When I became a vegetarian my sophomore year of college some people thought it was a phase. But *I* knew it wasn’t, and more than 20 years later I can say that most definitely. At this point I can’t even imagine going back.
Two-and-a-half years ago when my ex and I first became ex’s, we started telling people we planned to continue living and raising our kids together. And lots of people thought that was a phase too. I’ve been told at least hundred times that we can’t do it. Not just that we eventually won’t want to (although I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard this), or that we shouldn’t (I’ve heard this a few times as well), but that we, quite literally, can’t. I call bullshit on that.
Of course we can’t predict the future. And we don’t know what’s going to happen in 2 or 5 or 10 years. Maybe eventually we WON’T want to keep doing this. But what I can say now is that I see more signs each month that we mean it– we’re really planning to do what we can to keep making this work. Me, my ex, and now his girlfriend too. Here are the top 10 signs that we’re ALL quite serious about it.
10. Last week when my ex asked me to pick up a case of PBR for him from the village liquor store I wasn’t even annoyed—I was happy to do it. A few weeks earlier he, unprompted, brought home a latte for me because he knew I was tired and had plans for the evening.
9. When my ex’s girlfriend makes turkey chili she sometimes asks me “Do you want me to make a vegetarian one for you?” And I say yes. She makes really good chili.
8. Not too long ago we all (minus the kids) ended up at our favorite local bar on the same night– me with my friends and them with theirs. We didn’t sit together, but there was some intermingling. And it wasn’t weird it all. It was really rather nice.
7. In December we once again hosted our annual family party on Christmas Eve. This year there were five names on the invitation– mine, my kids’, my ex’s, and his girlfriend’s. She did half the baking. I discussed with some new friends the need to attach an explanation for those who aren’t clued in to the situation. It might be titled “What, exactly, is going on in this house…”
6. When my kids talk about our family they include me, my ex, his girlfriend, and her dog (my step-dog). The dog was really the last hold-out in all of this. He ignored me for at least a year, acknowledging me only if I was the sole human in the house during a thunderstorm. He now frequently climbs into my lap or sleeps at my feet while I work, even when there are other people around.
5. My ex recently tried to discourage me from breaking up with a guy I was dating. He said “I’m not trying to tell you what to do…” (a critical preface) “…but you seemed to really like him.”
4. A couple of weeks ago when my daughter said “We’re lucky, we have two Moms” I didn’t feel even a twinge of anything but happiness for my kids. Although I’ll admit to a twinge of… something… the day she called me by his girlfriend’s name and explained it by saying “She’s around a lot more than you. You’re always working.”
3. In January we spent a week together at Disney World. All five of us. We really, truly had a great time. (Hint: When the number of adults is larger than the number of kids, family vacations and amusement park trips are waaaay more enjoyable.)
2. We’re currently finalizing the architectural drawings for the addition we’re putting on our house. It will allow us all to have a little more space and a little more privacy. With this one we’re putting our money where our mouths are– a couple hundred thousand worth of our money. So no, we’re not kidding around.
1. And finally, last month my ex and I re-friended each other on Facebook. This probably tells you more about where we’re at than any of the above.