Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving with the Ex In-Laws

I’m not quite sure how to feel. My ex husband, John, recently remarried. I learned about the upcoming nuptials from my granddaughters. They were excited about the prospect of being flower girls. They incorrectly assumed I would be attending the affair. Shortly after hearing the news I saw facebook posts from my ex’s fiancĂ© (now wife) who I will call N. 

N is a sociable person (she friended me after all) and I have discovered more about them via social media than I would ever have heard from John. My ex is a former engineer and a man of few words. In fact his quiet demeanor was a contributing factor in our divorce. I come from a talkative family and the silence felt like solitude. 

However, through facebook I see the newlyweds are an active couple with a lot in common. They renovate the house, go on motorcycle rides, drag a big RV to Sturgis, and attend classic car shows.In retrospect, I see that John and I were not well suited for one another. He came into the marriage with a muscle car (a 1971 Rambler Scrambler) that I didn’t appreciate. I thought the car looked like a striped box with a scoop on the hood.

I’m sure I asked him to sell it on numerous occasions. He not only kept the red, white and blue dragster, it has been meticulously restored. The Scrambler is the recipient of numerous awards. I, on the other hand, am driving my second Toyota Prius and plan to buy a third when the time is right. I gave both cars names (Sparky and Goldie) but other than that their hybrid lives have been unremarkable. 

John and N prepare mountains of food in a smoker. My daughters, Alicia and Brittany, always tell me how delicious the meals are. I am not the greatest cook. Food is not my highest priority. I spent seven years of my first marriage as a vegetarian. The closest I came to smoking anything (edible anyway) was nuking a veggie burger in the microwave oven. I do eat meat now, but sparingly. 

The differences continue. I hate motorcycles. My best friend was killed while riding his Kawasaki. I can appreciate the beauty of a bike and the sense of freedom riders must enjoy, but motorcycles scare me. When my oldest daughter mentioned she was considering purchasing one I told her I would rather cash in my 401K and buy her a car than to worry every day that she would get run over. The good news is my 401K is intact and Alicia drives a Nissan LEAF.

One thing I do share in common with the ex is I enjoy camping. At least in moderation. My spouse, CB, and I generally limit our excursions to a few days because our outings are in tandem with our two pet bunnies, Oscar and Jezebell. The furry (and constantly shedding) critters used to sleep with us in the camper on the back of our F-150 pickup truck. But we are in the big leagues now since we purchased a Little Guy trailer. 

The bunnies get the camper and we get the trailer. All is right in the camping world. In contrast, John and N travel for weeks at a time and tow a 28 foot trailer with a 1-ton Dodge Ram Dually. To my knowledge they do not have any pets with them.

Overall I would say there are more differences than similarities between my life with CB and John’s marriage to N.  John is retired. He and N not only travel to Sturgis and other getaways, they recently returned from a trip to Ireland. I do some traveling too, but it is work related. After 15 years of owning my own PR firm, I took a job as a PR specialist with Royal Neighbors of America. I recently returned from a multi-city tour where I had the privilege of helping award $10,000 grants to 10 women through Royal Neighbors’ Nation of Neighbors Program. You can read more about it at I’m not complaining. I love my job. After years of only scratching the surface of my creative skills – I’m glad to put my talents to work for an organization that does so much good in the community. 

Of course my former marriage also contributed to the good of the world through the birth of our wonderful daughters. 

These gals are not only beautiful human beings; they are true humanitarians who are committed to making the world a better place for humans, animals and the environment. I couldn’t be prouder of the women they have become. And I feel confident that my granddaughters, Rosannah and Briannah, will do the same. 

It has been nearly 20 years since John and I divorced.  We see each other at holidays and events that involve our daughters and grandchildren. Our interactions are polite more than friendly, but even that is changing. CB and I received an invitation to John’s and N’s house for Thanksgiving. Since my kids and grandkids would be there, and CB and I were not planning on preparing a turkey this year, it made sense to attend. 

It wound up to be a nice affair. In addition to my own family, N’s relatives, as well as John's brother attended. At first I thought it would be a little awkward, but it turned out to be enjoyable. I thought this meeting of different folks was probably reminiscent of when the Pilgrims and Indians came together in the spirit of friendship and new beginnings.

And speaking of new beginnings, after this holiday experience I had an epiphany. I know exactly how I feel about John getting remarried. I am thankful for the past I shared with my ex, but I'm relieved that our lives evolved so that we could enjoy new beginnings with spouses that are a better match for us. And now after breaking bread with my family and the ex in-laws I can truthfully say I am optimistic about upcoming holidays and the future in general.

Happy Thanksgiving!