Our children change every day as they grow; as parents we are on an endless path of learning and growing, too. What should I say now? How can I get that done?
Add divorce and it can be overwhelming.
I have heard that soldiers from the world wars defined themselves in the intensity of battle and were different people ever after. For me, divorcing my children’s father and finding workable ways to co-parent with him had a similar impact. There was so much pain, growth, and learning for me, whether I looked for it or not.
Knowing that the co-parenting my boys’ dad and I did was only one of many ways to do this, I have interviewed forty-two mothers and fathers who co-parented. Their stories made me ache. They inspired me. I felt amazed, angry and admiring. Each story unique.
What Stories Do
Their stories as I recorded them don’t try to condense the whole complexity of life into one lesson, or two. Instead each story lays out one particular set of events that we can follow, and see what happens, and why.
I find what happens inside people compelling and fascinating. And useful! How we see our world, our choices, shapes what we do, and how we do it. The parents who agreed to speak with me shared their outside and inside stories. By doing this, they allowed me in, knowing that their choices and ways of thinking wouldn’t always make sense to others.
But in reading many stories, we can start to see where our own story fits. And then we feel less alone.
We get ideas on how others approached horribly hard things. Hearing how other parenting stories end, as the children reach maturity, we can feel hope that our story, too, will end well. Hope is part of the wisdom we can harvest from others’ stories.
If you are co-parenting, where are you in your story? How do you want your story to unfold in 2015? Think about how to translate what you feel and want – your inside story – into actions. I hope you’ll share below in the Comments.