This has been an interesting week. I went to visit my brother and his family, then came home to have my former mother in law and my ex living in my home while they visited my children. The back and forth emotionally was exhausting. It was worth it in every way.
My brother is someone I've looked up to my whole life. As adults we stopped getting along somewhere along the time he decided I had stopped maturing at twelve (just like I will forever see my little cousins as being preteens, despite the years that have occurred since) and ended up just like my mother. And I, resenting that and having experienced his stubbornness first hand, decided he was a jackass.
What happened was a visit without my parents there to interject, and without the distraction of children so that adult conversation was truly adult conversation. We stayed up late every night to talk. We needed it. By the time I left, my brother stood up, in tears and said, "[Insert my full real name here] I don't believe we've ever met. It's really good to know you." Of course that made me cry too.
That feeling I had when I realized that my ideal childhood wasn't shared by the brother I idolized, that feeling where he'd been stripped away from me and I stood alone on those beautiful memories, alienated from him... they fell away. Now I feel like I've been given back that brother and we're going to be okay. I left the visit with an open invitation to join my sister in law's family at Christmas time when they go to a lodge in the middle of the woods to spend time together. It's like I have a family again. I can't express what that means to me.
The other moment, when I came home to potential disaster, was reaffirming. Even though my ex-mil was a huge influencer in the way the divorce was handled (and that's not a compliment), she got to see some of the things I had to deal with. And I, in turn, got to hear her express her frustration with him, at him. The thing that saddens me is the way the kids have to see it.
I can tell that man is running out of money and friends because he seems to think that telling me he finally appreciates me will make me swoon and run back. Never fear, that's not even a blip of a thought. It's just comical at this point. He thinks we can be friends after the kids leave my home for college. In six years. I told him not to hold his breath because I have no interest in talking to him again once that happens.
I needed this week. It was replete with deadlines and urgent emails, emotional ups and downs, yet in the end I had more reaffirmation than I've had in years. You know what? I'm doing all right. Better than that. I'm doing great and on top of that, I'm happy with the choices I've made. How often do we get to say that?