There are moments when I'm washed with a wave of gratitude and relief to be joined with this man, moments when I recognize the subtle poison of many years' habit slowly leached clean by today's reality.
The Ex did not particularly love my parents. He didn't hate them, but he didn't ever feel terribly comfortable around them--and he most certainly resented them during the months they were here. We would go years without having them around, and then when they were--well, I wanted to spend time with them. So schedules would be altered, plans would be made, and sometimes they'd want to come over just to spend time. You know, with their daughter. With their son-in-law. With their grandchildren.
He resented the changes to the status quo. He resented having to fit additional people and plans into our holidays, our weekends, our summers. And he outright hated having them come by to visit if there hadn't been, oh, a week or so of advance notice.
I grew accustomed to mediating. I'd tell them I needed to check with him first before confirming. He'd rarely say an outright No, but I would be in for a long bout of soothing, cajoling, and hours of underlying tension. Flexibility and graciousness were not his strong points. I felt torn, forced to choose between my parents and my husband.
Looking back, no one won in that scenario.
Flash forward to last night. My parents are back in the country--they flew in this last weekend--and while MTL and I were able to spend some time with them, they hadn't gotten to see the kids yet. We had plans for them to come to dinner Friday night, and I hadn't told the boys that Grandma and Grandpa were back in town, since I didn't want them to get too upset about waiting. The Ex must have said something to them. Yesterday when I picked up The Widget from daycare, he took one look at me, burst into tears, and buried his head in his arms. I miss Grandma and Grandpa! he sobbed, and it was with no avail that I assured him they would be visiting the next day.
So I called them, and we made plans for them to come by for dinner and a brief visit.
As I hung up the phone, a wave of apprehension washed over me. I hadn't checked with MTL before making the plans. How would he feel about it? Would he be angry about my parents showing up a day ahead of schedule? Would he resent them spending this much time at our house? Would he be upset that I had invited them before checking with him?
I texted him nervously and waited for his reply, reminding myself that he is far more laid back than The Ex in these matters, reminding myself that he showed no sign of resenting my parents this last weekend--he was even pleased that their plane's delay allowed him to accompany me to the airport to pick them up.
Sure enough, when he called me, he had no problem at all with the change in plans. There was no guilt trip, no resentment, no tension. When I told him later that night what I had experienced, he just looked at me and said I'm a silly girl--and when I explained why it had happened, touched my arm with compassion and understanding, and told me not to worry.
There are so many reasons I love him. He keeps giving me more every day.