That couple had just gotten divorced.
That picture doesn't look anything like what I have seen in broken marriages and relationships. In fact, the image that media wants to put off about perfect co-parenting families really boils my blood (Trophy Wife?!?!). Show me a real life situation where things are that hunky dory and maybe I will have a glimmer of hope.
I usually see the situation between me and Michael's dad (D), as very positive. In reality it's not positive at all - unless the fact that we don't argue is considered positive.
It's impossible to argue with someone if they won't talk to you.
Every Thursday I call D to ask about Michael's week. I want to know about school, his friends, did he get to do fun stuff like go to a movie or visit his grandparents house? I want to know what his life is like at his dad's house and have some pointers on how to talk to Michael when I pick him up. This curiosity seems normal to me. But.... maybe it's not?
D NEVER calls me. I'm lucky if I get a text saying Michael is sick and staying home from school. D has not called once this entire school year to find out about Michael's week with me. This tells me D doesn't care. Maybe D wants to pretend that Michael doesn't actually have a life over here? I really don't know.
Every once in a while the four of us sit down for dinner: both sets of parents. Sounds nice right? And it is. On the surface. We smile and chit chat and order drinks and food. They offer to pay sometimes as long as we don't order alcohol. Their beliefs tell them alcohol is wrong so instead they order root beer and mountain dew. They always leave my one margarita on a separate bill for me and Mr. Sexy to pay for. It's awkward. But it's also stressful. So I always try to ask the server to throw in some extra tequila. Wink wink.
Then we talk about Michael. School. His friends. His behaviors. Then we brainstorm. Oh, wait, I'm laughing too hard. I brainstorm. Mr. Sexy brainstorms. D and his wife don't usually have anything to say on how we can improve our co-parenting relationship or how we can guide Michael through his struggles. It's nice that they always agree to our ideas. It's not so nice that a week later D tells me they won't do it. I'm completely fine with new ideas on how to parent. I'm even fine knowing he is going to be parented completely differently at his dad's house.
I am NOT fine with his dad and step-mom telling me one thing and then "changing their mind" once they walk out of the restaurant.
I know things could be worse. Voldemort is a great example. It's just that things could be better as well. So much better.
The facts are:
D and his wife are good people. They love Michael. They are nice - as far as I can tell.
Mr. Sexy and I are good people. We love Michael. We are nice, too.
So why can't we just get along like they do on TV?!?!