My son's mother, Connie, and I divorced way back in '78, but over the years we've become good friends again. Her husband and I often introduce each other to friends as "my husband-in-law"! That sounds so much better than "my X-wife's husband", and it doesn't carry the negative connotations that normally goes along with such an introduction.
|Belinda, Janet, Connie, and Judy.|
|Uncle James, Bill, Belinda, Brandon, and Brooke.|
I'll have to admit that would probably not have happened had we not had Corey in common. He drew us back together as his step-dad, Larry (now deceased), and I stood hanging on the chain link fence, side-by-side shouting encouragement, at his little league ball games. Larry and I also became friends through those activities, and over time Connie and my current/last wife Judy got to know each other.
|Gary finishing up the dogs, while Uncle Cecil supervises!|
|Judy and "Dub" (Connie's dad)|
|Aunt Wanda, Uncle Cecil, and Aunt Joyce!|
When Larry died, Judy and I were there, at the funeral, with the rest of the family.
Truth be known, Judy and Connie's relationship has had a lot to do with us ultimately getting closer, in a friendly, almost family again, kind of way. We now often visit to share a meal and our grandchildren, who are themselves instruments of peace and love.
|Aunt Wilma and Uncle James (Belinda's parents)|
|Mary Lois (Dub's friend)|
I like Connie now, which I had stopped doing by the end of our 10-year marriage, but now there is a "family love" for her. She is, after all, the mother of my son, and she is also a very good person. I can respect and love her for all that, without there being any other connection or feelings. We are just friends with the added connection of having a son and two beautiful grandchildren in common.
|Gary and Connie's backyard...made just for grand-kids!|
Her family has always been special to me as well, and her mom, before she died a couple of years back, and her dad always introduced me as "my son"! That was always a warm and mutual love her family and I shared. That connection would have always remained had Connie and I never reconnected again.
|Corey works on the slide under Brandon and Bill's supervision!|
Thank God it happened though. There is such peace in my life knowing that her family and I still have a close relationship. I am also thankful that my son and his girls will grow up knowing us as "family" and not X's! There will never be a need for them to feel anxious when we are together at birthday parties, like there is in other divorced situations. We will always be just part of the family...one family, in their eyes.
|Grant watches as Lily leaps into the air!|
Recently I took these photos at a gathering of "family". One of Connie's aunts, Wanda, came "home" from the Memphis area to see her sisters and their extended families. She specifically requested to see "all the family" together, so Connie made sure that Judy and I knew to come. It was wonderful to see her again. Her husband, Sam, was one of my best friends. Before he died, we did a lot of fishing and camping together. There is still a hole in my heart from his passing, and I'll write about all that one day.
|Lily aims the water cannon at herself!|
Gary, as usual, gave everyone the full food selection...burgers, dogs, chicken, and chile, along with all the fixings that support whatever one choose to eat! The food was great, which has always been a hallmark of that family.
|Judy wakes Kinsley from her nap!|
Connie's cousin, Belinda and her husband Bill, and I reminisced about our college days when we commuted from Harriman to UT. It was a special time for us; they living with her parents, and Connie and me living with her's. We had fun during the ride to and from school each day, and after school, and before studying, we played hard. Sometimes it was badminton, horseshoes, bottle rocket fights, playing polo with croquet mallets while riding on lawnmowers, or sliding in the snow on lawn-chairs attached to water-skis! We were always getting into something!
|Bill, Belinda, Connie (Oh, you know she'll hate this shot!), and Mushy back in 1969 while at UT.|
However, this past week we just stood back and watched our grandchildren as they played on the big water slide, and took pictures. There is always some new milestone to document, like Kinsley learning to climb up into the slide without help...what a great thing that was!
I had such a great time watching them play in the backyard and being with my other family again!