Dave and I had to go to mediation yesterday, which probably sounds very dramatic, but in reality, it wasn’t at all. We’ve been using a temporary order for custody and child support since we separated, but we needed to make some minor changes to it, and since Dave lives on the west coast, it’s a lot easier to hire a private mediator to sort this stuff out, rather than get a court date, which would likely occur when he isn’t in town for it.
So, we found a mediator. I sat in his office, and we had Dave on via video conference. And we hashed things out.
And it occurred to me that, for all of the stuff we’ve been through, we’re sort of… fine now. Sure, there’s a lot of bad stuff that happened in the past, and I doubt we’ll ever be what you’d qualify as “friends.” But we’re alright. That was kind of a startling realization to have, believe it or not. I think it’s because we both know enough people (through friends, family, and co-workers) who’ve had really terribly ugly divorces, and we’re both trying our best to not end up like that.
And really, even with these very minor changes that we made to our agreement, there were some very hard conversations that took place yesterday. Which I knew was going to happen, and I sort of went into the mediator’s office ready for a fight. But even though there were times when we vehemently disagreed, we stayed respectful. We never yelled. We never said anything nasty to/about each other. I’d say, “Well, no, I don’t think that’s right because… (whatever),” and he’d counter with his side, but it never got ugly or mean-spirited.
And even though his parenting style is totally different than mine, and we disagree on a lot (oh man, A LOT) of things as far as how the kids are raised? I do know that we’re both doing what we feel is best for the girls and we’re trying to work together for their best interests. And I have to think that even though we approach these issues from completely opposing viewpoints, the fact that he and I both love Catie and Lucy, and that we want what’s best for them? That’s going to be the thing that helps our girls most, in the long run.
So, hey, maybe we won’t ever be friends. But we’re ok. And that’s a hell of a lot better than I ever thought I’d be able to say.