it is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of an ex-wife is must be in want of another ex-wife. my f2fb #164 carole smith is the first ex-wife of my ex-husband stephen and i am the second ex-wife.
when i first married stephen i was pregnant with joseph. i became an insta-stepmother to carole and stephen’s children david and elisabeth. carole had started a relationship with ann, and ann’s son adrian was a new sibling for david and elisabeth. with stephen and carole sharing custody of david and elisabeth, i spent a lot of time in the car waiting to drop someone off or pick someone up. and there was a lot of conflict as the parties negotiated expenses, holidays, and the usual he said she said moments.
so i never got to know carole until all the kids grew up. now we sometimes share holidays together. we have to a great degree been brought together by grace. not the grace of the lord, although there is the usual amount of that. but the grace who is elisabeth’s daughter has with her birth healed many scratches and bruises.
so i looked forward to seeing carole for lunch because we have so much in common and so much we share in our deep abiding ambition that our children–david, elisabeth, joseph, eastman and carole’s partner’s son adrian–will be close and supportive family to each other. it is as if grace has become the messenger of love. when elisabeth posts a video of grace on facebook, we all comment and hit like.
carole collects tiles, most of them from the nineteenth century. she is such an expert that she can tell the manufacturer and the year it was made by the feel of the back of the tile. these tiles were used on fireplaces, bathrooms, kitchens.
carole’s collection is so immense that it is housed in boxes and cd shelves. she has bid on ebay (she thinks of it as voting) and scoured markets and shops. i don’t understand the compulsion to collect anything but i appreciate her expertise.
when we first met, we were in a tense relation to one another–at lunch, we toasted our good fortune that we are now friends.