God has brought me a long way. A mighty long way.
If you had asked me two years ago about co-parenting, I would have told you I don’t need a man. I can do this by myself. In retrospect, that was the wrong answer. Divorce can be an ugly place, a black box filled with emotions you never knew you had. Those emotions are blinding and turn even the brightest of people into fools.
“Mommy, how come you and Daddy don’t like each other?” My daughter asked one day.
“How does she know this?” I thought to myself. “We do a good job at hiding it.”
Apparently, we didn’t, and our 5-year-old could sense that something wasn’t right. It was at that moment I knew I was accountable to her and her feelings. It was important she felt secure and knew that she had two parents who loved her. Life taught me we all fall short of the glory of God. My 5-year-old taught me growth. I had to learn forgiveness and patience. We had to learn to be a team in divorce, because our daughter wins when the adults in her life display healthy behaviors.
One day, I woke up, and I let it go. I let go of the hurt, anger and resentment. The reasons for the divorce didn’t matter. I had to let it go. The hurt I felt from the words he said during our divorce didn’t matter. It was hard for me to let go, and I had to have a real adult conversation with him about how he made me feel, which in turn opened up communication about how I made him feel. I had no idea he felt what he felt, and once we discussed it, we let it go.
His reluctance to keep up with child support was something I couldn’t let go. We went through mediation, and I explained to him the importance of his time and money. It may sound silly, but it took him hearing the same message through a mediator for him to understand there was no “gotcha” in child support. Our baby girl needed time and money from us both.
“Letting go” is easier said than done, but there is something to be said about healing and putting your children first. Two years after divorce, I can honestly say I don’t have any bad feelings towards my ex-husband. While everything isn’t perfect, I respect his love for our daughter, and I’m always willing to have a conversation, even about things we don’t see eye-to-eye on.
Now, we have family days where we both take her out to pizza or to a local Atlanta event. The feelings of romantic love are gone. The bitterness of divorce has faded away. We both love this tiny person who looks up to us, so it’s become a priority for us to ensure she sees and experiences a stable home life.
It’s not easy. Both parents have to be willing to put in the work and sacrifice. I could do it alone, but I don’t have to. Co-parenting is a choice, and we chose to make it work for our daughter’s sake. God has brought us a long way. A mighty long way.