For those of you who don't already know, the Libertine is getting divorced. I know most of you follow both of us, but if you hadn't yet put it together from all the ridiculous tweets, you can find his story here. Most of the time, the nitty gritty and bullshit of the divorce doesn't impact me much, other than listening when he needs it, holding him when he needs it, and being a shoulder to cry on. But this weekend, it hit me full in the face.
I had the weekend off, a rarity in my line of work. A few weeks back the Libertine and I were Skyping with the Princess and I mentioned that Disney's Brave was coming out, and we should all go to see it. We made plans to go, the Libertine, the Princess, the Monkey, and I. Now, the Princess is 5, and she doesn't really understand divorce beyond the sad fact that her parents aren't living together anymore. She asked if her Mommy could come, and since I am a mother, and I know how much this is hurting them all, I said "Of course!"
Cue the awkward.
The Libertine's ex and I have had a tenuous relationship from the start. I was never really sure that she liked me, and I felt that perhaps there was animosity there that was churning just under the surface all of the time. She would come have dinner with my family, or meet the Libertine and I for lunch, but it always felt forced or strained. The Monkey and I arrived at lunch late - and when we arrived the tension was palpable. The Princess and the Monkey took to each other immediately, just like they always do, leaving the adults to flounder through awkward conversation.
As lunch progressed things would get marginally better, then go back to awkward again. Little things, like the Monkey needing to use the bathroom, suddenly seemed to be huge potential problems. He is 4 1/2, and at that age where using the boys' restroom is a really big deal. Normally when we go out, he simply goes with the Libertine, but having him do that while out with the Libertine's ex felt like it would be uncomfortable. I'd rather have the argument over using the girls' restroom than be left with the crazy silence.
We made it through the day somehow, we pushed through small talk and watching the kids play (that was the whole point, after all). This is new for all of us. Adjusting to a semi-blended family situation is challenging, especially when the kids don't get to see each other as often as they'd like. All I can do is continue trying to be a part of the Libertine's life. I love him. I love the Princess. The Monkey and the Mongoose love her, too. We can make this work, somehow.