The house is very quiet this morning – kids have flown to Bali for a blended family holiday with my ex’s partner and her son.
Saying goodbye on the eve of their big adventure was bittersweet.
I spent the day supervising all the packing and purchasing of last minute necessities, got the youngest a “baby pink” paint and polish at our local nail salon, endured hours of admiration of the paint and polish, made dinner, then dropped the kids to their dad’s house for the flight.
I may have shed a brief tear as I headed home.
Going on a blended family trip to Bali isn’t my idea of bliss, but it still felt a bit meh that they were having a “family” holiday without me.
However, the youngest’s excitement was infectious. Before she left she was literally attempting to climb the walls … and almost broke one of her newly polished nails in the process.
It was lovely to see her so joyous and it reminded me that my No.1 co-parenting rule – love your kids more than you hate your ex – has been worth it.
Fortunately, my antipathy towards my ex ebbed long ago. I realised that letting go of my anger was the key to moving on.
If you’re still stuck at the cranky coal face, trust me, it’s a good – if sometimes difficult – rule to follow.
Your children shouldn’t worry that they’re betraying you when they’re with your ex – that’s way too much responsibility to lay on their shoulders.
My kids wouldn’t think for a moment that there’s anything “wrong” with going on holidays with their dad’s girlfriend.
And I’m not scared that she will displace me in their hearts.
I know that my role as their mother is unassailable. I grew those gorgeous creatures inside my body and they will always be mine. Love is infinite – the more you have in your life, the happier you are.
I want that for them. I even hope my ex’s partner has grown to love my children over the past four years, despite them doing infuriating things like putting her casserole of macaroni cheese in the oven with the Gladwrap still on and almost burning her apartment down.
(OK, I’m not a saint, I found that hysterically funny once I wasn’t in ear shot of the kids.)
I have the power to make life much harder for my ex and his partner, but I choose not to wield it for the sake of my kids’s happiness.
I want them to enjoy every minute of their lives, whether they’re spent with me or someone else.
The unfortunate reality is that one in three marriages in Australia end in divorce. That means a lot of kids are heading off on family holidays with their mum or dad’s new partner.
And the world doesn’t stop turning. Life goes on.
Childhood is brief and the responsibility of adulthood is long. Holidays are precious things.
So I’ve spent the past week making sure the eldest and my ex are on good terms with each other. We even went for burgers together last Wednesday to help smooth the relationship wrinkles.
And I think it’s worked. My ex texted from the airport to say that the eldest has been “quite fun” so far.
I told the kids to send me photos if they get the chance and not worry about calling me if they’re too busy. I hugged them tight and wished them safe travels.
I will miss them, but I hope they have too much fun to miss me.
OK, they can miss me a little bit …
Song of the day: Beach Boys “Kokomo”