It was so important to me that my daughter to grow up with both parents. That was the driving force that helped me get over the hurt and pain of separation.
Because as much as I didn’t want to face my ex, I had no choice. Every time I looked at my daughter, I would see his face. In fact, just looking into her eyes, I could see how much she loved and adored her dad.
I knew I had to heal. And to begin healing, I had to first forgive myself. That was the hardest part.
Once I forgave myself, I could finally see some of the sunlight that was trying to shine through the dark clouds.
Once I forgave myself, I could finally move on to forgive my daughter’s father.
There was a lot of anger that we both carried, from everything that happened during and after our relationship. And I ultimately had to understand that even if he wasn’t ready to forgive me, I would still be okay.
Because forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It doesn’t require approval, and you may not receive it from the person you request it from.
That has been one of the most freeing revelations for me.
Once I learned how to forgive myself, I was able to move forward, and to see my ex for who he was and is; the father of our daughter.
Everyday, I learn something new about how to co-parent in a better way. My ex and I have been co-parenting for 6 years now, and it has been an interesting and transformative journey.
There is no wrong or right way to co-parent. It requires a lot of listening before speaking, and constant check ups to make sure we are still on the same page.
I have found that - for me - co-parenting requires friendship. Both parties must agree to disagree - and to not let the little things consume them.
I realized early on that my daughter’s father would be a part of my family. And for co-parenting to work, we had to define the terms of what family really was to us. This required lots of conversations and discussions. And believe it or not, after 6 years, we are still having those conversations.
Family is something you define for yourself, and that takes energy, vision, and kindness. I will do everything in my power to make sure my daughter knows that her family is - and will always be - there for her.
Summary of Parts I and II: In part one of this series, Sharita shares how she learned the meaning of being a “good mother”, and in part two she talks about the importance of defining what family means to you.