When I got divorced well over a decade ago, my children were both under the age of ten. My youngest child of the marriage recently turned 18. We celebrated the day for her as we always do but something important happened for her father and me as well.
My ex husband and I have had our differences over the years on a number of issues. Although, by in large, we have been able to work them out, many of those disagreements centered on managing the time of our children. When my daughter turned 18 last week, she legally became responsible for her own time, making those disputes between her father and me moot.
Ironically, we had one last huge fight about it. I think it is hard for us, each in our own way, to let go of parenting our children in the way we always have. In some ways, this argument was about letting go of parallel co-parenting, acknowledging to each other (albeit somewhat dysfunctionally) the end of a long era that was sometimes difficult and painful for all of us.
I think it is important to acknowledge the transition of this connection to my former husband. We were married for 10 years and we have been divorced for 13. We are both remarried. We share two great kids and we have struggled to find a way to raise them together in a way that each feels good about. We have disagreed and argued but we have also shared pride and joy over accomplishments, performances and graduations. It has been a complicated relationship, difficult at times, but ultimately, no one loves our kids as much as we do and we will always have that in common.