I always hate these gratitude posts because hearing about what's going WELL in someone's life is about as exciting as hearing what they dreamt last night. I learned that in Writing 101. Write about conflict! Torture your characters! THAT's what people want to read.
So here goes my attempt at a little of both:
This year I'm exceptionally grateful for David. Our friendship is still adolescent, but it's been an immense growing opportunity for our family. Learning to trust him again in a space where I no longer feel anger or judgment has freed me up for some really tough shit I need to work on. I've been carrying around a lot of shame for not being a better mother and he has been kind and receptive to that discussion. Instead of making it a competition, I'm learning to accept that he is simply the better parent. Don't get me wrong, I think it's pretty obvious that I love my children and I know I'm closer to the "good mom" end of the spectrum than the "fucked-up" one, but he is able to be there for them in ways I simply can't.
I've been working through this unproductive stream of negative self-bashing for years, but David's friendship has helped me see it objectively. It's simply a fact. I'm hoping this acceptance will free me up to be more present with the kids when they're here and to focus on giving them my strengths instead of punishing myself (and in the end, them) for my weaknesses.
All parents have strengths and weaknesses. Married or not, isn't that what all parents are supposed to do? Fill in one another's gaps?
Of course Dave just sent me pictures of them having fun with their cousins and now I'm all sad that they're not here with me on Thanksgiving. But they were here yesterday! I got to play charades with them! And make midnight pancakes with them! And take them all to Wunderland! Alex even hit a 500 ticket jackpot!
I also got to watch myself hit my limit with them and nearly have a panic attack with all four of them in my car while stuck in day-before-Thanksgiving traffic. All parents also hit their limits with their children.
Usually I would feel resentment about it, but this year I feel nothing but extreme gratitude that sometimes being a good mother means the best thing I can do for my children is to take them back to their dad's house.
Thank you, David. I mean it.