So my kids met the new girlfriend of my ex (their dad) this weekend. It was hard for me to not tell them that she was coming (I knew from other family members), but as an afterthought, he didn’t tell them until a few hours before he arrived with her for the weekend. I am just grateful that he finally told them instead of surprising them with her unexpected arrival – like tada! Here’s my girlfriend, be happy for me.
Because both my kids are very close with me, they needed to vent about the weekend and at first, I was ok with it. But I will admit I had a hard time sleeping last night because even though I don’t want my ex back, his continuous affection with the girlfriend in front of the kids which made them uncomfortable and one even said, oh my gosh mom they needed to get a room – gross! made me sad. As did his parents’ overwhelming sucking up (as one kid put it) to the new girlfriend. Add to the fact that ex’s very catholic parent declared that his girlfriend would be staying with him in his bedroom within 5 minutes of my kids meeting her added to my kids feeling hurt. And let me be honest here, I’m hurting a little bit too.
But I’m their Mom first and foremost, so I listened as they vented to me about their weekend. I laughed when they told funny stories and shared in the uncovering of the weird family dynamics which came to light under the circumstances. I was really proud of them that they realized a lot about human nature by observing and questioning motives by many of his family members and their dad himself. They got it, what I’ve been seeing now that I’m out of the family loop. The incredibly unhealthy dysfunctional way in which they interact. They named the healthy family members and luckily sought them out to bond with and were more mute around the toxic ones. It’s sad when your kids who idolized certain family members realize reality. Heck, it took me a long time to do so myself, but now that I’m healthier, I can see it. I’m grateful that at their ages, they can see it too.
I’m ok with having been replaced because I do not want the ex back and I have been enjoying the freedom from being away from his family. Even the kids were saying how happy I am lately and how they are loving seeing their mom in a good place. I feel it too which I love sharing with them. It’s been a transition to say the least from the woman who was married to the divorced mom, but I am liking my life even better now. Time does heal in mysterious ways.
The best part was this: both my kids said that they love their dad and his family. They liked the new girlfriend even though the situation was weird. They were happy that their dad seemed happy because he was all over her (girlfriend) the whole time. But most importantly, both told me that we three are family and that we three are the most important to them (meaning me and the the kids). One even went so far as to tell me that if anything happened to his dad or to his family, he would be sad, but that I am everything to him and as his best friend and mom, he didn’t know what he’d do without me. He said that he was so grateful that we’ve all found peace and that he was able to have home with mom and his sibling and not with his dad.
And isn’t that what taking the high road is all about? It’s instilling confidence in our kids and giving them security to feel what they feel, to say what they want to say without disrespecting them and to hold steady a place of peace, love and understanding for them to blossom.
My heart was heavy that they had to experience this weekend, but it’s healing because we’ve gotten through it as a family, just like we are supposed to do it. I’m also grateful that they like his new girlfriend and that they still find love for their dad and his family, but that they can see what they hadn’t seen before.
Love is a grey area, I tell my kids this all the time. It’s not black and white. It’s grey and all the shades in between. Love is not I love you when you do, act, be x, y, z, but instead, I love all of your parts and I accept you for the person you are. They get it, especially after this weekend. Nobody’s perfect, but we can still love them, each in our own ways.