We did it and no one turned into a pumpkin. We did it and no one cried. We did it and while parts of it were awkward and new, overall it was surprisingly normal. Our kids starred in the school play for three nights and we were ALL there to support them. My parents and brother, my ex's parents and siblings, our mutual friends and most importantly my ex-husband, his girlfriend, myself and my boyfriend. All there. In rows of seats, together. We applauded, we kvelled and we smiled at each other knowingly. In the end, our kids felt loved. They felt supported and surrounded by people so invested in them that everything else was less important. They were the priority, the spotlight and they were amazing (yes, I'm bragging).
It's been close to a year and a half since we separated and the course of our lives has finally begun to calm. Things have a "new normal" kind of feel. With our divorce final, there is much less to discuss, argue about or negotiate. Now we are in the pattern of day to day co-parenting and living our own lives, separate from each other. The new people in our lives have been vested in getting to know our kids and after much hesitation, we've both begun to embrace that.
That's not to say it's all rainbows and unicorns. It's not. We still do not communicate the same way, causing bickering and misunderstanding. We haven't quite mastered the right way to ask for scheduling switches, assuring homework done at the other house and permission slips signed. The kids are slowly learning to feel less stressed when they realize that their favorite shoes were left at the other house and we are better about fetching it for each other. Some days however, this can still cause a meltdown for one kid or another. This is hard work and we work hard at it.
In fact, I've come to realize that divorce is just that, work. It's not all that different from parenting. We have to pick our battles, embrace the great days and try not to dwell on the shitty ones. Divorce requires patience, trust and a wicked sense of humor. Most days you know you made the right call. You see it in your kids, in your self and in your ex. But on some rare occasions, you miss your "family," you miss the normal everyone around you seems to have. You miss the life you had. The right decision doesn't make it easy or painless, just right.
So there we were, all of us staring up at those faces beaming with pride as they took their final curtain call and I was as proud of them as I was of us.