Once in a while, I see a glimpse of human nature that broadens my horizon about the endless possibilities of human relationships. As I read a very interesting book, I am beginning to understand why concepts such as "one and only" and "happily forever after," concepts mostly in the human imagination have been persistently fed over generations. The idea of a husband and wife and two happy children playing on the lawn with the pets to make a perfect family. More on that book later.
I asked a colleague if she has plans for the weekend. She smiled happily and told me that she is organizing a birthday party for her husband's first wife and both are spending the weekend together with all the kids. I don't know why I heard husband but thought father, my social programming perhaps, but I embarrassed myself by asking, "Your step-mom?"
She was amused. She corrected me, "My husband's first wife, not my father's."
Wow. It takes a certain mindset and maturity, a certain degree of evolution and acceptance to be friends with your husband's ex-wife and plan her birthday. Most people I know in this awkward triangle would be ready to kill each other, and understandably so. I imagined a hypothetical situation of hanging out with my husband's wife (I don't know if I would want to be the second one or the first one if it came to that). Honestly, I don't know.
I applaud people who can willingly be friends in complex relationships that might have involved anger, jealousy, hatred, and tears at some point. Especially because the husband, the binding agent in this case passed last year. So this birthday planning was obviously not coming from a place of compulsion.