talked til 2 a.m. a couple of times. We shopped and ate and swam and yelled at the kids simultaneously. We went out to dinner and took the kids bowling and laid on the beach. We drank and teased the kids and each other.
And I am so glad I did it.
About a million years ago, my ex and I were not yet exes. We weren't even considering being exes, but we were watching someone we knew fighting over their kids and refusing to cooperate and we looked at each other and vowed that would never be us.
I'm sure every ex-couple fighting and complaining and insisting on separate parent-teacher conferences probably said the same thing, though. It gets complicated. You get hurt and you get beaten down and you just want to remove yourself from all the toxins. I get that. There are lines, things that I just won't do. But those things are not things that my affect my kids.
We happily attend family night at the book fairs together and save each other seats at concerts and ballgames. We invite each other to dinners and we shop for supplies together. We compare Christmas lists and birthday party plans. We all sat in two pews (because there were too many of us, not because we were purposely separated) on Sunday morning and watched Brynna get baptized.
And yeah, sometimes it's weird. Sometimes I have to talk to someone who hurt me when I am feeling vulnerable. And sometimes, I wonder why the hell he fixed her mailbox and mailbox was broken for four years. And sometimes, embarrassingly, I call out a thoughtless "Love you," when I'm trying to get the girls get in the car or get off the phone or whatever it is I need them to do.
But, let me tell you something. What started out as "be nice or die trying," slowly turned into the three of us laughing on her front porch on warm summer nights while the kids played in the yard. It turned into sharing stories and pictures and being flexible about weekends and crazy schedules. It turned into a lot of "whatevers" about stuff that could cause fights and "totally fines" about things that might not have always been totally fine.
It turned into friends.
Maybe that's weird, but I've always had a weird family. Now it's just a little weirder. And a lot bigger.
*Okay, so after I wrote all this, I started thinking about it from an outsider's perspective and I have disclaimers. THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE. Sometimes, the only safe thing to do is to build distance. Sometimes the best you can manage is business-like. This is in no way me saying "this is how you should do it." You - do you. Make that family work however you can make that family work. This is just me being slightly amazed and very, very thankful.