The “Modern Family” Exists Here


My weekend was pretty non-stop, talking to national advocates and friends about disability and special education, and working on Latina Mami locally with new board members. But babysitting for my ex??? If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be babysitting for my ex-husband and his wife so they could go on a date, I would have laughed in your face. Maybe even slapped it.

There were horrible years of me and my ex coping (badly) with autism demands and after 13 years of a not-so-blissful marriage, it took FOREVER (seriously, like 5 years) to legally divorce. We (and by “we”, I mostly mean “I”) fought nonstop. One of the main reasons I left Texas was to get away from the turmoil of our daily interactions. And we still have resentment that bubbles up from time to time and then we know it’s time to hang up & talk through our spouses.

But, time goes on and life goes on, I guess. So I found myself wishing my ex and his wife a fun time on the beach, and babysitting Aidan’s stepsister, who is more like me in her daily girl dramas than any other kid I know. (Although I’m working on her feminism.)

When they came to pick her up, Aidan’s stepmom assisted with planning out decorations for Aidan’s room and ideas of how to put cozy netting on his bed so he can have another hideway space. (She even understood when I told her NOOOOO I cannot *ever* put my child’s mattress on the floor because that brings up crazy stuff for me being poor and the “illegitimate” child of a father whose-Cortez-name-I-don’t-carry and being unwanted by an entire family who have never-even-taken-a-moment-to-know-wonderful-me and while I’m frugal, there are things I can’t concede on and yes I totally know it’s MY baggage but MY SON WILL HAVE A HEADBOARD, DAMMIT! She said, “Got it: let me talk to my neighbor about cutting down Aidan’s bed frame or building a custom smaller one so we can fit it in this corner for him.”)

We all ended up talking more life planning for our blended families together while Aidan’s stepsister helped him work on math problems (see above). We discussed plans for Johnny’s sons and grandkids and what he wants to do for them and spent time figuring out how Aidan’s stepsister will play into his adult life. FYI, she’s 8 now and flying next month for the first time ever on her own, and has announced that this is how she will practice how she and Aidan can “fly all over the world” together.

When the conversation got to us investing in a Hawaii property together (which I have to stop Johnny from doing every day, no lie), we all kind of stopped at what a crazy idea it was. But it made sense, for the extended time periods that we want to go in the future (California would be our primary residence because of Aidan) and a way to keep Aidan with us and get breaks from him, too. But still kind of CRAZY.

And then Aidan’s stepmom said “Isn’t it wonderful that Aidan has FOUR adults and extended family planning and figuring things out for him???”.


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