I wasn’t planning to meet her that day, but she came to a play my kids were in with Xhusband – and upon the introduction I literally could not breathe. We had been divorced about 10 months.
In true NB fashion, I played it cool. I smiled. I shook hands.
I sat in the front row to get good pictures. They sat on the same row across the isle. My saving grace was that my dad was there that day. Dad and I are not close and he launched the nastiest divorce Houston’s north side had even seen at the time – the stuff of legend. Seriously, people still talk about it. So, he obviously knows how this stuff goes to some degree.
He was cool, too. He smiled. He shook hands.
The play started and I sat in the front row next to Dad. My camera was in my hands and I was facing forward, but I was frozen. Tears streamed quietly down my face. I was struggling to keep that smile. I knew Xhusband would find someone else one day, but I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to meet her.
At this point Dad, still facing forward, stretch his arm around my shoulders and squeezed my right shoulder as if to say “Hey, it’ll be ok. I’m here.” It helped. The tears stopped and I could focus on the kids, the play and taking pictures.
The next year, they got married and I have never been more thankful that I have a step-wife. My life would not be the same without her. She’s fun and funny and they seem to be truly in love. I am so happy they found each other. Most importantly, she loves my kids and they love her. And the most valuable thing she does for me is help Xhusband and I hear each other when we disagree - she moderates fairly and honestly.
We tell people we are one family in two houses and that is truly how we operate. We vacation together. We sit together at the kid’s games and go to school conferences all together. Even my Dad laughs at how well this has worked out. And I think back to his squeezing my shoulder. That’s all he did to tell me “things will be ok” and I was open to it. I mean, that's all one can do is be open to it. Otherwise you'll be miserable.