I said I would never divorce.
I am the child of divorced parents, and I had no intentions of putting my children through that experience. “Life,” however, had other plans and I find myself in the midst of separation. This set of circumstances forces me to examine my past experience in hopes to prepare both myself and my children for life after a marriage dissolves.
I watched my father become bitter and spew vile things about my mother. My mother did not respond in kind. Very quickly, my father’s behavior backfired, and he toned it down tremendously. My take away: I will not speak ill of my former husband to my children.
My father remarried within two years of separating from my mother. My stepmother had children as well. The effort to make them appear as a nuclear family caused my paternity to be called into question by outsiders. Additionally, there was no relationship built between my brother and me and my stepmother. As a result, I felt like I was visiting my father at a bed and breakfast every other weekend. My take away: Respect original family bonds while creating a unique relationship among blended family members.
My father was always within 30 minutes of driving distance. We saw him regularly and consistently; my parents did not dispute visitation and any adjustments were made smoothly. My dad was present at all major events and at plenty of minor ones, too. It was important to my mother that we maintain a good relationship with him despite the issues we had in the blended home, so much so that she placed us in therapy. My take away: Adult issues should not interfere with child visitation. Both parents are important.
As I transition from being married to being separated, my parents are coming together to help. I know that I can be a successful coparent as long as I have a cooperative ex (and so far, I do). Plus, I have a unique vantage point of when trying to blend goes wrong, and I hope this will help me when I find love again. My children and I will be just fine.