Friday, December 12, 2008

A man and his women

When I married my ex-husband, I received a fantastic gift.  I just didn't know it yet. 

He'd been married before, and when we started dating, he had a 10 year old step-daughter.  They weren't able to be in contact (long story, not mine to tell).  I didn't meet her.

Four years later, he had a hankering for ice cream one night and drove to AM/PM.  He was gone for 45 minutes.  Neither one of us had cell phones at the time, and I was actually starting to kind of freak out.  What if he'd been killed?  Run off with another woman?  Eaten MY ice cream and was afraid to come home?

He finally returned, and told me he'd run into his ex-wife, and she'd asked him to step back into his step-daughter's life.  He agreed. 

And Jeni was my gift.  Her mom is an incredible woman (see, I'm not the only terrific girl he's dumped!) and was so absolutely understanding and gracious.  She is so wise, and knew that it was incredibly important for her daughter to have a dad, and that a child can never have too many people that love them.

I quickly became "Mom2."  Jeni was 14, and stayed with us most weekends, and usually a night or two during the week.  She was beautiful, and sweet, and funny, a talented artist.  And best of all, she was just really fun to hang out with. 

Of course, she WAS a teenager, so it wasn't all peaches and cream, or even scotch and soda, for that matter.  There were sad times, and a couple scary times. 

There was the time I was trying so hard to get back into shape, and was faithfully working out to my FIRM volume 2 workout video.  I'd had it since the '80s, and it featured Janet Jones-Gretzky, leg warmers and all.  She and her friends got a good laugh out of that one, let me tell you.

When John and I decided we wanted  to try to grow our family through adoption, we were a little worried to tell her.  She'd been an only child, and an incredibly spoiled only child at that.  But she never let on that she was anything but excited, and she's been a spectacular big sis to Jake and Emme.  Jake wants to marry her when he grows up.  I haven't yet told him that this is impossible, because we don't live in Arkansas. 

We're still close.  I couldn't imagine loving her any more that I do.  We've painted our toe nails together, gotten drunk together, talked about men, and I've even gone to a Burner party with her.  She keeps trying to convince me to go to Burning Man with her, but a week in an alkali desert is my own personal vision of hell.

She called a couple days ago.  She was coming to town (she lives in the bay area now) with her mom, and they wanted to get together for lunch.  Her mom and I were able to forge a wonderful friendship through our joint love of Jen.  We've done this a few times, and though some people think it's odd that I enjoy a friendship with my ex-husband's ex-wife that doesn't just consist of bashing him, it works well for us. 

This morning Jeni called me to firm up the time for our lunch. 

"Oh, by the way, I invited my dad.  Is that okay?  I know you guys get along okay at Jake and Emme's events, so I was hoping you wouldn't mind."

So, okay.  I was a little freaked out.  Sitting near my ex-husband and being cordial at Jake's hockey practice, or the kids' Christmas program (which I'll blog about soon), or a doctor's appointment is one thing.  Sitting down together for lunch WITH HIS OTHER EX-WIFE kinda seemed a little....flipping weird, okay? 

Driving to the restaurant, I considered pulling into the Squire Room for a drink.  Never mind the fact that I can't drink without wanting to take a nap.  Never mind that I had to go back to work afterwards. I was driving to have lunch with my ex-husband and his ex-wife.

I pulled into the parking lot, and there he was.  We were the first arrivals.  He nervously said, "So, I guess we're having lunch together."  

And so we did.

And I realized I didn't have to be nervous.  It didn't have to feel weird.  Not for me.

He looked really uncomfortable.  Can you imagine?  Sitting at a table with two women that you've DUMPED making pleasant conversation.

And I just had to think...HA!  

It's good practice for Jeni's wedding...right?


Hal Johnson said...

Ha! This was a remarkable post, Annie.

A former coworker once got a birthday card from his two ex-wives. They were arm-in-arm, and both of them were flipping the bird. He posted it on the bulletin board with a perverse sense of pride.

The Squire Room, ey? I've been there a a few times to meet my almost brother in law. It's like going back in time.

Unknown said...

Oh,'ve just give me an idea.....