My beloved new car has bug guts all over it. Why? Because I drove Keri to Kentucky yesterday to meet her former stepmother. My ex-husband's ex-wife. Why? Because Keri is going to spend a few weeks with her and her family. This sounds strange I know. Why would I let my daughter go spend part of her summer with an ex-stepmother. Very simple. Well, sort of. Her dad met her stepmother right about the time Keri was turning two. This woman has been a part of Keri's life as long as she can remember.
They are divorced now for reasons that it is not my place to reveal. You probably wouldn't believe me anyway. It was very, very, difficult for me to allow another woman into my daughter's life. I didn't like it, but I realized that I was either going to have to not allow Keri to see her dad at all, or suck it up and try to make the best of it. I opted to suck it up. After all, it's not very reasonable to keep Keri away from her dad because he had moved on with his life.
I was very jealous for a long time for several reasons. It's very difficult to share your child with another woman. It's very difficult to share your child with another woman who is married to your ex-husband who you feel was the love of your life. It's also torture to watch your child grow to love another woman almost the same way she loves you. After my divorce, I felt like my children were all I had left in the world. I was not too keen on sharing my precious baby.
I felt like my ex-husband was trying to put together this happy little family with the three of them that did not include me. When he started dating "K", he took every opportunity to rub the relationship in my face. That's just the kind of person he is. Needless to say, it took a very long time for me to get right with the situation. Over time, Keri bonded with "K" and they became very close. "K" took very good care of my daughter when she would go to visit. So did her family. "K" even made my ex-husband's child support payments for a while.
Her family has accepted Keri as if she were a flesh and blood member of the family. As far as they are concerned, she still is. They were more than happy to meet me half way so that Keri could spend some time with them this summer.
As I have gotten older and matured a little bit, I realize that I am Keri's mother and no one can take my place. Ever. That doesn't mean that I am the only person that she will ever love. That's just not practical. I came to the conclusion that it would be more traumatic for Keri if the ties between her and her stepmother were severed. Not only that, she has a little brother as a result of the marriage between her dad and "K".
As her stepmother and I made plans for Keri to visit, I could see her excitement. The last couple of days before the trip took place were agonizing for Keri. She was so excited. Of course she pulled the typical kid routine yesterday asking me every so often if we were almost there. When we arrived at the meeting spot and Keri saw K she was completely beside herself with joy.
The happiness I saw on my daughter's face let's me know I made the right decision. I made many mistakes with this woman over the years. My negative feelings about her relationship with my ex were very difficult to overcome. To be truthful, I didn't completely get past it until after they separated. Her and I are both single moms now. Their divorce was only finalized recently. I know the road of healing she has ahead of her. I don't know that she would ever talk to me about it. I know the anger and resentment that comes with being in a position where you must raise a child on your own. I know the feelings of "Why me?". I know the feelings of failure you feel when your marriage is over. I know the sadness that comes when you send your baby off to school for the first time and the father is not there to share in your sadness. I know the feelings that you push to the back of your mind every year when you plan the birthday parties by yourself. My favorite though, is when people ask you how you do it. Uumm, let's see. I just get up and do it. Because I have no choice and to be honest, I really don't want any other choices.
I even the know the feeling that overcomes you when you realize your ex has moved on with someone else. All these emotions are coming for her if she hasn't already felt some of them. Now we are kindred spirits. Both of us tried being married to this man, and failed. Both of us had a child with this man who thinks child support is some form of punishment that women inflict upon men, or vice versa as the case may be.
How ironic that we have bonded and grown closer. How ironic that Keri is with her(ex) stepmother this summer and not her dad.