I’m flying to Dallas with our son on Friday. He’s spending Spring Break with his maternal grandparents in Texas. They are both good and kind people. I truly have no former in-law jokes here.
Since our divorce, our respective families have grappled with our somewhat “different” kind of divorce. Despite that, on my former wife’s side, her parents have welcomed me into their home for events and at holidays, shared hotel rooms with me on co-parent vacations, and have truly embraced the model that we the two parents are attempting to establish. This certainly is not easy for them - though I hope it is made easier by the fruit it yields with their grandson.
The importance of grandparents cannot be overstated. The buy-in from family simply cannot be overestimated. They are vital participants in the post-divorce universe. Before our divorce, my own father served as a surrogate caretaker for our son (as an infant and early toddler) when my wife and I were both working hard and long as junior attorneys. I know in my bones that my former wife values my dad for what he has contributed, as much as I value the very different (but no less valuable) contributions of her mother and step-father. Indeed, our son is a reflection of both of us (genetically and otherwise) but also my dad (my own mom passed a year before our son was born) and also his mom’s parents. I think our son is better for all of that.
Right now, and despite us being divorced, my dad and his second wife and my ex wife’s parents get along well and without either of us. They’ve vacationed solo together. They are, to be sure, of a different generation and their sense, initially, of what divorce would look like was much different than ours. But their hearts are good, their intentions are sound, and they recognize the ineluctable truth in the much derided phrase “we are stronger together.”
Because, in the end - we really are (regardless of the political valence attached to the phrase). My ex-wife's parents are very different from me and I from them. The same is true of my father and my ex-wife. And yet, our ships sail in the same direction. For the benefit and love of a shared person - our son and their grandson. Here's to the love and commitment that comes from a common purpose and a shared goal. Here is to the support that people like us get from our own parents. Without it, our purpose and project would be much harder than it already is.
Regards - Former Husband/Dad