I was robbed of having an ex-husband. I never had a chance to figure out how to co-parent or balance an ex with a new relationship. Some friends have remarked that I’m lucky in that way. Ha!
I really felt, when Mike and I separated, that we’d eventually fall into a rhythm, a separate-lives-but-always-intertwined sort of understanding. I honestly thought we’d maintain a friendship revolving around the kids. We were together for almost 20 years. We knew each other in a way no one else could ever imagine – we matured from college to grad school to life to parenthood. It was a bond no one else could ever be part of. Even if we wouldn’t be together, we’d remain attached.
Perhaps it’s because of this mindset that I “get” B’s relationship with his ex-wife. I’ve met her on a couple of occasions, usually in passing as they’d exchange the kids with one another.
Of course, B told stories about her. And, of course, I’d done my own research. Based on her Pinterest boards and some stuff she’d posted publicly on FB, I thought we could be friends (if things were different).
That’s why when B proposed going to the circus with all four kids – and his ex-wife – I was totally game.
B was nervous to ask if I’d be okay with the ex coming along. She wanted to be there when her girls experienced their first circus. She and B make an effort to do things together with their kids every month or so. And she’s their mom – she SHOULD be part of these things. I was totally cool with it.
I was only concerned that Ethan would ask wildly inappropriate questions of her. B laughed at this thought and said he should totally mess with her. (I disagreed and bribed E with Pokemon cards if he was on his best behavior.)
So we all went to the circus. Me and Ethan and Lauren. B and his ex and their two girls.
The ex greeted me with a HUGE hug, complimented my hair, and acted like we’d known each other for years. She shook E’s hand and told Lauren she liked her dress. And we were off.
We arrived just as the circus was starting. Good timing, considering three of the four kids are UNDER the age of four (meaning no one has any patience to wait). Lauren and B’s daughter (who’s the same age as L) both sat on my lap. The baby sat on the ex’s lap with Ethan sitting at her side. (E adores the baby, and the baby LOVES E, so they wanted to sit close.) B sat next to me and the girls.
We watched. We laughed. We ooh’d and ahh’d. B and I held hands and made our own commentary about the ridiculous acts – like SkyMan, a completely generic superhero whose act was basically one bungee cord trick after another.
After two hours, the circus went into intermission and all three little girls broke down. So we left before someone was shot out of the cannon (bummer).
It was really a fun morning with B and his girls…and the ex. The ex and I parted ways with another big hug and a few laughs in the parking garage elevator. Later, the ex told B that it was obvious why he liked me, saying that we share the same sense of silly, nerdy humor. She also said E and L were awesome, and she liked spending time with us.
The ex is always going to be part of B’s life, and as we approach the one-year mark of our relationship, I hope to be part of B’s life for a long time, too. I think there’ll be more outings, just the seven of us…