We learn a lot around here, all of us. We’re blending, damn it, and it’s not easy.
Aside from the very tangible experience of learning how to live with each other and share one bathroom, there’s the larger issue and stark reality of shared parenting and adjusting to life post-divorce. For Cohen and Lily, going from one house to another is not easy. And it’s not for easy for Seth either.
Personally, having never had to truly share Benjamin, that is new territory for me as well. All I can say is that divorce, as awful as this sounds, must be easier when the kids are too little to know what is going on. Benjamin, as some of you may recall, was four months old. And while that had its own set of challenges, parents of older children going through a divorce have it even harder.
My hat’s off to all of you.
As for me, the only thing I can do is wait patiently and do the best I can to encourage open, positive communication between all of us. We’ll get there and all adults are making a concerted effort to do so.
Oh, and then the three kids have their own relationships between each other.
As you can imagine, Seth and I are constantly tuned in on a daily basis–who needs a special outing with just their Dad today? Or who needs to talk or spend one-on-one time with me or Benjamin?
When all else fails, I break out a puppet. Pat the Cat is my go-to.
The gender neutral child’s best friend. I don’t know why Pat is gender neutral, I just thought it would be funny to have the kids guess when they asked and then it sparked an entire conversation that took me back to my days in women’s studies classes at OU.
But seriously, the kids will tell anything to Pat even though she is clearly sitting on my arm. It’s incredible. Try it if you are trying to get them to open up about their feelings.
Aside from all of that serious business we also learned that knock off crocs don’t last. That Lily would like to be She-Ra for Halloween and that 80′s cartoons are just as awesome now as they were then.
That six and seven year olds can feed themselves breakfast, but not without a few spills. That if American Girl emails you to sample a movie kit for the new McKenna Shooting for the Stars DVD and you say “yes” you’ll end up with a box bursting with dozens of samples.
The boys have learned that toys can mysteriously appear at the door. Giant boxes of toys. I explained carefully that American Girl had emailed us and that it was a bit of a fluke. They seemed to understand that and then asked me to tell Lego and G.I. Joe they are more than willing to offer a review. Needless to say Lily gives the American Girl doll crafts a two Lily thumbs up.
We’ve learned that many people assume many things about us and are quick to judge. We’ve learned that ignoring them is definitely the best policy.
We’ve learned that many of you think Uncle Ben is hot. I have to agree, my brother-in-law is as advertised and definitely packs a whole lot of handsome on a daily basis.
However, we are going to keep him and his relationship status a continued mystery as it is a bit “complicated.” In the meantime, you can still keep dreaming…
I have learned that bikers actually clean those things.
I also learned that even though I can remember it like it was yesterday, the day my little sister kicked her boyfriend in the you know whats was actually 23 years ago.
P.S. That little spit fire of a girl grew up and earned her masters in Creative Writing from University of Virginia. She put her feet to better use later as a soccer and track star in high school and later at the University of Iowa. When Anna wrote that she was just a few years older then Lily.
We also sent the kids off to their first days of school (first grade for the boys, second for Lily). In which we learned that Lily looks even taller in her little one inch wedges and that all three of them play just a hard as they fight.
[P.S. Lily's Oilily dress is from the thrift store!]
The best anecdote about parenthood I ever read is this–the days are long but the years are fast. I’m hoping this blog (which forces me to spend hours re-hashing and digging up pictures) will be something they can all read later to help preserve all of this. Because, in spite of it all, this has to be one of the best times in our lives.