I have taken the day off from work, to spend with the boy. It was partially out of need and partially out of convenience. It's my 49th birthday, so I took the opportunity. Why not? It all worked out for the best. His school will not re-open until next week; mom and I were not able to get all the days covered otherwise. So, a full day with my son. What more could a nearly 50 year old man want?
Well: tonight Rachel, the boy and I will go onto the city. Mom has prepared a dinner at a sushi place, one where the plates arrive on a conveyor belt. We ate at a place like that in St. Petersburg, Russia once, she and I. We held fond memories of it afterwards. I suffered the worse case of jet lag that I've ever had on that trip, but there were still plenty of good times as well - midnight runs to underground bars on back streets, day trips to the museums, reading passages from Pushkin, dinners on the Neva. We were there during the White Nights.
We will have some sort of adventure today, the boy and I. Haven't yet put much thought into it, but there is plenty to do. Who knows, maybe I'll take him to a local kid's entertainment complex. And why not? I'd my birthday, what I enjoy most is watching him have fun. Though, that kid has an incredible memory. Next year he'll remind me of my own birthday tradition with him and expect to go again and again, in perpetuity.
I'm lying in bed as I write this. I usually sit at my kitchen table, even though I have a desk. I work at the kitchen table, so it feels more natural to write there in the mornings, nearer to the coffee.
As for a reflection on this day, I am more happy than I have been in quite a while, contented. After a few years of standard strife and then much heartbreak, Rachel and I have found a new way to love one another, against the odds and the unanimous urging from friends on all sides to not do so. Yet, the love works. It fits. I feel complete in a way that I have not in a long time before this, even in our previous life, perhaps there most of all. It feels good to see us functioning as a happy family, to see the effects of it in the lives of each other, to be at ease in it.
It's interesting what treating each other as equals has done for us, an almost unexpected turnaround. A thing we were not quite able to accomplish on our own was thrust upon us by an exterior force. I think every child bearing or having couple should have a standard custody agreement in place before the child arrives. I know that sounds like any of my other crazed claims and advice, but I am being quite serious. It's very easy to feel that you are doing half, or even more than half, in that or most any other divided scenario. It's another to always understand exactly where the halfway point is, and when you're not meeting at it, or when someone is helping you when you need it. I think that it did something to Rachel and I, for us to see each other functioning as good parents and working towards a common goal. Love was the result.
I credit the success of mine and Rachel's custody agreement with two things: being the agreed upon framework defining how we conduct and enact the terms by which our son will be cared for, and with saving our love and affection for one another. And respect, it requires that also.
So, thanks divorce! We are guests in each other's lives again.
Okay, the boy is calling from the other room, begging me to stop writing now. He has poured a bubble bath for us and wants to set up all of his bath toys on the tub ledge so that we can knock them over into the water all at once. It makes us giggle like children every time.