An open letter to my ex-husband's future wife.

You must be cringing as you read this.

You must be thinking I’m going to school you on how to treat your new boyfriend. You must be thinking I’m going to lay down some laws about how to treat my children.

That is not at all what this letter is about.


I would like to welcome you.

Welcome to this unique dynamic of “modern family.”

Welcome to the way we wing this life and this relationship. Yes, I said relationship, but not by its standard definition.

The children keep us in a relationship, much like your work keeps you in a relationship with your boss. If success is the goal, whether in work or parenting, the relationship between those who strive for that is important. I will not fill this letter with none-of-my-business type advice on how to treat a man I have known since I was 20. I won’t tell you anything that is personal about him; anything that he chooses to share is between you two. I’m not going to tell you why things did not work between us. All I will say on the subject of us is what I say to everyone:

"To me, he’s a great guy — for someone else."

This might sound weird, but I’m so excited about you.

My sons will see a side of their father they don’t even know they missed. They’ll witness the kind of happiness that blooms from the excitement, joy, and mystery that comes with a new relationship. They’ll see their father beaming with hope. They’ll hear him laugh (too much and too loud, as they’ve reported to us) and speak with a new charm in his voice. And because they love and admire him, all of these things will make them happier too.

Photo via iStock.

I want you to know that it is so important to be yourself around us. Please don’t ever feel threatened, intimidated, or out of place around us. Just like you, we are also fumbling through the newness of your place in our lives. We trust that if you are good enough for him, you are good enough for us. We expect you to have quirks, flaws, and a uniqueness about you that might leave us scratching our heads from time to time.

And we don’t want you to change a thing.

Don’t ever feel like you can’t speak to me, my (new) husband, or any of the boys.

Photo via iStock.

Say anything. Or say nothing at all. Please be you.

You’re going to see us (the kids, mostly, but also my current husband and me) quite often. You’re going to find yourself sitting with us at concerts, plays, games, graduations, and many other events. It will feel awkward at first, maybe, but I hope that changes quickly. While the kids know very well their father and I are divorced and done, they need to know we are united in our support of them, and this is one of the many ways we will unapologetically display that support.

I want them to look out at the audience while on stage and see all of us together watching them with pride and excitement. Many of my friends have asked me if sitting between their father and stepfather feels weird. I have done weirder things to esteem, encourage, teach, and build my sons. (Singing ridiculous songs about potty training is the first that comes to my mind.) This is no sweat. I ask that you join us (when you are ready) and become part of the united front that supports them unconditionally.

Say anything. Or say nothing at all. Please be you.

You may find yourself sitting through conversations between him and me. Please understand that we need to communicate in order to run our successful “business” of raising amazing humans. Sometimes we need to do it often. And along with the trust I mentioned in the former paragraph, there is trust you will know when it’s appropriate to chime in. Should you ever feel uncomfortable or insignificant during times like this, I ask that you look at the bigger picture and keep in mind that our communication outside the subject of our children is almost nonexistent.

He will never call to ask me advice on fashion (which is a good thing because I have none!).

He won’t call me to chat about a TV show he enjoys.

He won’t call me to complain about his work day.

Our relationship revolves around three growing boys. While other subjects may arise while we’re in the same space for a long period of time, please know that my role in his life is “mother of his children.”

Nothing more.

I give you a lot of credit for embarking on a relationship with a father of teenage boys!

This is new to them too, and they have no idea what to do or say around you. They are teenagers with their own lives, hopes, dreams, and intentions, and they may not always be at their best. I ask that as you become more of a presence in their lives, you get to know them individually.

My hope is that as time goes by and you are around them more, you’ll have a unique relationship with each of them. This will take deliberate work and effort. And at times it won’t be easy, much like anything else worthwhile.

Carefully and respectfully, I welcome you.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less