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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Co-Parenting: The Beautiful Struggle

It's been almost 8 weeks since my daughter's father seemed to just "wake up". Slowly, but surely. He has made more effort. He has talked, opened up, and shown up. 

I've been open, talked, listened, supported, and acted with kindness. We have had dinner at my house, we've had a family day out for pictures with santa. We've been able to be at a family (his side) function without awkwardness. He has been able to watch Laurel while I went out for a break with friends. He has even had her a full day with his family.  We've been able to share about life and struggles. We talk, in a healthy way. We discuss decisions regarding Laurel. We co-parent. 

Its been great. Empowering and inspiring. I share and document things on my Facebook and so many people have reached out and commented about the good we are doing for our daughter. I agree completely. I just don't want people to feel like we need a pat on the back. I want people to know that co-parenting can work. It can be healthy, and sometimes it's the best situation for the child. Co-parenting in a positive way isn't shared or talked about a lot. Sharing, dropping off, picking up, and having tension during drop off times is what's talked about. That's the normal. 

There will be days in the years to come where Laurel will go to her dads, and it will just be them, and hopefully a wonderful (healthy & positive) step-mother. I won't be there to make the memories with them. She will come home and tell me about their day, and she will get excited and they will share moments that I won't be in. That's hard to wrap my head around. But right now, for as long as possible, and in the future-for the bigger things, her dad and I will do these things together. We will be there letting her know she has our full support and love. 

There has been so much beauty. So many memories, laughs, and seeing Laurel happy with the two of us. However, there are ugly moments, tough moments. Moments that we will have to address in the future and feelings are going to get hurt, and toes will be stepped on. As much as I know the reality in this, I'm praying that we can be in these happy moments for as long and as often as possible. And when the ugliness of co-parenting appears, we are capable of only focusing on the beauty and putting "us" aside and focusing on Laurel.

You see, Laurel's dad and I have known each other for 10 years, we dated for almost 9. We had a life together, and we knew everything about one another. We knew when the other would crack a joke in public, we knew what the other would be thinking. We were in sync. We were like the same person in certain aspects. So, now, almost a year a part and most of that year not on good terms...we are having to get to know one another, again. Or, he has to get to know me. I'm nothing like I was when he left. I'm a completely different person, and I think I surprise him at certain times because he isn't anticipating what I'm doing or what comes out of my mouth. That makes me so proud. That tells me I've grown. That no matter what hurt came into my life, I didn't let it break me. I made it make me better, stronger, wiser, and softer. 

People are often taken back when I tell them he talks to me about his love life, or his problems. I give him advice, I listen. In some ways, I'm still his person; even though he isn't mine. Why do I do that? One: It doesn't bother me. It doesn't hurt me. I had to come face to face with the fact that I wasn't happy and was just pretending to be. Two: I do it for Laurel. He needs someone and someone that's a healthy source, and that's me. I have healthy boundaries and they are in place, and I know when I need to pull back or when to change the subject. He can tell me about his life, but beyond Laurel; he doesn't get to see into my life. It's private because I get to choose to let him in or if I'll let him in. Moms or dads, if you're co-parenting, that's acceptable. That's okay for you to keep things private when it comes to YOU.

I've created a life outside of him. I have a life outside of co-parenting. But we co-parent really well. I give God all the glory and praise when it comes to this. He has answered my prayers and has seen my deepest desires as a mother. I just want my daughter to have the healthiest situation possible. I'm grateful God has worked on me to not be angry or bitter and to forgive, because I wouldn't be able to co-parent if I had all of those emotions toward him. 

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!!

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