I met my current husband very early after our divorce. I wasn’t looking, but he just landed in my lap. I liked him, so I kept him. He is a year and a half younger than me, has zero children and had maybe one long-term relationship before me. Interestingly enough, he seemed to like me, so he kept me too.
Six months in he met my child; he also met my ex because this is how we roll. The ex and I had an agreement about WHEN a new partner could be introduced. She was three. He was fun and patient, but not fully equipped for bedtime rituals that result in two hours of reading, 1,000 glasses of water because she is “thirsty”, trips to the bottom of the stairs due to a little voice stating they can’t sleep AGAIN.
He also was not equipped for the mind of a three year old: devastated over being served the wrong flavor of jello; a temper tantrum over the wrong color mug; what felt like four hours to put on their OWN shoes and coat. You know. The typical threenager “stuff.” Watching his face turn helpless was sad and comical at the same time.
We often played the, “What would we do?” game about aliens and zombie takeovers; just for fun. It was a game. Where would we go? How would we get there? What would we take? What if my daughter was at her Dad’s house? (We also played this with winning the lottery, which is a much more fun game.)
Then one day, my then boyfriend looks at me and states that, in an apocalyptic event, “..(child’s name) would REALLY slow us down and probably actually ATTRACT the enemy.” I stared at him in disbelief and laughed thinking how could I possibly keep this man in my life who was unable to see the value of my daughter to the point he was contemplating throwing her to the wolves in such a hypothetical situation? Lucky for him I gave him the benefit of the doubt and forged on with patience while I watched their relationship grow…all of our relationships grow.
See, adjusting to parenting with a little girl plus an ex-spouse in the picture was NOT easy on him. He took it like a champ. I met him where he was with a few eye rolls included. My ex and I are lucky to have two extremely kind and patient partners in our lives that knew they were not only signing up for extra tiny humans, but also a side of extra adults that they would never associate with under normal circumstances. “Go get a beer with your ex? Sure! Sounds GRRREEEAAATT!” “Go on vacation together? Sure! Sounds GRRREEAAATT!” He did it all. For me at the time and, now, for my daughter.
This required patience and grace on my part while I watched him find his place in our situation. It also required communication on my part. None of that lady head drama where we are making up stories about what people are thinking and feeling without speaking. I am so glad I put in the time and effort, he saw the value and was willing to do the same.
I also want to provide you with an update regarding any extreme event in our life because I am sure you were worried about what we would in fact do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Would they leave the daughter? Would they drag her along as the burden she would be in a survival situation???? Oh my gosh!! The DILEMMA!!!
I knew it was true love between my daughter and my husband they day he turned to me out of the blue and said, “Ya know. I would definitely save (insert child’s name) in a zombie apocalypse before you.”
To which I replied, “Right answer. NOW you get it.”
XO – The First Mom