Gather ye divorcebuds while ye may
“If Hitler invaded Hell,” Winston Churchill said, “I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.” This is just the sort of quote that would absolutely delight my older son, who is enamored of world history and military strategy. He has become the sort of kid who will come up to you while you’re mixing the pancake batter and ask, “So Dad. Great Britain took over Hong Kong because of the opium wars, right?” At which point you blink a few times and pretend to be too busy measuring baking powder as a flimsy attempt to hide your abject ignorance of 19th-century China.
As in any strategy, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So in this scenario, I am Churchill, my ex-wife is the Devil, and we’re united in our quest to fend off Nazis.
I have to say I like equating Moxie with Satan and knowing that, when she reads it, she’ll know I’m kidding. Because that wasn’t always the case. But after a few years of the entire Spectrum of Wretched and a nerve-wracking negotiation to leave New York, Ann Arbor has brought us something of a stasis. Part of this stems from our new, lower-key, decidedly non-urban lifestyle, but we also are bound by a common enemy: The challenges of raising two very different boyz to men.
Our older son has landed in Tweenertown, in a new school with a new social order to navigate. He’s happiest in one spot, beefing up his knowledge of phalanxes and broadswords and such. Our younger boy once sat still for eight seconds (I timed it) and eagerly flubbers from thing to thing. They’re growing up fast, and they need our guidance. And Moxie and I know that, together or apart, we still have to teach them manners, and stay on top of their homework, and maintain a (mostly) united front when it comes to upholding each other’s punishments.
It’s our life’s greatest and most challenging work, and we need each other to pull it off.
I know we’re very lucky. We’re both able (for the time being, anyway) to work from home and maintain somewhat flexible schedules. We have the time for a Monday morning coffee to handle all that the week has in store for us, and an eager grandmother less than an hour away if we can’t. This the Golden Time—the time to forge a mutual trust that will support us later, when our lives inevitably change again. I hope it’s strong enough to hold, but I’ve lived long enough to know that you never know.