Today marks the beginning of our 5th week as a newfound family. While I miss my older son who isn’t with us, my mom, my dad, and my entire family and friends, I’m grateful for the progress we have made in our unique living situation. Can you imagine living with your ex-husband? How about his wife, her ex-husband and kids? It really is mind-blowing that we have been in this house together for a month (and still sane and surviving and mostly happy during these hard times!)
We all moved in and didn’t discuss how things would work. There was a quick decision to get out of NYC one night and the next morning we were filling up cars and on the road. We moved in with no rules, plan or schedule. Somehow it’s working. Somehow we are all working together. Somehow we all connected despite past differences.
Our days begin with breakfast, remote learning, and finding our corners to work. I coordinate breaks each day to work out via apps with my exes wife. We have only missed one day together in all of this time. Her ex (can you follow…my ex-husband’s wife’s ex-husband) and I typically work near each other and bounce ideas off of each other. My ex has helped with legal questions I have had. They have all supported and comforted me on down days.
We take walks and hikes together and as small groups. We have silly photoshoots. My kids have always been close to their step-sisters but I had only met the girls for short periods a few times over the years. I now go to them to be my work and social media photographers and videographers. I’m ordering make-up for them and teaching them about my work. They are asking questions about my family and interested in getting to know me more. Now I can’t imagine life without our walks, our family dinners, mindfulness conversations, daily gratefulness chats, family television nights and matching tie-dye home-made shirt day.
With all the sadness in the world and in our lives we have found some sunshine. We have found ways to live happily and live together. We are cooking, cleaning, on-line shopping, working and parenting as a unit. We may not always agree with each other. We may not always like what someone else does, says or how they act. But we are all staying calm. We are all taking a beat and keeping from impulsive reactions. We are figuring out the best ways to handle each child, each moment, each challenge and each day.
We know after this experience there will certainly be better days ahead. We know, after living together, we will never go back to the way things were. And that’s a good thing. So while we may miss life as we knew it, and people who we love, we will come out of this better, more thoughtful and kinder to each other. We hope you can too.