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#129264 June 19th, 2005 at 11:26 PM
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As some of you already know, my Ex and I have many profound differences -- that's why we are Ex's, after all. But in general I try not to rag on him too much, even when we are at significant odds with one another because of all he did to get Maxi here safely. There is a huge gratitude to this man, a gratitude that grows stronger in my soul every time I think of my boy.

Edward had proposed to me several years before Maxi was born and I turned him down. I told him "No, Dude, you don't want to marry me. You need to wait and find yourself a younger, healthier chick who can help you make a home and give you a family."

He looked at me and said "Merme, I don't want those things, I want you."

And he meant it, too. He really had no interest in having a family or making a special home. He was content with just the two of us being foot-loose and fancy free.

Then the day came when he turned to me and said "Chick, you must be pregnant. You are 2 days late!"

I said "Naw, not possible! It's probably just stress from hearing the diagnosis of the kidney disease."

"Well, Merme, in all the years I've known you, you've never been late before and you are 2 days late."

He was right. At the 10 day mark, I had the test and when it came back positive for Maxi, I called him on the phone and said "Well, Papa...."

He whooped and hollered with joy, he really did.

Well, neither one of us were aware right then how difficult that pregnancy was going to get, nor how much effort it would eventually take. We didn't have enough sense to be as scared as we should have been.

My docs sure were frightened, though. It had been 10 years since my last miscarriage (I'd had three losses altogether -- a very painful era of my life with husband #1). My health was worse, I was turning 39, so these 12 specialists were scared for us.

As it turned out, when things went bad -- and buh-lieve me, they went bad -- Edward was magnificient. This man who didn't even really want a family became the hero of the story, making an all-out effort to do everything in his power for a successful outcome.

It was my dream to have a husband, a home and a family, not his. But that didn't matter...he faced that horrible situation with as much determination and male strength as ever possible as though it was his own dream.

I sometimes think of how it must have been for him in those dark days. Having a sick wife whose body was failing at an alarming rate with a tiny life inside just trying to survive. I know he was terrified of losing me yet when the doctors tried to insist on aborting at 7 months to save my life, he backed my decision to continue the pregnancy for the baby's sake.

And that required even greater sacrifice on his part and he gave those sacrifices willingly, without complaint, scared though he must have been. He never faltered, not once.

Edward took special classes so he could be in the OR for the c-section and would be able to provide care for the child. We were all hoping to make it to 32 weeks so the baby would be only 8 weeks early, and a premie that small needs lots of extra care. Against all odds, we made it to 34 weeks!

Edward told me later that when they put Maxi on the little table to work on him after his birth, watching that tiny 3 1/2 lb. infant fight so hard to simply take a first breath was the most humbling experience of his life. It nearly drove him to his knees.

When they started to run to the NICU with Maxi, my doctors told him to run with them because I was ok, he took off down the hallway too, a giant sized guy in surgical garb bursting out the door, following his son.

Hours later when they brought me to the NICU on the stretcher so I could peek at the kid, there was Edward sitting in a rocker, still gowned up, holding Max for the first time, wires and tubes be damned. I will never forget the huge grin on Edward's face in total amazement at the little life in his hands.

For a man who had never wanted a kid to start with, he was great! At the hospital 'round the clock, taking turns with me caring for the baby. Wild Edward, the heavy metal musician in a yellow surgical gown standing over the incubator thinking of all the baby songs he could to sing to the boy in his beautiful baritone. I'd known Dude for years and didn't know he knew all the words to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Barney's theme song until I heard him singing them to Maxi!

And afterwards, through all the months of very demanding high needs baby care, Edward never let go. So although he and I have been over for years now, there's never been a doubt in my mind what he feels for his son and of course, Maxi adores his dad, even recognizing his real problems.

So I like it that there is a special day set aside each year when we can all take a minute and say "Thanks" to a father we know. It strikes me as such a small thing really, having one day in June to just be grateful.

Merme

#129265 June 20th, 2005 at 01:42 AM
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I agree with you Merme, no matter how disagreeable a divorce, we always have to remember that the father of our child(ren) is just that, a father. To not recognize that would be a great disservice to our children, and ourselves. (After all we married them) If we show bitterness to their parent, we will raise bitter,angry children and GOD knows we have way too much of that now.
Good on you Merme for an uplifting message for all of us. clp

#129266 June 20th, 2005 at 01:51 AM
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Well, Merme.....that made me cry!

