Image credit <here>
I am so happy right now I can’t even stand it.
DD2’s end of the year school performance was today.
And…on the phone yesterday with her dad, DD2 informed her dad that hubby was coming, and asked if we could all sit together. (which was news to me; and to which the ex replied with: uh…um…I don’t know about that).
Hubby overheard the conversation, and asked me if he went, would the Ex sit with us? To which I responded, no, he’d likely sit elsewhere, but was he thinking of coming (but didn’t push it too hard)? And then at dinner both DDs were asking A if he was going to come watch them in their respective performances. Each explained how much they wanted him to come, how big the shows were (seriously, bigger than a prom!).
I was most nonchalant about it—saying it was nice they wanted A to be there—and yes, they are huge productions, the whole school is involved, it’s pretty much the be all end all of school productions. In fact it’s so big at DD1’s school they can only accommodate it every other year (instead of every year).
Hubby checked his work schedule, realized he would definitely miss DD1’s, but DD2’s he was available and also realized that given the circumstances, he’d be unable to attend any other school event for a long time.
I let him know that I’d be going, I was going super butt early, because parents at DD2’s school have proven to be eager beavers (I thought an hour early at the Christmas pageant would be fine, and I was in the back row, ha!), and if he decided to come, I’d save him a seat.
So, up at the break of dawn, breakfast down the hatch, DD1 dropped off at school, DD2 dropped off to kindergarten, I had two and half (yes TWO and a HALF) hours to kill. And believe it or not, I was not the first one there. I saved some primo seats for me and hubby, not knowing if he’d actually show up, texted him where said awesome seats were and then went for a little walk to get some errands done. When I got back to the school grounds, I still had TWO hours to kill, so I sat in the cafeteria knitting some socks for my mom and a little while later, finally meandered to our awesome seats. Chatted with a nice grandma visiting from Australia to see her grandson (and who was also very interested in my sock project—apparently she wanted to learn to knit, too!).
Lo and behold, hubby appeared. I was flabbergasted. So happy.
This is a big deal because for the last two and a half years, since we got engaged and then married, hubby was absolutely adamant that he didn’t want to meet the ex until he was comfortable—and he just couldn’t bring himself to meet the person who continues to cause pain to the girls and grief to me. I brought him to the attorney, the girls’ play therapist, about how and why a meeting with a stepdad and dad was so important. We even discussed this in counseling and just didn’t get anywhere.
My position was--I thought it would be good for the kids to see that all the adults they love could be in one place and be civil. No, I didn’t think that they should have a sit down interview (which is what the Ex demanded to have in the beginning), but a shake the hands, a wave, a hello at a drop off or pick up or at a school event would be just fine. Again, for the kids’ benefit—how could hubby not see that it was important? And also, because it would suck the wind out of the Ex’s sails as I’m always “the bad guy”—and the Ex was constantly (with reason) pulling the “poor me, I don’t know this man who is spending time with my children.” (of course every parent should be able to meet the SO, if needed, especially if SO is living with the kids, so I actually agreed with this one). I was endlessly frustrated at hubby’s refusal to come to the girls’ school events.
And hubby was endlessly frustrated with me for attempting to force him to go. It became a battle of wills—me feeling terrible, because he wouldn’t go for the girls or for me—him, because I wasn’t being supportive of his thoughts and feelings on the matter. Like I’ve said before, blending families is not for the faint of heart.
I finally accepted that hubby wouldn’t come. And after I thought about it, without the attorney or the play therapist or co-parenting urging a meeting to happen, I understood it a little better—ex continues to be a jerk to the kids and to me, so if that’s how hubby handles it—with distance, well then, ok. (p.s. hubby is NEVER disrespectful about the girls’ dad when they speak of dad, hubby has learned to be positive and understands the importance of never being negative). On several occasions over the last six months, hubby acknowledged that he knew it was important—he just wasn’t ready. I learned to let it go, to always invite him to come with me, and not argue or respond with frustration when he refused. Hubby said he would go when he was ready, and I had to believe him.
So…today he showed up. For DD2 who lit up in smiles as soon as she saw him (and me), for me, so I could feel that I was a real family, instead of always on edge, wondering when and where the ex would be (don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly civil, but it’s stressful to do these events alone).
When we were gathered by DD2, who gave us lots of hugs each, I introduced step-father to father, they shook hands, smiled, all in front of a watchful DD2.
And my heart is happy. A big step just happened. Maybe this is an easy step for blended families out there, but given all the pain and suffering and abusive history with the girls dad…this was a long time coming for us. I am so thankful.
By the way, the school performance was wonderful. I’m basking in the happiness of DD2 grinning and singing her heart out, too. In her happy smiles at seeing all her people there.
After the performance was over, the ex said goodbye to DD2 without any drama. Hubby and I walked DD2 back to her classroom and then checked her out of class (it’s a mom week end). We even got a pic of the three of us together, taken by the teacher.
All is well with the world. Yay!