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“Daddy!” Ana Lu squealed a nanosecond after walking into our apartment as she looked straight ahead, seeing our mini-Christmas tree, one ornament hung up on it, her favorite. She made a beeline directly for the tree and reached her little hand out, running her fingers over the ornament.
A grin crossed my face. I knew that was the perfect place to hang it, I thought. Feeling completely content with a hint of smug.
A round ceramic ornament with a photo of Charles smiled at Ana Lu the moment she stepped foot into our home. A gift I gave to Charles a few years ago, a photo ornament of him blowing out candles on his 30th birthday.
Ana Lu loved this ornament last year so I knew she would be crazy for it again this year. I intentionally placed it directly in Ana Lu’s line of sight at the bottom of the tree.
Culturally it is not the norm to put up photos of your ex around your house or still enjoy dinner with your in-laws. I know this because people often remind me. I have gotten a handful of comments aimed specifically at the ornament.
“Why?” people ask.
“Uh, why not?” I truthfully respond. “Charles is Ana Lu’s dad. Maybe he’s no longer my husband, but he’s still her Dad. It’s a 50/50 coin toss. Ana Lu wins.”
Seeing snapshots of happier times with Charles not only serve Ana Lu, it serves me. I like remembering that Charles and I were once best friends; it reminds me he and I we used to be in a place with a lot more love than anger. It gives me incredible hope that we will find a healthy place in between as we co-parent Ana Lu together for the rest of our lives.
Like all things, career, motherhood, life, fatherhood…co-parenting is a work in progress, and truthfully, so am I. I can be moody, difficult and a downright pain in the arse. (Not a shocker to people who know me well!) And the reality is that some days I am so tired I don’t have the energy to do the right thing. Days when I’m not even feeling moody or bratty, I’m just tired. T-I-R-E-D. I just can’t. I can’t hang that picture. I can’t pack that extra lunch. I can’t cover him on a special night. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I’m exhausted. I’m a work in progress. But the days I have the energy to make the healthier choice; the days I remember it’s a 50/50 coin flip–not a solitary choice–these are the days I give it everything I’ve got.
Charles and my co-parenting relationship is constantly changing, growing and evolving. I’m not a co-parenting expert. But I’m an expert at trying. And the more often I flip that 50/50 coin, Ana Lu wins. And so does healthy co-parenting.
Originally Posted in Single Sassy Mom (dot) Com | Dec 13, 2011 |
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