An Amicable Divorce!
We all helped load our luggage and food on the ferry that would take us to a Florida island with no cars, restaurants or grocery stores. One of the kids pointed out that this was just like quarantine…all of us in the house for a week together. I told them I agreed, but it was quarantine in the warm sunshine and coming from Chicago that was a big difference.
We had taken this same vacation the last 3 years…me, my four adult children and my ex-husband. Since we divorced almost 3 years ago, I still lived in the family house in the Chicago suburbs. My four children are students or on their own but since the Pandemic all 4 of them have been residing in my house at various times. Two of them pretty much permanent residents. My ex now lives in Washington DC with his girlfriend and her children in a house they own.
So how did we get here?
We were married for 27 years and the in that time we had built a great life, raised 4 awesome children and found ourselves living totally separate lives. I woke up one day and decided that I wanted more out of life…I wanted to be truly happy. Happiness became my goal.
Ending the marriage was hard but I approached it knowing we could all be happier when it was over. Children really just want to know they are loved and supported. Children also want both of their parents to be happy. And ideally, they don’t want their lives to be too disrupted.
Divorcing parents don’t want their lives to be too disrupted either. That is usually not possible…moves, new houses, new financial situations. But other disruptions can be very positive…a future to chart on our own, new situations, new love.
So, we worked hard on an amicable divorce. We negotiated a settlement we each thought was fair. He moved to where his job and best friend were. I stayed in the house with the kids coming and going. I got a new job. He found a new love. My adventures in dating are another story to tell…stay tuned!
A few months after the divorce we decided to take a version of the vacation we had taken the day after Christmas for the last 20 years. Some changes…new destination, I planned instead of him, split costs. Everybody says, “You do it for the kids”, which is true. But we do it for our family. Because even after a divorce, you are still a family and always will be.
Don’t get me wrong…this is work. You are navigating a new relationship with your ex after all these years with your kids listening. The old stuff will continue to drive you crazy…he still doesn’t cut his toe nails? But it’s different…you’re not married.
In my pursuit of happiness, I try to surround myself with love. No matter what that looks like in the future, this family has always been one of my greatest sources of love and joy. Our work to keep our divorce amicable has a great result…we get to keep that love!