It was the first time in her life that both of her parents were at the same birthday party, at the same time. She has always had one party with Mom and another with Dad. This time, Mom and Dad were both there and everything was fine. Such a simple concept, and eye opening that we've never got that one right before. As it dawned on me, I realized that there has never been a good reason for this to be the first time. Her mother's side of the family are good people, and have always been very nice to me despite the tension in my relationship with my daughter's mother. Yesterday, that tension was finally gone.
Another lesson was learned, and it is probably the best advice I can give any parent going through this ordeal. If it is at all possible, eliminate the conflict between you and your child's other parent. This conflict is being used against you. Plus, it is not good for the kids. They deserve to have Mom AND Dad at their birthday party, not two different ones. You do not have a choice, you have to talk and work together. This is especially true when going through a divorce. I have learned that a lot of the conflict is fabricated. It's not real, it is perceived. Every situation is different to be sure, and no one size fits all approach will ever work. However, one truth remains, it is in your child's best interest for you two to get along someway somehow.
I found out that these last few years of conflict have been more or less self-imposed, because of a lack of communication, which it honestly sounds to me like that lack of communication was exploited by DHR caseworkers. They helped foment the conflict and fuel the fire, and it raged because the mother and I did not talk at all, except through short text messages which focused mainly on the when and where about picking my daughter up for visitation. I have been learned, however, that the caseworkers have more or less been playing us off of one another.
No more. I am ending this conflict now, once and for all. There is no good reason for my daughter's mother and I to be at odds like we have been, and it was a mistake on my part to allow it to happen as it has. However, it is a trap many fall into. As a friend pointed out tonight, when you get divorced what is the first thing most attorneys tell you to do? Do not speak to your spouse. There's a reason they tell you that and it is because they make money if you let them talk for you. The more conflict, the higher the attorneys' fees. In my experience, that is the worst thing you could do.
What happened on Saturday is possibly the best. Both parents, being there - at the same time - for their child as it is suppose to be. A moment of clarity, that moment was life changing, and I thank God for that day and that time with her. I also know surely more is in store, and I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Time to make the most of it, that's the least I owe my daughter.