So the other day I posted about family and how things were shaping up for me. I got a lot of good advice and T got his head swollen from some many (including my mother) agreeing with him. Of course he is right, as he constantly reminds me.
I talked to my mother today. As she was telling me how she agreed with T and the other advice I got I asked a question. What kind of a family an I trying to create?
In many divorced families, the goal of the former spouses is to create 2 separate families. The children move back and forth between the separate worlds their parents create for themselves. I suppose in most cases this works well for everyone.
But this is not the kind of family I want to create. This is not the target I am shooting for.
I don't want to create 2 separate families with my kids straddling the gap. In the long run, I don't think this is good for me, for K or for the kids.
You see, I am trying to expand my family not segregated it.
Today I spent a good chunk of the day at K's house. I played X-box with the kids. I helped make dinner. I chatted with AJ's parents who have arrived this afternoon for the holiday. After the kids went to bed, K, AJ, and I when up into their bedroom to wrap Christmas presents.
As we wrapped, K labeled all the packages since she had the best handwriting. As has been our tradition, each kids gets a single present from Santa and the remainder came from K and I. In the past, I always had a significantly larger income than K and therefore I paid for most of the presents, but as we were all one family, the presented were from "mom & dad".
What about this year? I am unemployed and I am just holding on financially. I do not have a lot of money for presents this year. K has a job and she also got a windfall when she got half of my 401K plan. Also AJ makes more money than I did when I was working, and he chipped on on many of the presents even for my kids.
In the "create a separate world" the vast majority of the presents my kids will get on Sunday would be labeled from "mom" or "mom & AJ". The couple of small things I could afford would say from "dad". I know there are some that will say, it won't matter. It's not about the "stuff". The kids will understand you are not working and doing the best you can. All of these things may be true, but it sure would have made me feel like a dip-shit.
K started labeling the gifts for my kids, from "mom, dad, & AJ".
I am gay man in his 40's who was married for 18 years to a straight woman, who is still my very best friend. We have 4 children together. She is now remarried and we still want to be supportive of each other and make a stable family for our kids.
Cast of Characters
Jim: That's me
K: The wonderful woman I married in 1993. We divorced in November 2011, and she is still my best friend.
T: My ex-boyfriend. We were together from 2008 to 2013. He is still an important person in my life.
AJ: K's new husband. They got married December 2011.
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