Friday, May 16, 2008

The Meeting

As most of you know by now, my mom and my step-dad are separated and proceeding with a divorce. They have quite a few shared assets to divvy up. Neither of them wants a big, long, lawyer-fueled divorce war. They'd rather sit down like civilized people and talk business until they find an agreement they can both live with.

My mom is at a disadvantage, because she's not exactly a business-woman. My step-dad has speculated in the stock market and other financial venues since I can remember. My mom was content to squirrel away a few dollars here and there into GIC's and savings bonds in order to have something for a rainy day. Anything more complex than compound interest indimidates her completely.

So when my step-dad invited her to meet for a disscussion of their financial affairs, she asked me to come along for moral support, and for a second opinion.

Try to imagine, for a moment, how much I was dreading this meeting. They might both claim to want an amicable resolution, but emotions are running high - higher still because financial matters are at stake. I pictured myself caught in the middle of a pitched battle, or a pinched silence. I didn't sleep well the night before.

I asked for permission to bring Ken along, and my folks agreed. I thought it would be easier with another person there to diffuse any tensions.

The evening of the meeting came. And guess what? No arguments. No awkward silences. It was the four of us, meeting as a family, albeit in an "adjusted" state, to have dinner and discuss business. At the end, while my step-dad was away from the table for a moment, I turned to my mom and said:

"It's weird, but this divorce is really bringing us together as a family."

Maybe it's one last burst of togetherness before everyone goes their separate ways. Or maybe my folks will be able to stay friends. Who knows? My step-dad wants to. My mom's not ready to decided yet. Time will tell.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

How odd.. who knows maybe it's one of those better as friends things. Glad the meeting went well and seemed to bring you together. I personally would be a lot more... ummm agressive/vindictive given the circumstances of how he left your mom, but I've been told I hold grudges. I hope things go smoothly and the settle out fairly for everyone.

Karen said...

You should be proud of your family. Not everyone can be so mature during those emotional times.

Nilsa S. said...

That just goes to show how mature your mother is. You think she's at a financial disadvantage. Well, she's also at an emotional disadvantage. So, it's impressive she didn't let the very personal stuff get in the way of figuring out money matters. I'm highly impressed with all of you!

Leighann said...

I'm glad to hear that the meeting went well. It's not often that people can see eye to eye on something as touchy as finacial matters.

I'm certainly hoping for the best for everyone involved.

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: My mom gets most angry at my step-dad when he's not around. Then she focuses on all his failings. But when he's right there demonstrating all the qualities that made her love him in the first place, she can't maintain the anger.

Karen: Thanks - I am proud of us. :-) Everyone is trying hard to be civilized, and I'm grateful.

Nilsa: Thanks! My mom is handling this with a remarkable amount of grace. That doesn't mean that she doesn't sometimes fall apart or get spitting mad, but when it counts she keeps herself together.

Leighann: Thank you. It's true- financial squabbles often bring out the worst in people. My step-dad is being fair and helpful, and I know my mom appreciates that. I do too.

Keera Ann Fox said...

This is a rather bitter-sweet story. I hope it has a happy ending.

nicole said...

I keep my fingers crossed that things keep going civilized!!
And who knows, maybe it works that you guys can meet from time to time and have dinner or whatnot....
Best of Luck to all of you!

Claire said...

Wow. You guys are doing so well. Love and vibes being sent to all of you.


Dianne said...

My brother and his ex-wife are so much better apart and their daughters are happier to.

It happens.

I'm really impressed with how you all worked together. And you handled a difficult situation so well.

I hope continued peace for all.

Sparkling Red said...

Keera: I believe it's for the best. It'll just take a while for my mom to realize that. :-)

Nicole: Thanks! I know my step-dad would like it if we could all socialize together. We'll see what happens.

Claire: Thank you. Good vibes are gratefully received. :-)

Dianne: Thanks! It's good to hear that things worked out for your brother and his family.

Jenski said...

Hopefully this is indicative of how the whole process will be. Even if there is anxiety before discussions of asset splitting, if the actual discussion goes well, hopefully there will be no additional hard feelings in the end.

ConverseMomma said...

Sorry to hear your parents are going through this, but happy to hear they are handling it the way they are.

Sparkling Red said...

Jenski: I hope so. It's funny, even though I'm not exactly a child anymore, my presence still has the effect of making them see that they still have something in common, I think. They have an audience to impress. I don't mind playing that role.

Conversemomma: Thanks! :-)

Aurora said...

That sounds so wonderful. Also very unusual--unlike anything I've ever heard about these kinds of negotiations.