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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Awkward Moments

Photo: Happy Birthday, Alex Robinson!
Our family sharing a birthday dinner!

Recently, my Mr. Wonderful and I hosted a birthday dinner for our oldest along with her mother and stepfather.  It's part of blended family life to occasionally spend time with the other parents of our children at school programs, special events and parties like this.  But usually, there is more of a group setting.  This time the four of us were the only grown-ups and put together a winter party of soups, chili, cupcakes and cokes for the teenage crowd.  Once dinner was done, the kids all headed downstairs to a pool table and it was just the four of us together in a place once familiar to my husband and his former wife.  It felt like a weird, double date. 

Truthfully, it wasn't too tough for me because I don't have any memories in that home or any history there other than last year's birthday party (we used this same grandparent's home for space and party flow).  My husband, however, has many memories of being there with his former wife, children and her parents - holidays, pets, weekly dinners and more are connected to that space. Both of his daughters were full of laughter and recalled shared memories with both mom and dad.  It was all rather chummy ... until it wasn't.  My husband slipped and called his first wife, "Honey."  Ahem.

We were all uncomfortable when it happened, and it was an accidental slip of the tongue, but still not fun.  I wanted to be all offended...but the truth is that for more than 20 years that's what she was to him and his brain is just hard-wired.  Once again I remembered how his faithfulness in his first marriage is evidence of how he will be faithful in this one.  I am the Second Mrs. Robinson, although my man sweetly says in his mind I am the first and only (He's a keeper).

Everyday I have to choose what perspective to have: Critical or accepting. Trusting or suspicious. Regret or thankfulness. Will I be satisfied with what God has given me today?  Or pout and be miserable because it's not the way I thought He should deliver me?  I'm choosing to be my best self and to believe the best in my husband.  Daily I know that he loves me, cares for me and is attracted to me.  I do not worry about whether he pines for his former wife or regrets his decision to marry me.  I am very secure in our commitment to each other.  I feel full freedom to share when something is bothering me and when I feel hurt or discomfort. 

When I spoke with my husband after the party, we were able to talk about it and I was thankful to be able to acknowledge that awkward moment, but not to accuse him or hold it against him.  The first wife called my husband to criticize and humiliate him for the lapse.  By insinuating it was anything but a mistake, she escalated the incident from a "whoops!" to one that needed to be considered regarding any future functions.  Of course none of us want to be put in that position again.

From my perspective, I felt like the first wife was frustrated that she had to deal with the ongoing consequences of her choices...and resents that anything negative results.  She want to control every situation and when she can't, removes herself.  It will be her daughters that lose since future interactions will now be limited and there will be less freedom for the girls to reminisce about the truth of their past.  The whole thing makes me sad, makes me laugh and reminds me that no family is perfect!

Please tell me my family isn't the only one with awkward family glitches?  Do share if you've been in that eye-rolling, gulp-inducing, head-shaking, "Is this happening" moment.  Thank you for helping me feel normal!  Perhaps we should all share awkward more awkward moments.