"We made that" the ex-hubs nudges me with an elbow, smiling and nodding toward our nine-year old perched on a riser at the front of the school gym, singing with the choir.
"Yes," I agree, recalling the obstinate tilt to her head & the tip of her tongue that peeked out in concentration earlier when she was accompanying on the xylophone. "But I think there's more of you than me in there today..." her crystal blue eyes flash up at us with a quick pre-teen twist of a smile lobbed at us both, squeezed from her almost painfully in front of the throngs of parents and friends in attendance.
The strains of Carole King's 'You've Got a Friend' bring pinpricks of tears to the backs of my eyes, and I glance up at the gym rafters and blink. Hard.
"Nah" he continues. "She practices! That's all you...that dedication"
I snort softly, instantly taken back to days of endlesd band rehearsals and auditions. These kids all have their father's music in them at a cellular level. It sems like just yesterday they were climbing into his guitar case, curling up in the body of it like a nest While he picked out a tune & crooned soft, nonsense lyrics to them as toddlers. A lifetime ago.
But it's comfortable, this patter between us.
Meanwhile, our youngest slips her hand stealthily into Penny's a few feet away, and my phone vibrates, a message from The Captain. And I marvel at how lucky we are to have built such a cocoon around The Munchkins. To have found people so willing to accept them into their hearts.
Co-parenting is a rough road. Whether you live in one house or two, whether there are one, two or four of you, it's just rough. And it takes time to hone out what everyone's roles are along the way. There's no right answer, no cookie cutter that fits everyone. You try and fail and try again. Our village is ever-changing, ever-expanding.
We've clawed our way into a good place, though, think.
And for this I am so, so grateful.