Colleen was….lovely

Yes, I met Colleen.  She is the woman my ex-husband has been dating since I moved out (about all that here).  I was supposed to meet her last week but that was an aborted visit.

Tonight was the night.

How did this come about?  My ex and I do the transfer of my son on Sunday afternoons.  This morning he sent me the following text:

Today – do you want to pick [our son] up? Colleen and girls coming here this afternoon so might be nice way to meet and go when you need to? Casual, you get to meet her kids too, and then you can always go whenever you like.  I’d like you two to meet please if possible before his birthday and this seems to work. Thoughts?

I had two of my best friends staying with me over the weekend so this was a great time for girl power and encouragement – and I was already prepared to do so anyway – so I said yes.  My friends and I had a great day, hanging out, talking, little bit of shopping (yes, typical girl stuff), but we also installed curtain rods in my living room.  Lots of jokes made about screwing, of course.

At the designated time I drove to my ex’s place.  Also known as the house I lived in for 8 years until I moved out last summer.  I kept thinking that it would be weird if she offered me a drink and went into what I still kind of think of as my kitchen.

I felt like I looked awesome.  But not “trying too hard” awesome.  It was “I’m always this stylish and put together awesome”.  Grey tunic, tights, brown riding boots.  I was ready for anything.  I would be the epitome of grace and class.  I knew it would be weird for her as well, if not weirder.

She was…normal.  Shorter than me, with reddish short hair.  Kind face.  Not much makeup, if any.  Casually dressed.  Not skinny.  And running after her 3 year-old who refused to wear anything but her diaper (yes, still in a diaper but as a parent I have learned not to judge other parents) and today discovered “my” bidet so was wet from playing in the water (it’s fantastic for toddlers because they can send water shooting high up into the air of the bathroom).  Her other daughter was sitting with my son on a couch, both playing a “My Little Pony” game on iPads.

Within 5 seconds my ex had put a glass of red wine into my hand.  He knows me so well.  We all went into the living room and just chatted – but nothing heavy, we were saved from that by the constant attention of the 3 year-old.  And “my” dog running around and barking at creatures in the back yard.  I liked her.  She was…comfortable.  My ex was a bit nervous but he’s always been able to hide it well.

It wasn’t all easy for me.  It was weird to see my husband disciplining another child.  They have a kind of “instant family” thing going on…blended family with three kids, two parents, dog.  My son, my ex, my ex dog.  One thing I feel some anxiety about is that I can’t replicate that for my son.  My son, who has wanted siblings.  Now he has them, in a fashion, with this woman.  I’m alone in my (new) house.  He has the house which is the only one he ever knew, with his Daddy, his dog, but now with bonus siblings and a replacement Mummy.  They don’t live there, but they could.

I suppose I should be confident in the fact that he will only ever have one Mummy.  That’s me.  I had step-parents from a pretty early age and they never replaced my parents.  But still.  It’s a nagging fear deep down.

Either way, I liked her.  I wanted to like her because it would be awful if I didn’t, knowing how much time she spends with my son.  I want to get to know her better.  We joked that I should take her for a drink to give her the low-down on my ex’s family, before she meets them at his birthday party.  We just might do that.

Later this evening I got a simple text from my ex: Thank you.

0 thoughts on “Colleen was….lovely

  1. It sounds like a good start to an amicable relationship, which is as important for you and your peace of mind as it is for your son’s. When my wife and I got together and were married in 2008, we both brought two children — one boy, one girl each — into our new instant family. This included a son with Aspergers. It was tenuous at first, particularly the co-parenting part: My wife and I are very pro-active together in our parenting style, and our exes were both “the fun parents” on the weekends with few rules. Eventually, we all found our equilibrium and over the last few years have settled into a good relationship all the way around. It haas helped that both of our exes are now in relationships with people we get along with. This was a good first step in that direction; and I would totally follow up with a drink or two with your ex’s new wife 😉

    • Wow, Ned…that’s great that you were able to find that “equilibrium”, as you put it. My parents did as well – they wrote their own joint custody agreement in 1979, without a lawyer. They moved into the same co-op complex to enable me to live week-on, week-off (which I did until I went away to school). They never used me as an inbetween or a mediator in their relationship. Family events have involved all four of my parents for a very long time. My ex and I are trying to emulate them…so far, so good!

      • I’m so glad to hear that. The first two years after our divorce, my ex lived a block away, which was great for the kids — which is what it’s all about. Though my ex and I would never hang out together if we didn’t know each other, we’re going to be a part of each other’s lives for the rest of our own as parents. Once you reach that realization and common ground, the best thing to do is make the most of it. We don’t always agree on things but we always try our best to get along.

  2. I’m so glad to hear it went well.

    And that you’re both not hating each other on sight.

    I think as a parent, especially one that isn’t part of the instant family it’s only natural for you to feel the way you are.

    One day hopefully you’ll all be so comfortable with each other that those thoughts don’t even cross your mind anymore. Till then though, just remember that you are an awesome mother!!

    • Thanks, Hook. I was very pleased with myself. Like I have my big girl panties on. I need to do something rash and immature now to offset this maturity-level achievement. Any suggestions?

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