I love my husband’s ex-wife. Yeah, I know, that sounds kind of strange doesn’t it.
Melissa and I are complete opposites and yet we’ve managed to become friends.
I doubt she agrees with all of my parenting decisions and honestly I don’t always agree with her choices. Fortunately though, we have been able to look past each other mistakes, stupid decisions and bad parenting moments and focus on the important stuff – the kids.
I’ll admit, I walked into a great situation. Aaron and Melisa were great co-parents long before I came into the picture.
All I had to do was build on an existing foundation of trust and respect. And that is why I love Melissa, she let me keep right on building.
She welcomed me into the picture – without any reservations.
She was open and honest with me.
She gave advice with I asked, but never pushed it on me or was offended when I chose other paths.
She laughed and cried with me during the multiple teenage moments of love and rebellion.
She always spoke highly of Aaron and was happy to see him happy with me.
I knew the girls loved me from the beginning, but having their Mom accept me kept them from being pulled in two directions.
Earlier this year Melissa had some very unexpected events occur in her life and needed a place for her and her daughter Ciara to stay for a two months. People were very shocked to find out that I was the one to invite her to stay with us.
Was it easy to have my husband’s ex-wife live with us? No, not always. At times it was hard. It wasn’t personal; it was just hard to have two extra people in the house. We had our routine and at times it was hard to adjust. The best part was having a second pair of hands doing the grocery shopping and helping with the dishes – I definitely miss that part. I also miss having her daughter around. It was nice to have a young child in our home.
Melissa and I had always gotten along, but living together really solidified our friendship. We spent a lot of time joking and laughing together. She told me stories about when the girls were younger and gave me insight into their personalities I had never known.
As a step-parent you miss out on some of the formative growth experiences that really shape a child. I had heard most of the stories from Aaron, but Melissa keyed me into slightly different aspects of the stories that really deepened my understanding of what made the girls tick.
My understanding and appreciation for her and the sacrifices she made for the girls over the years really grew. Looking back I think she can honestly say that she did her best as a parent and she should be very proud of who the girls are becoming.
Melissa – If you read this, please take it as the big thank you it is. I know it must be hard to share your kids with another Mom and I thank you every day for your willingness to share. Thank you for letting me be a part of the girls lives and being such a wonderful person. You Rock!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamsjung/