When I married, I was sure I was going to have a pretty traditional family.
Well, ok. Maybe not traditional. I mean, it's *my* family, right? I'm pretty out there some times.
But traditionally structured. Husband, wife, two kids. Pets. House. All that stuff.
That didn't quite work out. For many, varied reasons that paint neither of us in a flattering light, my husband and I split awhile back. It was really hard on me. I mean, you always think, when you get married, "This is the one. The one I love forever, the one I'll always be happy with, and if there are problems, they'll be fixable. Because it's forever." But the reality of those problems and issues are sometimes just too much. And it's heartbreaking, because you feel like you lost your future. And it seems like no one will ever love you again, like all your flaws and issues were just too much. And you wonder if you just botched it, what you could have done differently, why it's all your fault. It's quite horrible, to say the least.
Fast forward to now. After all of the drama of the split, Mike and I are actually really good friends. We talk every couple of days, and it's very comforting. Even though we aren't together, we have such a shared history that we understand and relate to each other. We've talked about his recent breakup, about my current relationship, about a plethora of other things. I still very much consider him to be a huge part of my family. This is, happily, not at all a problem for my significant other. At my daughter's second birthday, both guys sat around, talking to each other, to me...and everything was pretty happy. I'm not going to say it wasn't a long, weird, hard process to get to where we are. There were certainly times where I never thought we could all happily co-exist either. And there are certainly times where it's still weird or hard. But I always had the shining example of my parents, who weren't together, but who were amazing co-parents and treated each other with genuine like and respect.
Today, Rhi and I are at the boyfriend's house. Since tonight is Mike's night with the baby, he'll pick her up here. Lots of times, he'll show up with McDonald's teas for the baby, Shane, and me. He and I will talk briefly, I'll kiss the baby, I'll give Mike a hug, and they'll go off. Tomorrow, I'll go pick her up, and spend some time at Mike's mom's house, hanging out while he fixes a belt on my car and recharges the freon. We may run to Hyvee and get some California rolls to split. We'll discuss the computer he's buying from Shane. It'll be completely un-normal, and far removed from traditional, but nice nonetheless.
I may not have wound up with my original idea of the perfect family, but this one...filled with love and light and friends and respect...is pretty damn amazing.