Yesterday we celebrated my son’s second birthday.
The usual toddler shindig, the park, a good old-fashioned sausage sizzle, a lot of ‘sometimes’ food, fruit, mixed in with some Latino tucker for good measure. Naturally, as parents, you are running around the whole time. His dad manned the BBQ. I tended to our guests making sure my ‘fourth eye’ most commonly found on the back of one's head was keeping watch over all the kids. There were plenty of near misses, close calls, bumps and bruises and of course mess, heaps and heaps of mess.
Its a bloody hard gig trying to make sure everything gets done, and parents often end up completely exhausted by the end of these types of celebrations, thank god for my large Latino family, their help and support is always much appreciated. Despite all the work it takes it was great catching up with much-loved family and friends to celebrate! Where does all the time go? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was enjoying the blissful newborn bubble.
In the lead up to the party, I was busy with the usual chase up phone calls, last minute shopping and plenty of 'where is the party again?' style conversations. This time though, I found myself having a fascinating discussion with someone and having to explain and justify a decision about the guest list.
I invited my ex-husband and his family to come along to the birthday (I ran it by my son's father first, of course). It is nice we are all able to do things as a family for the kids; I love this as it teaches them inclusiveness and tolerance. I must admit I am very partial to this inclusive approach. I love that my kids get to enjoy both parents at these types of events and I want them to grow up knowing that we are a blended family and that we don't need to be divided or separate just because their dads and I are no longer together.
Both of my exes and I remain committed to supporting and parenting our kids together so that they grow up knowing that it is possible to be good parents that work together even though we are not in a relationship anymore. Look I am not going to sugar coat anything, yeah of course we still have disagreements and from time to time it goes to shit (like in all families blended, separate or otherwise) but we are not going to let that stop us from showing the kids that we can all come together and enjoy special and significant moments in life together.
Not everyone agrees with me. I had an interesting exchange of words with some of the guests a few days before the party; they did not share my point of view. In fact, they felt quite strongly about needing to explain to me why it was ‘weird’ that I would choose to have my ex-husband attend my son’s birthday party when his father would be there (my other ex).
So, I found myself justifying my decision, rehashing the conversation, questioning my motives and trying to preempt the response it might receive from other guests. In some way, I was seeking validation or a tick of approval for my decision of wanting inclusiveness. So I quit it and headed straight to the guidance from the one opinion I value the most over any others, my heart.
I took a deeper look. I undertook some self-enquiry and checked in with my intentions. I wanted to be doubly sure they were coming from the right place, a good place and not a place of rebellion or ego. I sought clarity on my heart's desire.
Never surprising, the one thing underpinning the entire situation came down to love. It always does. The love I have for my children leads me to decisions that will enhance their lives. I want them both to be happy and able to share in beautiful moments of joy together with both parents when it is possible. I also realised that what other people feel or think about my situation is irrelevant to me. Equally I don’t require anyone else to live by my rulebook or to fit the way of life that works for me and just because it works for me it may not work for others. No one else needs to understand it or even like it. I live a life that is less conventional than most. I am ok with it; in fact, I am more than ok with it, I love it! I will continue to walk along the path less travelled; it works for my little tribe and me. We do not fit the typical mold. We are far from a 'traditional looking family’; I have two kids to two different men and am not in a relationship with either. I refuse to see this as being negative in any way, even if the outside world insists on showing me we lack in some way. I consider myself very fortunate. I had always hoped for a multicultural/racial family, and my two kids are exactly that, and they are also very loved.
This was a reminder to me that we are all here on our unique paths and that is ok. We must trust that the only guidepost for us is ourselves and not anyone else’s opinion. If it feels right, you are happy, and your heart smiles back at you at the end of the day you are doing it right!
Living my real life with love and courage in my heart is all I am required to do!
Only Love xx