Awkward Moments – Why do we self-inflict the awkwardness? | Expat-Mom

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Awkward Moments – Why do we self-inflict the awkwardness?

22 Apr Posted by in Family Life, Religion | 3 comments
Awkward Moments – Why do we self-inflict the awkwardness?
When a long-term couple separates, it is always difficult for everyone involved; the couple, their family members, and the children. And when you have children, these two separated people are actually still forever tied.

Organizing overnight stays, vacations, and holidays can be done separately by taking turns. Ok, maybe a little rocky at times, but it works.

And then there are the child’s milestone events that only happen once, can’t be replicated and whether the parents like it or not, both should be in attendance… at the same time.

Today was the first event where all paths crossed for Kay and Sophie’s biological mom… and friends and family members from both sides.

What made today a bit complex was that it was a First Communion… a church of all places. A sanctuary.  A place where all people are supposed to feel welcome.

This year, as soon as we were aware of Sophie’s plans to make her first communion, we went to get a schedule of events so that when she was at our house for the weekend, we could make sure we took her to church. Her mother was insistent that there was no need and that she would come and take her.

We later learned that Bio-Mom was also teaching communion classes. Ok, so it makes sense that she should take her then. And we backed off.

As the day drew near, Kay and I talked and he was feeling a bit awkward about the day. We certainly didn’t want to feel like we were crashing a religious event, but we did want Sophie to know we were there for her.

And it was important for her Biological Grandparents and Great-Grandparents to see her on her special day… even though none of us had an official invite.

We spoke to Sophie in advance and let her know we would be there in order to prepare her and Bio-Mom… and she informed us who was coming from her mother’s side (I’m not a fan of using a child as a messenger, a hefty responsibility she has carried since she was about to turn six, but such is the burden she bears when parents aren’t on talking terms. Not her father’s choice, I might add. Not bashing… just sayin’).

Family members would be there that neither Kay nor Bio-Mom had seen since their separation. So, yes, anxiety may have been a little high for all parties.

Mass went well… I guess, considering everything was in German and I spent 95% of the time chasing… I mean, “taking caring” of Fynn. In a nutshell, here are the highlights:

1.)    Fynn refused to stay in his stroller/kinderwagen any longer than about 2 minutes and wanted out before the service even started.

2.)    Number of times toys were dropped or thrown: Only Twice, thankfully.

3.)    Number of times Fynn was calm: The amount of times hymns were sung.

4.)    Number of Hymns sung in English: One. (Hey, I was impressed that there was one.)

5.)    Number of things I actually understood during the service: Two, including the Hymn sung in English.

6.)    Amount of money Fynn stole from the collection plate: 3,50€. (He didn’t really steal it. He just wouldn’t let go of it to put in the offering plate, but later relinquished it randomly on some Bibles in the back of the church.)

7.)    Amount of money Kay actually gave in tithing’s today: I’m not really sure because he emptied his wallet into the plate when Fynn wouldn’t put any in, then ended up donating the 3,50€ later with the money on the Bibles.

8.)    Number of friends Fynn made: One – Female – Age, 2 years and 2 months – Blonde – Enjoys eating and sharing raisons. (I learned Fynn doesn’t like raisons.)

9.)    Amount of time Fynn made it through the service: Just long enough for me to miss seeing Sophie actually receive communion. Which I realized when…

10.) My favorite moment of the service… Kay came running out of the mass frantically asking me, “Do you want a bread?…Do you want a bread?” which took a moment for me to wonder what the h@ll he was talking about. OHhhhh, a host. Communion! Darn it! I missed it! “Nah, I’m good thanks.”

Finally, mass had concluded, and here was the big build up, the grand finale. What was to come of all these friends and family members from opposite sides of the tracks?

I wasn’t too worried. I’m not so angelic and have had and seen these awkward moments plenty of times before (women can be so petty).

I treaded lightly, but also didn’t want to make things more awkward by not doing anything.

I grabbed my paparazzi camera and jumped across enemy lines. (Not that I thought there were enemy lines, it’s just an English expression.)

Bio-Mom’s Dad and a friend came to greet Kay and also greeted me. Both very sweet.

I saw two friends (one from camp Bio-Mom and one from camp Kay talking).

And I saw Kay’s grandfather approach Bio-Mom and then later my sister-in-law also greeted Bio-Mom.

Phew! (Sigh of relief.)

I was able to get pictures of Kay and Sophie and then Sophie alone. I wanted pictures with the Grandparents, but I didn’t want to push it. I was also going to take pics of Bio-Mom and Sophie (thinking it would be a good gift for Sophie to give Bio-Mom), but I didn’t want her to feel awkward or get upset, so I didn’t.

All-in-all the event turned out well. I am glad the adults were able to come together, especially for Sophie’s sake. I think it is a long and emotional healing process, but Sophie was grinning ear-to-ear, and that’s all that matters to this Stepmonster.


Although… throwing an after-Communion party with no Communion recipient kind of sucks.


Maybe by Confirmation time (Firmung in German) we can all stand in the same room as fellow invitees?

I still have hope that someday it will happen. Not just for Sophie’s sake, but also for family members and everyone who was hurt by the break-up.

The number of people affected goes way beyond two.

And what irritates me most… why do there have to be sides? There isn’t a winner and a loser, both people must take responsibility.

It takes two to make a relationship work or fail. Not an army of people to solidify whether or not your choices were good or bad. (The hurt stems from each other, not from others who happen to be in close proximity.)

The fact remains that the relationship is over while life carries on; just because the couple is now divided doesn’t mean that family members have to say goodbye. The couple broke up, not the relationships surrounding the couple.

And we definitely shouldn’t make children suffer the consequences of those severed ties.

The least we can do is come together for the children.

Maybe I was reared differently, but regardless of how or why a relationship ended, we can’t spend the rest of our lives blaming every event on a break-up. And we certainly don’t need to make every encounter awkward.

Congratulations Sophie on your Communion and thank you, Bio-Mom for guiding her through this religious milestone!



  1. Peggy04-22-12

    Good words of advise, However, it does take time to get over the hurt, pain, bitterness, whatever. Took me several years, and a couple of children with my new spouse to completely let go of the bitterness.
    I hope it goes quickly for all of you. You did good! The important thing was to be there for her. I Love the photos.

    • Mommy04-23-12

      Yes, certainly. And it isn’t up to anyone to say what are acceptable emotions. Definitely. We all heal differently. I just hope for the best.

  2. Shelly04-23-12

    “The hurt stems from each other.” So true. Thank you for this post.

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