I looked at my Facebook "memories" today and realized it would have been my anniversary. May 23. Jeff and I would have been married 8 years today. (Except we had already been married since April when we got married, but whatever. Long story.)
I checked in with myself. Am I sad? Angry? Anxious? What feelings do I have today?
Jeff and his partner Abby have a new baby. He was born last week. His name is Noah and he is the sweetest, most precious little one I have ever held. (And I say that with full knowledge of my own children. They were never all that sweet and precious - they were pretty demanding and vocal. But that's why I love them!)
When Noah was born, I also searched myself. Did I feel jealous? Nervous? Pushed out?
I have really wanted to confront whatever feelings I might be having because in the past, I may have just claimed to be okay and fine, and then five years later had a crazy disproportionate response to some more or less quotidian event in my personal or professional life. That's a typical Emily way to work these situations. But I don't want to be like that anymore. I want to have my feelings when I have them, and realize that they won't overwhelm me.
So I searched. And a lot of people asked me. I got some of those concerned texts from friends: "How are you feeling about the new baby and everything?"
And can I tell you: I literally have not a single negative emotion. Not one. I feel joy and contentment when I'm around the baby. I feel happiness and peace when we are all together. I truly feel that Jeff and I are in the kind of friendship and co-parenting situation that we are meant to be in. I think that Abby is a great partner for Jeff.
As I was drifting to sleep the other night, I was having a conversation with God, as I often do in that twilight time between waking and dreaming. I was pondering why it has been so easy and peaceful to fit this complicated network of relationships together. Lord knows I have my share of extremely difficult and conflict-ridden relationships, as well. I have relationships that are so damaged and badly deteriorated that I'm not sure they can ever be repaired.
But it seems that, for whatever reason, the relationships that matter most (family; people who will parent my children) are safe. And it's not even a case of "oh we just want to get along for the kids." (Although that makes me sound very noble and self-sacrificing, doesn't it?) I honestly think that Jeff and I would have a great friendship even if we had never had children and divorced. I just earnestly enjoy being around him, his family, Abby, and Noah.
I have been joking with my friend Amanda about the abuses of the #blessed idea. No, God doesn't want you to be #blessed by your new car or business success or whatever. But when I consider this intertwining of lives and the ways that things have worked out, I cannot help but call upon that idea. God has #blessed me with the most unconventional family imaginable, and somehow it just . . . works.