I thought I’d shed a little 411 – or at least some subjective perspective – on the question of G’s kids. It’s the question that always comes up and even if it doesn’t, it’s the question that people quietly ponder. How is it with the kids … or, how do you feel about the kids?
G has kids from his previous marriage. Like many couples in Chile, post-college marriage is the next step for a couple who has been dating for years. This was the case with G and lucky for me (perhaps not so lucky for the former wife), things didn’t work out as the case may be for many. Sh*t happens. Mainly it’s that Chile has these crazy societal pressures about getting married if you’ve been with someone longer than 2 years. Or maybe it’s the lack of opportunities present at the time being, that marriage seems like a viable option. Not to belittle that LOVE might actually be a player in this decision, the fact of the matter is that MANY times, it’s not love as we like to think of it (romantic, butterflies-in-stomach, can’t-breathe-without-eachother kind of love.) Though I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that the love I just put in parenthesis up there is the kind of love we feel right now … I’m so blessed to have gotten married with THAT kind of love. I’m not going to pretend to know the kind of love that existed when G married the first time, at the tender age of 25, but I CAN attest that it was NOT the kind of love we have for each other.
Then again we’re older – I’m 33, he’s 34. We’ve seen the world – literally been to countries on the other side of the globe. We’ve worked our a**es off in our careers to advance as much as possible. We’ve looked for higher education – these are all things that weren’t present in his first relationship as a husband that are present now. Experience, age, wisdom, desire to succeed, worldliness. Call it what you will, my point here is to build a picture for you, the reader, of the differences in time, people and circumstances surrounding his first marriage and his second (and final) marriage to me.
What occurred in the first marriage that is for now absent in our marriage is the subject of this blog: his children. He has one little girl and one little boy, born respectively.
My objective thoughts on them are these: they are very well-behaved, highly educated, highly charismatic children. If I were to hold any feelings of contempt for his ex-wife, I’m not an idiot and can recognize that she has done an exceptional job with their children. They are, in short, pleasant. Of course Gonzalo deserves credit as well, but be it as it may, laws in Chile don’t usually allow for joint custody, split 50-50 and as such, the kids spend the majority of their time with their mother. I’m right in saying “Hats off” to her for how she has influenced her children for the most part.
Hand-in-hand goes how G has been as a father. Being the product of divorced parents myself, I can attest that G is by far – literally by far – THE BEST father children from a divorced family could ask for. To say that he’s present as much as allowed by his ex is saying the truth. He calls EVERY DAY – literally every day no matter where in the world he is … that’s when he’s not actually WITH THEM. Otherwise, he has a set schedule of when he’s with them and he adheres to this schedule as much as his life allows him to (considering he travels for work and sometimes travels with me as in honeymoon). But even then, he always plans any trip considering the weekends he has the two kids. And when he’s with them it’s not simply “ok here’s the DVD player, what movie do you guys want to see?” It’s full on INTERACTION. Whether it’s planning an educational trip (like the zoo), or a family lunch with his mom and brother or just playing Wii – he’s RIGHT THERE with them, always. I simply can’t reiterate it enough – he’s an amazing father to his kids. AMAZING. And even THAT word falls short.
So what’s it like for this gringa to be a third wheel in all this? I’m not gonna lie – it ain’t easy, kid. Selfishly, I want G all to myself. Even at my own wedding, I feel I danced with him and was PHYSICALLY with him less than 50% of the time. That’s hard for any new bride at her wedding; I can’t imagine I’m the only one. Further, as with most little girls and their fathers, his daughter adores him and wants him all to HERSELF. After all, she doesn’t get to live with him 24/7 like I do. This means that when I’m with him and they’re here, there are no me-and-him seconds … the kids have radars that go off if I come within two feet of him! I’m exaggerating here but it’s as if this were indeed the case. I make it a point to be more distant when they’re around (so as allow father-child time and not interfere) but the second I forget that distance and move in for the hubby/wifey time with a mere kiss – INCOMING!! Children are at our feet … with no particular point or question in mind … just that they want to be present more so than I am in his eyes.
If you think about it for a second from my perspective I hope you understand how awkward this can be. I will understand your gut reaction to defend their actions and reactions so I hope you take JUST ONE second to empathize with the awkwardness that ensues all around me when the kids are around. I’m this random third wheel. Yes, their dad didn’t live with their mom for many years before I came around so (THANKFULLY) I’m not the woman who “replaced mommy.” But instead, I’m the woman who stole their dad’s time and 100% devotion. So there’s this CRAZY competition for his attention.
Competition is the wrong word because it implies that I participate. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I SO don’t participate, that I go in the extreme opposite direction and basically build my own life and agenda on the days the kids are here. My thought being “Go, be with your dad! Run wild and free. I’m peacing out.” Which of course, to G, is a nightmare. Basically our main reasons for arguing is this that I’ve just described. I go one way, he goes another with his kids … but he’d rather that I go WITH him in the direction he goes with his kids when they’re here.
I know it’s the logical thing to do, the family thing to do (after all, he and I are now family), the RIGHT and loving thing to do … but I’m not there yet.
For us, I hope to get there sooner rather than later. I know he suffers when I distance myself because he misses me just like I miss him. The weekends the kids are with us literally feel like days I haven’t seen him. Yes, we’re in the same apartment, sleep in the same bed and basically move around the same areas, but it’s NOT the same.
I hope time bridges this gap and eases all awkwardness.