We’ll Dance at Our Daughter’s Wedding

Karen Kristjanson explains why she wrote a song about co-parenting.

We’re never entirely finished with our central relationships. At least, that’s been my experience. The bigger, the longer, the deeper – the more tendrils of feeling linger.

My first marriage ended more than twenty years ago. The sons that their father and I raised, first in one home and then from two homes, are grown. My former husband and I live in different cities and see each other only once or twice a year. We interact with civility accompanied by occasional flashes of affection or annoyance.

So what’s left? When our older son announced his marriage plans, I was excited. I wondered what to give him and his soon-to-be-wife for their wedding. As the day grew nearer, and I visualized the ceremony and celebrations, a conviction grew: the best gift I could give would be a joyful event free of any undercurrents of tension or awkwardness from the past.

To my dismay and embarrassment, I discovered that this would take a bit of effort from me. After all this time? Yep. As I pondered this, the image of the “wedding dance” emerged as a symbol of what my ex and I had been approaching, all these years. We didn’t do it perfectly, but we did create a new relationship that allowed us all to be part of a larger “family”.

The poignant feelings which arose led me to write and record a song – the only one I have ever heard – about co-parenting after divorce.

Here it is:

I would love to hear your reactions to it  – Karen

About Karen Kristjanson

Karen Kristjanson, author of Co-Parenting from the Inside Out: Voices of Moms and Dads, is a life coach and musician living in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Follow her at https://www.facebook.com/SharedParentingAfterDivorce.

Thanks to the Good Men project – the only international conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century.

You breathed with me as our babes were born
Watched their first steps together
Held each other through joy and loss
Knew that our bond was forever.
But distance was growing, in silences crept
Till there wasn’t an “us” any more
No magic elixir, no talented fixer
Could heal what was dead at the core
Our marriage has ended
Some rifts can’t be mended
But we’ll dance at our daughter’s wedding.
Living in two homes was hard on the kids
They had to keep track of so much
They managed to do it, and sharing our lives
Allowed us to keep love and trust.
When our son stomped off to your house one day
Not liking a rule I had made
You sent him right back, helping him understand
We’re separate, but on the same page.
Our marriage has ended
Some rifts can’t be mended
But we’ll dance at our daughter’s wedding.
There will be grandkids someday
I want to look at you and say
We kept our grown-up pain
Aside so they could claim
The best of what we had to give
We’re such different people, our gifts aren’t the same
Your adventurous spirit, my songs,
The kids learned in both homes to try and decide
What’s important, what’s right and what’s wrong.
Our marriage has ended
Some rifts can’t be mended
But we’ll dance at our daughter’s wedding.
Our marriage has ended Some rifts can’t be mended
And we’ll dance at our daughter’s wedding.