In honor of National Step Family Day today, yes that’s seriously a thing, I felt the need to tell you my thoughts after an acquaintance who follows the social media accounts I run with my co-mom Lindsey, asked me a few days ago if everyday is a struggle? I wasn’t sure how to respond or react to a question like that. Is my life a daily struggle? Excuse me? Do I have “the look” of someone who is trying but not succeeding? I was a little embarrassed and pissed to be honest. In the 15 speechless seconds that followed I must have showed that emotion in my face because they followed up with, “I mean is it a struggle to be friends with your coparents, to live life so close and openly with them?”
Insert deep sigh. It seems that my life is something of an anomaly. I’d be lying if at times I’d like a normal life. I know, I know, it’s 2018, what is normal? Yet still those from the outside looking in at my life do it with a sense of wonder. It’s as if they are walking the streets of NYC at Christmas time and looking through the windows at Macy’s “ooooing and awing”! My family is on display. Yes, I put them there, I chose this public life and although my story is but a tiny spec on the social media world, it can be overwhelming.
Calm down, this is not a woe is me moment. I’m not coming on my blog after almost a year off to say “my life is so crazy pity me please”. I think I’m honestly just in awe of where I’m at. Life is good. How do you write about that? How do you brag about that to those who ask you if it’s a struggle? I know so many people who struggle with coparenting, who’s kids are torn between parents, who spend thousands of dollars in legal fees for years because they don’t have what I have. So how do I look at those people who ask if it’s a struggle or How do I do it? When my answer is I just do. I don’t think too hard about it. It just made sense to let it all go and do what’s best for my kids? I sound a little bit like an asshole to them I’m sure. Excuse my language (sorry mom).
Having a healthy coparenting relationship brings with it a lot of GUILT. I feel bad that I have figured it out so far. I’m not trying to rub it in anyone’s face. I just want everyone to know it’s possible to make it work. Yet, still when I tell my story or make posts like this I can practically feel the anger or resentment of those who are still trying to work it out. I’ve even been told to just to admit I’m lying about my relationship with Lindsey. I didn’t of course. It’s almost like I’m being fat shamed or skinny shamed as a woman but instead I’m being shamed for being friends with my coparents.
Listen, I’ve always been an overly apologetic person. It’s a hard habit to break, but one thing I’ve decided to stop apologizing for is getting along with Lindsey and Kelly. Honestly I like them. Come on, tell me you don’t know anyone who hasn’t made a mistake, but you still stayed their friend or you still invited them to family dinner on Sunday? You all have. Someone out there has done you wrong and you loved them anyway. So why is it so hard to fathom that I like my ex husband and his wife still? Ya’ll it’s exhausting trying to hate on someone. Especially someone you have to deal with almost daily!
The struggle is just that, hating. I don’t wake up in the morning and think, oh I gotta fake it till I make it when Lindsey calls or texts. Do we get sick of each other? Absolutely. However, I can honestly say that my anger from almost 5 years ago has turned to a deep gratitude and appreciation for her in my life now. We will forever be linked. We will forever be the mothers to our children. Kelly will always be my girls dad and Brandon will always be Lindsey’s son’s dad. Biology folks. So am I supposed to be upset about it? I mean, I chose Kelly to father my kids, and Lindsey chose Brandon. It’s convenient at this point that we chose each other’s exes to be our spouses of course, but in all seriousness, the healing of our relationship truly began when we let it all go.
Today at church we sat in the same row together we have for about the past year now. Lindsey, Kelly, the kids, then Brandon and I. Kamryn our 12 year old had her head on my shoulder. It’s not Brandon and I’s weekend so I’ve missed her the past few days and love when she cuddles up on me at church. I glanced over at Coen and Jordyn our two nine year olds, they were all that separated me from Kelly my ex husband. Jordyn had her head on Coen’s shoulder and they were both leaned up against Kelly. There is no “Step” in this family. There is no “my dad” or “my mom”. I nudged Brandon, who five years ago would have probably felt sad or even angry watching his son snuggle up to another man, but instead pulled out his phone and snapped a picture.
That is the struggle right there. Holding back the tears in those tender moments. The struggle is not being able to shout out to everyone around me “DO YOU SEE HOW AWESOME THIS IS?!” So please ask me if my everyday coparenting is a struggle and I’ll smile and say, “Yeah it is. I struggle everyday with the fact that not every coparent has what we have.”