A couple of months ago, my wife wrote a blog about the relationship she has with my ex-husband. Over the summer, we were trying to figure out how to define each other’s ex-husband to others in the fewest words possible. I coined the term “ex-husband-in-law” (although, she kind of takes the credit for this stroke of genius). We are both so lucky to have these men in our lives. Now, it’s my turn to tell you about my ex-husband-in-law (EHIL).
He and I do not have the same kind of relationship that my wife has with my ex-husband. I am harder to get to know. I have these unintended facial expressions that confuse others. I’m harder to get close to than she is. He and I don’t spend as much time together as the other two do. But, my relationship with my EHIL is central to my daily life.
He is one of the most fun guys you could hope to meet. He’s the type of guy who has fun no matter what he is doing. He’s also great at making things fun for others. I still remember the first time I met him. It was over dinner. I was meeting my friend’s husband. Immediately, I could tell that he had this wonderful sense of humor. Pretty early into the evening, he told us about this coffee concoction that he had been drinking. It included some interesting ingredients like butter and eggs and was called “bullet proof” coffee. I watched as my (now) wife tried to stop him from divulging so much strangeness so early into our meeting. He either missed her cues or chose to ignore them. Mostly, what I remember from that first meeting was laughing a lot.
After my wife and I decided to be together, solidifying a positive relationship with my EHIL was critical. It wasn’t just important to me. It was important to him too. At first, we talked on the phone. Then, we texted each other a little. Later, we went out for an evening of running and bar hopping. I remember being so nervous. But, it ended up being a really fun night. I laughed a lot. We talked about his kids- who would become my kids. We talked about him and about me. We learned how to build a Long Island Iced Tea over multiple bar stops, one shot at a time. We ended the night by purchasing commemorative glasses at our last stop and running/walking the last 11 blocks home.
The challenging part of blending families usually has nothing to do with the kids. It’s about the adults. Luckily, I knew this from personal experience. I shared this with my EHIL and told him how important it was to me to support the role he had in his kids’ lives. He agreed and that has meant more than pretty much anything we’ve shared.
Besides his willingness to share his children with me, my EHIL is kind, generous, and easy to talk to. He really listens when someone talks to him. And, he remembers things he has been told. He builds genuine connections to others. He is smart- like, the kind of guy who can problem-solve almost anything. He is patient and usually the parent to help with homework.
I love watching him interact with #5 (who is not his child). He is playful and loving. In our year of day-to-day interaction, he has been supportive. We’ve called him when with plumbing and heating issues, asked for extra help with the kiddos, and enjoyed his company at various social gatherings.
Is my EHIL prefect? No. Am I? Hell no. But, we have choices in this life. We can choose to focus on the negative things, wish things could be different. I find that to be a wasteful use of brain power. Instead, I challenge myself (and you, our reader) to focus on the good in this life.
So, to my EHIL- I love you very much. You are one of the most important people in my life. I am thankful for you and I look forward to what the future has in store for us and our beautiful family. Thank you for all that you do for our family.