"My dad's in the hospital," my daughter said as we were chatting on Facebook.
Although I haven't spoken to my ex since 1993, I still wish him well.
It wasn't his fault that I married a man that existed in my mind. He probably married an equally imaginary woman.
And if the divorce was painful, when reality sunk in, I realized that my life was much better. As my daughter was growing up, we did co-parent well. He made sure he attended her concerts, declamations and other big events. Yes, he could have done more, but compared to a majority of divorced dads--and some at-home dads--he was very attentive during her childhood.
We shared her at Christmas, but only after my daughter was grown did she tell me, she would have preferred to not be bounced around but didn't think she had a choice. We blew that one, but I know both of us would have done as she wished if we'd known.
My daughter once asked why we were divorced when we got along so well. He had just been in our Boston condo, went to the fridge to get milk for his coffee. It was one of those long conversations where she sat on the bottom of my bed as I fought to stay awake, but didn't want to lose the moment of closeness by falling asleep.
I asked her to look at the differences in the way we each lived: suburbs, city, international travel, barely any travel, music a major part, music only a part, etc. Anything else, was really between her father and me, our immaturity at the time of marriage, etc.
As time has gone by I can see my first marriage (my learner-husband as one woman' called her first husband) was a good thing. I transitioned from child to adult, I learned to test myself, I fell in love with Europe and mostly--I have my daughter. Had I stayed married, I'd still have my daughter, but I would have stayed in Reading and done and seen only a fraction of what I've done in my life.
My divorce allowed me to lead the life I was meant to live.
Her father stayed overnight in the hospital for tests. He is about six months older than I am, although I still picture him like the last time I saw him. When I think that at 76, he is an old man, I have to remind myself I am not a young woman. Notice the phrasing there. I refuse to use the three letter adjective I used for the man I married 56 years ago to describe myself. I prefer the five-letter word.
I hope my ex continues in a happy, healthy life. And like I once I said to him, "Thank you for giving me our daughter and my freedom."