First of all, Happy Easter to you and to all and to us! Our first Easter together as a blended family was pretty damn awesome. The girls awoke to their Easter baskets, and then DD1 accused me of being the Easter Bunny, wtf? Already? I told her the Easter Bunny uses the same baskets like Santa uses the same stockings, and she gave the “MOM, SERIOUSLY?” look and then decided to play along. DD2 was ecstatic, so it was hard not to go along with her sweet enthusiasm. At least, that’s my hope. Or maybe it was the yellow PEEPS.
And…we took A to church with us, and while the girls were at Sunday school, I took him all around and introduced him to all our church aunties who gave him big hugs and congratulated us and basically welcomed him with open arms. Then, during the church Easter egg hunt, DD1 and one of her best Sunday school pals found the two special GOLDEN EGGS, they couldn’t have been more excited and proud! My usually camera shy daughter was all about taking a pic with her pal, grinning from ear to ear.
It also kind of made my heart swoon to see DD1 introduce A to her two Sunday school teachers, and to see everyone hug him and just say how they were so happy to finally meet him, that DD1 was so excited about the wedding, and then watch him charm them likewise with his sweetheart, kind and cheerful self, lol. (While his mom was catholic and his dad agnostic, he is quite uncomfortable with church settings, but agreed to come—Easter and Christmas Eve, that’s all I ask!) So, I thought it very big of him to come join us on this special holiday, and that he participated in the flowering of the cross—made my heart swoon some more.
And…apparently while I was busy with the girls (and their little friends who usually sit with us—a pew of whispering girls and their coloring books, yes, yes, whatever I can do to keep them quiet, so sue me, but honestly, our church is welcoming and understanding of little ones in the pews!) get their flowers in the cross, a hullaballoo transpired on the side behind the choir benches—one of the choir aunties slipped and fell, and who was on hand to save her? My lovely, A. Thank goodness she wasn’t hurt, she just needed help up, but that made A a kind of rock star of the Easter Sunday service, lol, with all the ladies coming up to him during the Easter refreshments thanking him. Awww! And right before we left, we took our FIRST blended family picture at the flowered cross. Seriously, I want to kind of melt away right now just thinking about it.
And so along this lovely happiness, there was some crappy shit to deal with. Rawr. I offered time-sharing with the girls’ father, as it is a special holiday, but one that is not covered in our otherwise very specific and detailed divorce decree. He responded with bullying and control moves, insisting only on the time-frame that would interfere with our church activities. Cue dramatic e-mauls from him, and after trying to negotiate in good faith on my own, was forced to consult with my attorney and our co-parenting counselor, who said she would do her best to talk to him about it. And even AFTER following their advice, and getting more e-mauls in my inbox, I finally had to give up “negotiating,” looked him the e-eye, and said that since we couldn’t come to an agreement, I would follow our decree that this was my parenting week end, period. Which totally sucked and I know I’m supposed to do this, be strong and stand up. I also know it’s in the best interest of the children to spend time with BOTH families on these special days, that despite his shittiness, there is a grandma and uncles and aunties involved, too. The girls don’t understand the bullshit, they just know they have two houses with people who love them—even though I worry about the crazy dynamic over there, I do know the importance of those bonds. Yet he still wouldn’t budge, kept threatening and pulling back and sending controlling crap about showing up at my house and accusing me of accusing him of not being religious (wtf?).
Until…after 48 agonizing hours of worrying and fretting that I was being too hard-ass and fucking up the time-sharing, he relented. He agreed! And so then the time-sharing went seamlessly, I dropped the girls off after church and they got to spend time with him and their grandma and extended family and open Easter baskets over there in the afternoon. He wasn’t able to come to my house and linger and be creepy, I was able to maintain that boundary as well—I went to pick them back up when it was time. But all this couldn’t happen without this heart-wrenching, gut-busting, bawling stress about it. Rawr.
So then DD1 asked me about why I get 10,000 hours with the girls, but daddy only gets a few. I reminded her that in our case, the judge makes the rules and that we are following her rules. Then she asked if we could ask the judge to change her mind, and I asked her if she could ask her teacher or her principal if they would change their minds about the rules at school, and she said, very thoughtfully, no. Then I asked her—did you have fun at dad’s house? And both girls said Yes! So then I said, you know, I think the judge made the rules that I take care of you a lot, because I’m your mom. And the judge also wanted to make sure you had time with dad so that you could have fun with him and be sure your time with him was good, and so you could love your dad and he loves you, too, right? And then DD1 said, Yes! And I asked her if that helped her understand, and she said she felt better about it. I wonder if these messages will sink in okay—I sit up thinking and re-thinking about how I respond to these complicated questions. Especially knowing that DD1 feels like she has to take care of her dad, because she is such a sensitive soul, and even the play therapist says this is a concern (but not a problem, yet, DD1 does well in school, social activities, etc.)—and one that hopefully she’ll grow out of. I hope DD1 will learn one day that taking care of him is not her issue, but his. I hope. In the meantime, I can only love her and support her and set boundaries and explain as best as I can. Right?
So, it’s the day after Easter, and I know deep down that Easter is about resurrection and the miracle of being alive. The message from our pastor was that we see miracles of renewal and rebirth all the time—whether its addiction recovery or health recovery or making fundamental changes in our lives to make it better. And part of getting to that place—that ‘better life,’ that ‘new’ life I keep writing about—part of it is going through the shit, no matter how painful, while maintaining the light. Our soul, our hearts, our goodness that we have, to keep it in tact, and not get trampled, not let our little light be buried by the crap. Or…if it is buried, if it is extinguished, being able to pull it back from the darkness. To re-light it and make a better version of ourselves.
Rebirth and its miracle--is living a good life—of letting the light in and letting it take up so much room in our hearts and minds that there is no room for the petty bullshit, the smallness of someone who wants to control and bully and whatever. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter what he is thinking or why he is being controlling. It’s forgiving the past (though not forgetting), and living for our present and our future.
My A says this is rainbows and unicorns talking, because he gets so frustrated when he sees my ex attempt to bully and control and e-maul. But A has promised me that he will try and adopt this mindset, to set aside his alpha male instinct to fight and protect, to grow in understanding that in engaging in the e-maul and pettiness, he is adding to it. And rather than add to it, A has promised he will do his best and that in time, he will see it is not rainbows and unicorns, but that we are building our own version of our special golden egg, a life filled with beautiful surprises and love. We make our own miracles and we overcome our adversities by living a happy life. <3