I'm so happy that Maxi can have a relationship with his father. Too many times, children are deprived of their father after a divorce just because of the parents hatred for each other. I'm glad Maxi has a mother and father that care enough about HIM not to let that happen.

Cindy

#129267 June 20th, 2005 at 03:01 AM
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At the time of our divorce, Edward and I understood two things with great clarity.

We knew we would never agree about our personal issues that had been under dispute for years. Nobody needed to waste any time stating it all over again.

We knew we shared a great love for one child.

So we decided to sit down together at my kitchen table without a lawyer and do the divorce paperwork ourselves. We just agreeably stayed focussed on choosing things that we believed were in Maxi's best interest. When we got all the details nailed down for the sake of the kid, we went together to the notary and had the documents notarized. I filed the papers on my next trip to town and we both showed up at court with everything in order.

If the adults in a situation can't behave themselves, what hope is there for the children?

Of course when things got VERY bad between us after the divorce, we did all we could to keep it away from Maxi. Neither one of us would say "Your mother is..." or "Your father!" It was hard enough to help Maxi cope with the fact of the divorce that we didn't need to rip the kid apart using him like some kind of weapon.

Maxi still has no idea how much time his dad and I have spent in court AFTER the divorce because of Edward's bad behavior.

There are some things that are just none of the child's business. We both believed that all he needed to really know at any given moment was that "Daddy loves you, Maxi and Mommy, loves you Maxi." A kid needs to feel safe and loved.

So no matter how mad I'd get at Edward's latest rotten stuff, if Maxi said to me "Mommy, I miss daddy!" I'd simply say "I know. You two are best friends! I sometimes miss him too." Or if he would get mad at dad for standing him up on a visit, he'd tell me he was angry. Again, I'd just agree..."Yes, Maxi, you have a good reason to be mad at daddy today! but we still love him, don't we then." He'd climb up on my lap and say "yes, Mommy, I do. But I SO MAD!"

Validating his feelings seemed important at the time. I didn't want him to feel ashamed at his anger or guilty for missing dad, you know?

Later when Maxi figured out about Edward's problems he came to me and said "Mommy, when I grow up, I am not going to do all the bad things my daddy do." then he gave me the true list. Then he said "But I WILL do all the good things he do." Exactly, my son. Can you imagine a 4 year old coming to that understanding?

I was impressed with the kid.

I still am.

Merme

#129268 June 20th, 2005 at 03:25 AM
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All I can say, again, Merme, is that you have a truly EXCEPTIONAL child! You have done such a superb job raising him so far - he's so lucky to have you for a mom!!!

#129269 June 20th, 2005 at 03:36 AM
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Oh, I don't know, Lynne....

I posted a while ago on another thread that I am eccentric and his father is weird yet Maxi just seems to happily find his own way between us both.

Someone (G-mom? Jiffymouse?) posted back that with a combination of parentage like that, the kid was bound to be interesting. And he is. He seems to do well in spite of my best efforts! laugh

I do remember being so frightened as a new mom. I knew NOTHING about babies at all; I'd never even been a babysitter. And as the youngest of my clan, I didn't even have baby siblings to practice on.

So there I was 39 years old trying to figure out the first things about infant care. I tell you, I was scared!

Then one day it simply occured to me: While it is quite true that I've never been a mom before and don't really know what I'm doing, Maxi has never been a baby before and doesn't know what to expect! We are on this great adventure together! He's learning about being a baby while I'm learning about being a mom!

I calmed down then. And things have worked out pretty well for us ever since.

muggs

Merme

#129270 June 20th, 2005 at 03:40 AM
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Again, that is so wonderful! I had a very controlling mom, and to hear my kids talk, I am the "evil" mom because I hold fast to my rules and regulations. I think the way you are doing it is a great experience for you both!

#129271 June 20th, 2005 at 03:57 AM
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When my late sister, Penny, had children of "that" age, they started complaining too because of her rules.

I remember sitting in her kitchen with all the teens gathered 'round hearing them refer to her as "Commie Mommy" because of the rules.

My sister, a tiny woman, just chuckled and lightly said "That's right! This isn't a democracy, it is a dictatorship, and I'm the boss!" waving the spaghetti sauce ladle at them. We all cracked up!

Funny thing is, her kids are great adults and parents of really nice young people now too. Interestingly enough, they have very similar rules for their youngsters that "Commie Mommy" had set for them way back in the day....

