We met when we were young; he was five years my senior. I was fresh out of college and into the workforce; a teacher with lots of dreams, a desire to change the world, and looking for someone to share it with. He was the best man at one of my best friend’s wedding: the brother of the groom. We were very good friends: he challenged me intellectually, nurtured all of my qualities (if maybe to a fault) and It worked.
My profession was one that supported starting young, marrying young, procreating young, but also retiring young. His was one of long hours, heavy intellect, but good wealth.
Our personalities were as opposite as the nature of our careers, education and upbringing. He was the ying to my yang. I was the “larger personality” in the equation, and, over time, our individual variables changed. Mine magnified, and no longer fit well into any equation that was healthy for me.
But we had a beautiful son. And then another. Two beautiful baby boys, both embodying the two of us.
So, looking at my children, in their eyes, I see their father; which drives me to treat him with love, kindness and respect. I see a family that still exists, but just in a different form. I see a father who wants to be the best for his children and who honors their mother. We make trades and sacrifices; I extend breastfeed, which can challenge our schedule. He obsesses over baseball, creating similar challenges. He will think that is funny…sort of…because we understand each other. 12 years of knowing each other can do that to you.
Now, there is a third part to our equation. And choosing him was easy for so many reasons; one of them because he encourages the relationship between my Ex and myself and supports his role, when appropriate, in our larger family unit. My ex, for his part, is respectful of my marriage and gets along very well with my husband and my stepson. Things, of course, aren’t always easy. Nothing is, though; whenever humans involved, so are feelings. But, in reality, we all are acutely aware of how important it is for us to authentically get along for all of our children. So that is how we do it; we put them first. Always. And we lead with kindness.