Friday, October 5, 2007

How to Feel?

My ex husband is getting divorced.

He told me during a rare phone conversation Monday. My first thought was "THANK GOD!" Fortunately, my second was "Don't say that out loud."

This isn't about a possible JD-Christy Do-Over.

I'd never consider leaving Cowboy for JD. Not. Ever.

The feeling's mutual? Good.

That doesn't prevent me from being conflicted.

It's been apparent to me for some years that M has been biggest problem in our relationship with JD. For me, this was a minor irritation. By mutual consent, I have as little to do with the man as possible, but gradually, we've reached a point where my exchanges with him have been neutral, bordering on cordial.

M was a different story: Once every couple years we'd have an ugly fight over something stupid and she'd break out the lawyers. My attorney would take one look at the frivolous claim of the day and convince them to drop it before they got slapped with a fine for a filing a nuisance lawsuit. Not before she collected a tidy retainer from me, of course.

For Amanda, M's interference has been less expensive but more costly: near total disconnect between father and daughter.

Amanda and her half sister (M's daughter w/ JD) don't speak at all anymore.

Step parents are too often villain-ized in TV and movies; Amanda herself can attest to the fact that the Wicked Stepmother/Stepfather image is often far from the truth. Cowboy has raised Amanda as his very own, no different than our other children. Sadly, M never saw Amanda that way.

I realize I probably played a part in it; I made it clear from the start that Amanda is MY child, that M was not her mother. M may have felt a deep resentment towards Amanda because of my stridency. I did not want to share her with anyone, especially not people who often told me how much they hated me. I can see how part of it might have been my fault.

That doesn't explain the years (yes YEARS) when JD didn't see her more than an hour or two twice a year while she was visiting his parents. His mom would tell me it wasn't his fault, that it was causing a strain for him to see her even that much; frankly. I didn't want to believe it. At one point M told JD's parents that they couldn't see Amanda without her permission and a big part of me wonders if she was saying something like that to him too. When Amanda did begin to visit her Father, M and sister, she'd bring home tales that were highly reminiscent of the Bothers Grimm. I wouldn't have believed that they didn't let her sleep in a bed at their house, if M hadn't told me herself that it was true.

Now what? I'm sorry for JD; divorce is hard, especially with children. I am sorry for A's half-sister. At the same time, though, I can't help but feel relieved.

Wouldn't it be great if this marked a turning point? Wouldn't it be wonderful if Amanda, her sister and father got a fresh start and built a better relationship? It'd be wonderful. It may also be part of a future without global warming or AIDs. I can hope.

Finally, a teeny tiny part of me has been doing a little "told ya so" dance all week. Told ya so, she sucks. Told ya so, he does too. Told ya so, she's a poo poo head with bad 80's hair and no sense of style. Told ya so, he's a selfish lover who can't take care of himself.

But that's really a very small part of me. Honest. The vast majority is being very mature and sensitive about it. I ended our conversation by offering to help him if there was anything he needed. See how mature I am?

I'm completely conflicted and I'm not even the one getting divorced!

1 comment:

Aynde said...

Yeah my reaction was "couldn't have happened to a nicer person". I really hope this is a turning point too. It would be nice if step-sister could step out if the shadow of evil cast by her mother and embrace my Panda. They are sisters after all. Sure sisters are a pain in the growing up years but they make fabulous friends when we grow up. :)