I heard a great quote recently about co-parenting and it suggested that the idea itself of co-parenting was impossible because in solid co-parenting communication is a must. And... if you were good communicators - then... you wouldn't be divorced, right?
In my case, El Capitan and I talked all the time... of course, Yoga Girl told me that *she* heard we hardly talked at all... but I think we all know me well enough by now to know that isn't true... bwahahahaha.
And yes.... of course if *I'm* the only one talking - then that isn't communication... this I know - but THAT'S. THE. THING. We talked *all the time*!!!!! About EVERYTHING. I didn't spend more than $50 on a single item without talking about it... *WE* homeschooled, *WE* talked about what classes to sign the kids up for the summer and *WE* talked ALL. THE. TIME: about work, how hard it was, the people that worked there...
ALL. THE. TIME.
Even when I asked and begged when things were slipping away.... El Capitan just smiled, kissed my forehead and *promised* me that everything was fine.... *promised* me that he loved me..... until One Day, he gave those forehead kisses and promises to someone else... and nothing was *fine*.
So. Now that THAT is where I'm at..... how on EARTH do I row this boat alone? Sure, sure.... El Capitan will work the kids into this life - however that works out and in and effort *not* to airy the "dirty" laundry I'll just leave it at that.... BUT - aside from actually "parenting time" - I have to deal with the bigger issue of THE KIDS.
The Girl... she's rather blissfully unawares. She still thinks her Daddy is UnicornsAndRainbowsFabulous - and frankly.... I think that that's an opinion she's entitled to for as long as she can feel that way. That's what every little girl deserves.... right?
The Boy... however, he's older.
The Bubbie has this saying.... and (like I previous mentioned - her version of things is usually far less "PG" than mine... lolol) - but she has this saying - OK, actually she has ALOT of dirty saying, but this one in particular fits the bill: "Don't kiss me while you're f***ing me and call it making love".
At this point.... The Boy knows the difference, too.
He talks alot about Daddy's girlfriend. When we first told the kids, our counselor told us to be AS HONEST as is/was age appropriate. She encouraged us to tell them that Daddy had "someone else".... but I felt they were too young, so we didn't at first.
A few weeks into our "separation" - The Boy overheard El Capitan on his phone talking about "sleeping next to a 22 year old every night that does Yoga" (again.. The Boy heard "goga".... lol). So, *after* that happened, I was more honest (using the verbage and direction of the counselor) - and (when asked) explained that Daddy does, indeed, have a girlfriend.
So.... now when El Capitan tells The Boy that he can't come over because has to "Work".... The Boy will sometimes look at me and say, ....."Daddy's not coming over because he's with his Girlfriend, huh?"
I SWEAR TO G*D. I would rather strip naked, cover myself in honey and do the TruffleShuffle at a Bee Farm than *ever* have my son ask me THAT question.
Seriously. Honey + Bee's + Copious Amounts of Jiggly Elle doing The Truffle-Shuffle= Happier Elle.
The books and the counselor say it's important not to lie, but also not to *encourage* or *embellish* things... and this is the fine line I think *all* single/divorced parents walk.... how much information is too much? How much honesty is healthy.....? How much honesty is too much and will have my kids in therapy well into their 30s, incapable of finding and maintaing happy realtionships of their own.....?
That's the sucky thing about growing up.... like The Boy, I too, bought into this Sesame Street world where people were equal, where everyone was friends and skin color and monster hair were just that.... hair and skin. WHO YOU WERE .... *that* meant something. The Boy is *still* very much in his Sesame Street world... crap - the kid actually thought that G*d was a black woman with dread locks.... which is still a concept I am 100000% comfortable with because frankly... for all I know - that is EXACTLY what G*d looks like! lololol
I raised The Boy to have a very strong sense of right and wrong. Each day before pre-school for two years I would ask him, "What do we say about friends.....?"
"Caring and sharing is more fun for everyone.", The Boy would reply.
Then I would say..... "... and it's your job to......?"
"Make sure everyone get's a turn and everyone get's invited to pay.", The Boy would say.
Basically, The Boy *knows* that sometimes.... he's not "getting his turn" with his Dad. So... what the hell is the right answer when The Boy feels like the last kid picked for kick-ball because his Dad isn't around......?
I think that my focus has to change.... Clearly, I did a sh*te job of keeping my family together the first time.. the idea of "co-parenting" in this new phase... well, I think my idea of what that looks like has to change. - or.... I have to start buying ALOT of honey and go on a serious diet.
Instead of trying to influence or "control" what is going on *around* the children, I need to start focusing more on the *tools* I teach them to process this information. I need to help them write their own handbook for their little lives... instead of trying to bury it all away from them. Eventually, those are just emotional mountains they have climb over or they'll get buried under the weight of them.
They are seeing it. They are living it. As our counselor said - the sign is a "sign" - a plastic representation of *what* is happening... but it's not nearly as impactful as WHAT is actually happening to us......
As a side note..... I'm kind of dumb. I once thought that "horse-whispering" meant that you just whispered things into a horses ear..... I know - I *said* I a dumb. lolololol..... so - after I had The Boy, I started doing my own mis-informed version of that - and each and every night of his life I have held him or knelt next to him and whispered to him, "You are kind. You are wonderful. You are brave. You are a great son. You are smart. You are proud. You are happy. You are loved. Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. You are a wonderful brother. You are my best friend.... I am always proud to be your Mommy."
So..... while I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to say to him during the *day* when he comes at me with his overly wise and observant questions of pain and confusion...... now, at night I add this to my "baby whsipering" ritual ...."Daddy loves you. Mommy loves you. You are YOU. There is only ONE YOU. And YOU have the power to choose how to behave. YOU have the power to FORGIVE. YOU have the strength to move on. YOU can HEAL..... and Always be kind and gentle and make time for sister."
Now.... I just have to figure out how the hell to instil those values during the waking hours..... or like I said, rent Goonie and start prefecting my Truffle-Shuffle.