The holidays are here again. I’ve been thinking about years past and happy memories, family photos and how things have changed. Over the years my family has changed. We’ve added members and subtracted members. We’ve become a modern family.
One thing that doesn’t change is that I’m a divorced mom. I have a son and a daughter and we are a family no matter what. But, my children have a more extended family. During this holiday season we’re expecting a visit from my kid’s little brother by another mother. His mother will be visiting as well. She’s my first husband’s second wife but she’s his ex now too. She and I have always gotten along. She used to drive up on weekends, pick up my kids, take care of them and bring them back home.
We became close over the years and when he broke her heart I was there to listen. I certainly know how she feels. Been there, done that. I have nothing but respect for her. She has a career. She has values. She has raised a wonderful son on her own. And I consider her family. I guess I can say one nice thing about that ex. He has good taste in women. It seems we were both his “type,” if there is such a thing.
“Type” was sure the case when I met my second husband’s first wife. We had just started dating at the time and She wanted to meet me. In fact she invited me to lunch to meet. I thought it was weird and I was nervous but my boyfriend assured me that she had only good intentions. We’d be co-parenting and I figured she wanted to feel me out. Looking back I’m sure it was actually He wanting her to meet me to show her that he had someone new. But none of that mattered because we got along really well.
In fact I found I was quite a carbon copy of her and had we met under different circumstances we probably would have been besties. So I guess we were also the same “type.” As time went on we married and I spent quite a bit of time getting along with my first husband’s second wife and my second husband’s first wife.
It seems we really were quite similar and I won’t go into all the details but in the end I found I had been a replacement and never really had my husband’s full attention. I found the same faults in him that his first wife had and along with a lot of other things I couldn’t live with I eventually bailed. My heart was broken again but this time it wasn’t because of leaving him. It was because of leaving them. I really had gotten very close to his family and to his children. Even worse was that my children had gotten close to his children. They were a family too. I really struggled with my decision but I knew it was the right thing for me and for my kids. We found a rental house and planned our move.
As we finished packing the truck my daughter turned to her stepsister and tearfully said goodbye. To our surprise, her stepsister said, “what are you talking about? I’m coming with you. I just called my mom and she said I could spend the night at your mom’s new house.” That still makes me laugh. But it’s horrible at the same time. Those kids had been through so much and yet they managed to roll with the punches. It was breaking my heart to divorce his children but as it turns out I didn’t have to. Over the five years that we had become a family I had become very close with their mother. To be honest, she treated me better than he did. After all, we’re the same “type.”
It’s important to maintain relationships. It’s important for the kids to know that they matter and that they’re still included. My stepdaughter spent a lot of time with us after the divorce. Her mom and I became even better friends. She spent several nights a week with me. She went on vacations with me and when I got married again she and her brother and mother came to my wedding. Now that they are all grown we stay in touch with social media. I’m not their mom or grandma to their kids but they know I didn’t leave them.
There are so many scenarios to relationships. I think it’s important to lay blame with the two people in the marriage when it fails. Don’t blame the next woman or the last one. She probably came into the relationship just as blind as you did. It’s very likely that she will be the main caregiver to your children when they are at their dad’s house. Try to see how she is dealing with your kids. She may be doing a great job. You may just find that you enjoy the weekends that she has your kids and you are doing something else and feeling secure that they are being well taken care of. You may just find that you have a lot in common with her. She’s part of your modern family and just maybe she can become your “type.”