July 18, 2013: Peace not War

1989 picture with my future brothers and sisters-in-law
I just spent the last few hours enjoying Blue Sushi happy hour with my previous sisters-in-laws (not sure of the appropriate title) and their husbands. When I try to introduce them to outsiders, it feels awkward. But to us, our relationship feels natural.

What to call them...ex-sister-in-laws? sisters to my ex-husband? aunts to my kids? Whatever I say, the party on the other side is confused. It took me these four years past-divorce to figure out that the other side doesn't matter. Our relationship is our relationship. And it has nothing to do with choosing sides.

When I filed for divorce that painful day in December 2008, I remember the shock and fallout. But I will also always remember the loving text I received from Scott's youngest sister, Jennifer.

"You have been my sister for more of the years in my lifetime than when you weren't in my life."

I choke up each time I think of this comment. Divorce sucks. As difficult as it was for our kids and for Scott and I, it was equally as hard on our immediate family. My husband was a son to my parents; just as Jennifer was my sister.

Scott's baby sister became my sister from the time she was a young teen. We were family. What ever happened between Scott and I were Scott and my doing. Jennifer, my parents, Scott's parents, etc... were the unintended casualties.

They shouldn't feel ashamed for maintaining a relationship with either of us or feel they need to pick sides. Taking a step back, this is so wrong from every angle. Selfish. Relationships happen over time and are separate from the war of divorce. It is best for the couple separating and for their kids to enjoy these relationships without a feeling guilt or taking sides. It may not feel good to either party at any given time, but the focus can't be on the war. It's needs to be on the unintended casualties.

So today I will proclaim that I am thankful for awesome ex-sisters-in law who will always be my sisters. I am thankful for well-adjusted kids with wonderful loving grandparents on both sides who treat us both as their children. I am also thankful for an ex-husband who is a great co-parent with a loving wife who cares for my teenage kids which is notably not an easy job. Peace not war. It's a much better life.



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