Like It Never Happened
My life is generally divided into B.D. (before divorce) and A.D. (after divorce). I divvy up experiences, locations and even relationships between these two categories. I am (often painfully) aware of this division, this singular event that has fractured my life in two.
Last night, for a magical few hours, that mental division was erased and the crevice between my selves felt filled.
It was just a simple evening at an outdoor concert with friends – two couples, one with a kid. One from B.D. and the other (at least for me) from A.D. These blendings of friends are rare in my life due to the twin constraints of busy lives and Atlanta traffic (my B.D. friends live a minimum of 45 minutes away).
It felt great to join the two groups, but that wasn’t the magic. That’s where the kid comes in.
The B.D. friends, Sarah and Curtis, are extremely special to me (they are the ones who opened their home to me in the first year A.D. – Wanted: The Ronald McDonald House for the Recently Separated). They have been in my life for the past decade. Due to Curtis’s schedule, Sarah, my ex and I used to enjoy events together – everything from a King Tut exhibit to the annual Brew at the Zoo. We were thrilled for them when they started the adoption process almost five years ago. Although my ex and I never wanted our own children, we both enjoyed playing the avuncular role with other’s offspring.
Sarah and Curtis received the wonderful news in April of 2009 that they had a baby girl waiting for them. She was still in the NICU and would be for several more weeks due to prematurity and other complications. In their eyes, she was perfect. She came home that May. She was still quite fragile and was tethered to tubes and alarms that kept Sarah anchored in a corner of the master bedroom for the first couple weeks.
On her first Saturday home from the hospital, I made plans to visit. My ex declined to accompany. I thought it was strange for him to miss meeting this child that meant so much to our friends. I thought it was strange, but I brushed it off. In retrospect, he didn’t want to meet her because he knew his days in that life were numbered.
I’m glad they never met. That tiny, fragile infant has since grown into a spirited four year old (Let’s Go On An Adventure) that embodies a Botticelli beauty. A child that has no memory of my life B.D. and a child with whom I have no memories associated with my ex.
I loved watching her with Brock last night as he taught her how to walk Tiger on a leash (unfortunately, no photos were taken but just picture this 30 pound girl walking a 95 pound pit bull through a crowded park – the looks we got were priceless!) and she gifted him a “friendship rock.” He has fully embraced the uncle role with her, even though they do not see each other often. Brock may not have been there for those years waiting for the adoption and the first year of her life, but he’s here now. And, as far as she will know, he is the only husband (okay, so he’s not that yet, but soon:)) that I have ever had.
A quick side note here – Is it weird that I love watching Brock interact with kids even though I don’t want them? I just love seeing how comfortable he is and how he understands how to communicate with them at various developmental levels. Makes me smile.
Last night, the harsh distinction (that exists more in my mind that anywhere else) between B.D. and A.D. blurred as I sat with friends who have made the journey with me and friends that have only known me after. As I looked around the group gathered on our tarp, it didn’t feel A.D.
It just felt right.