I think it’s serious
It was my turn yesterday to write a post, but instead I was lying in a pool of my own sweat, trying to sleep off the body aches and chills of illness. Turns out I have strep throat. Or, as the doctor at the clinic near my apartment said when I dragged myself in this morning, “Wow, you got a helluva strep throat!” I’m on antibiotics and painkillers and prednisone now. Awesome.
As I was lying there, feverish, for 36 hours, several thoughts occurred to me:
1. I wish Pandora hadn’t given me “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths right before I left work on Tuesday, because that is *not* a good song to have stuck in your head while you’re achy sick alone in the wee hours. Although I suppose it’s better than “Girlfriend in a Coma.”
2. What kind of person has fever dreams about baked ziti and mannequins of the Obamas, together?
3. Being sick while divorced and co-parenting is so much better than being sick while in a lousy marriage was.
Back when I was married, being sick wasn’t just being sick. Being sick and how we dealt with it was indicative of the entire relationship. Instead of just sick, I became sick and resentful and hopeless. Lying there sweating was about who I could rely on and what that meant for The Future. When you have to be a team but you’re not a good team, sickness gets ugly.
Now that we’re co-parents, being sick is just being sick. It happened that I was sick Tuesday and yesterday and today on days that the kids were supposed to be with their dad anyway, so no one was inconvenienced. But a few months ago when I had food poisoning (after a high-larious episode in which I threw up on the subway but did it so stealthily that the kids didn’t even notice until I told them), LOD rearranged a bunch of stuff to take the kids *and* brought me gatorade when he came to get the kids (Fierce Grape: sugar, water, fierceness). And yes, it’s about making sure the kids are being taken care of appropriately, but it’s also because we see each other as co-workers now, so the element of equity/inequity is greatly decreased. Sick is just sick, not a greater plot.
I’m realizing that so much of what makes co-parenting possible is what came to me in my sickbed: When you’re in a bad marriage, every interaction is important and writes the rest of the script of your mismatch. When you’re no longer married, an interaction is just an interaction. You may not like or agree or even remotely understand why the other person is doing or saying what they are, but you can go back to your own home and not have it mean anything about you or your future.
I love reading the comments by people who have very friendly relationship with their co-parents because they’re heartening, but that’s not really where LOD and I are. It’s enough for me that I am (mostly) not hurt by him anymore. When we were married, it felt so prescriptive. Now I can just let him be. That’s way more important than I would have predicted.