Merme

#129272 June 20th, 2005 at 08:36 AM
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I had to laugh out loud at your description of your sister-- when my kids were teens- the older ones anyway , our house was the place they all came to get together..... one day I was cooking a big meal for 7 kids , I only had 3 of my own and they were all in the kitchen talking and I had put a couple to work washing up and making a salad, a couple setting the table and the rest doing one thing or another to help out- I turned and asked all why they liked it so much at our house- after all I put them to work- made them show me homework completed.... made them call and get permission from parents to be there at all-
They just got really quiet...then one of them came up with but thats why we like it- you have expectations and rules and we like that----- but MomSherri- please don't tell our parents ! I just laughed and kept cooking- come to think of it was probably spaghetti- ...... I used the line this is not a democracy here too- it is a MOM is the dictator ship...... was the meanest Mom on the block too!

#129273 June 20th, 2005 at 09:58 AM
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Merme, while reading this a MILLION thoughts were racing through my pretty empty head. What we will do for our children says it all. And yes...it is wonderful that we have a day to honor the father's that so love their children. Maxi is learning a wealth of knowlege just from your reactions towards his father.
I also have a "different" relationship with the father of my boys...he is their father and will always be. We ALL would not have made it through the death of our son had we NOT had the kind and thoughtful relationship from the begining. After Dayne's death...he and my husband have become best friends...as close as brothers. They call each other daily to check on each other. When Darin comes in From Little Rock, his father comes to OUR house for all meals and festivities. We now share a grandson....that is the joy of ALL of our lives. A lot of people do not understand this...but you know...our kids are healthy, happy and they NEVER have to worry about which parent to invite to birthday parties etc...they NEVER have to worry about..."well, if dad is here and mom comes in...there's going to be trouble!" They know that they can share their lives with ALL of us and receive the same love and reaction. No, we don't always agree with what the ex does in his "private" life...but those are his decissions.
You are a far bigger woman than most to instill this loving behaviour in your child. We ALL know WHY Maxi is such a sweetheart....he got that from his mommy!

#129274 June 20th, 2005 at 05:57 PM
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Merme, you amaze me everyday. I can honestly tell you that it is a comfort for me to come here and check every thing that you post. I have never known someone with such understanding and insight to always find the good in something.

The other day some friends and I were talking about things we'd like to do before we die, I told them about you (hope you don't mind) and stated I'd surely like to sit with a pot of coffee and Merme by my side for a whole afternoon. You are an inspiration for me everyday. Maxi is the luckiest boy in the world.

True wealth for a man is the pride he holds in his heart and someday some girl will find her prince charming when your Maxi comes along. Good work Merme.

#129275 June 20th, 2005 at 07:17 PM
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Tamara, plants n pots, now you girls stop it! You are making me shocked

Truth is, if you think that well of me, I've badly overstated my case! laugh

But y'all are welcome to visit any time and find that out for yourself. I'm easy enough to find....just drive to the nearest spot on the Atlantic shore from wherever you are. Turn left. Just keep on coming. Eventually you'll get to Maine and sooner or later will come to my coastal town....

I'll put the coffee on. thumbup

Merme

#129276 June 20th, 2005 at 07:31 PM
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I'll pick you upon my way thumbup

Can I drive the Escalade grinnnn

#129277 June 20th, 2005 at 07:53 PM
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G-mom and Afgrey, it wouldn't be a real caravan without the two of you!

I'd send my attendent to stock up on Bailey's and Zinfansomething and we could gab the night away if we felt like it. My nearest neighbor is a funeral home and they don't care about latenight noise! laugh laugh

But what does 7 year old Miss Lola drink?

Merme

#129278 June 20th, 2005 at 08:00 PM
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Merme, I sat here misty eyed reading your story. You are such a wonderful mom, and Maxi is doing so well. Don't sell yourself short.. we can all be our own toughest critics. I read the other thread you started about Maxi's haircut, and didn't get to reply, but gosh, I'd have been fuming too. Dad's gf had NO right, and really, that would have meant war for me. Don't cut my girl's hair, unless I'm going to take them! My mother in law took my oldest one in for a haircut once, with my permission, but was told under no circumstance to get it cut short. She obeyed. wink laugh

It was really nice reading how wonderful your ex had been for you & that tiny life growing inside of you. Men can be wondeful from time to time.

Meg


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