There are a few moments in our lives that are etched into our memories so clearly and permanently that we can conjure them at a moment’s notice. The night that we sat down at our kitchen table to plan our divorce was one of those moments for us. It was mid-October, the kids were in bed and the house was quiet. We each had a yellow legal pad and a pen. And most importantly, in the middle of the table, we had placed a photograph of our most valuable asset; our two beautiful boys. We had agreed weeks before that when and if this moment came, we would keep them the focus.
What we knew without a shadow of a doubt that night was that, no matter what we did, no matter how fair and mature we were, the situation we were about to create, which was Sam and Eli’s mom and dad living separate lives in separate homes, would never be ideal for our boys. No matter how much we loved them or how well we got along after one of us moved out, their lives would never be ideal. All we could do was make the situation as positive as possible given the circumstances we were imposing upon them.
They had no say in what we were doing. Our marriage had fallen apart through no fault of theirs. And ironically, they were the ones who would ultimately pay the heaviest price for our actions. That was (and still is) a heavy burden for us. We believed strongly that we brought them into the world and now were tearing their reality apart. The least we could do was everything in our power to keep the impact our actions had on them to a minimum.
We put their photograph on the table that night to remind us of what was important. When we looked at our other possessions in the context of the value of our most precious asset – our children – they seemed to lose their luster. When we looked at that photo and saw two joyful, incredibly beautiful and loving kids looking back at us, it suddenly didn’t matter as much who got the bigger T.V.
Now, ten years later, we've evolved into a new family together. It includes David's wife Valerie and her three children, Julie's husband John and his two kids, and all of the extended family that come along with them. Through all of the changes in our personal lives, we've never wavered from what we created that night at our kitchen table – a space between us where Sam and Eli know they are loved and supported by us individually and as co-parents, no matter what. We know this is possible because we're living it.
On the pages of this website, you'll find tools and insights that we hope will support you in your journey toward defining a new family for yourself as well.
Julie Anne Jones and David Gentzler