When a couple gets divorced, odds that they’ll appear in the same room together again are slim. But divorced couple Bill Gold, M.D., and Bess Gold, M.D., who parted ways after 36 years of marriage, have gotten an apartment together for the sake of their new granddaughter.
When the Minnesota residents and retired physicians learned that they would soon become first-time grandparents last fall, they knew they wanted spend more time with their daughter and future grandchild in New York City and help out with child care during the baby’s first year. So despite being divorced for about 10 years, the Golds made the surprising decision to go in on an apartment rental together. “I just knew I would want to be in New York more because I would have a grandchild,” Bill Gold told the New York Times.
After months of searching, the Golds found an apartment at the end of the summer within walking distance of their daughter’s place and split the expenses evenly. The former couple — now the proud grandparents of 3-month-old Tessa — takes turns staying at the apartment, which is mostly furnished with items they had saved after downsizing post-divorce.
So what message does it send their daughter and granddaughter by making their relationship work? “It says, ‘you’re important to us,’” Elizabeth Lombardo, clinical psychologist and author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love, tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s also great modeling, showing that you can work together even if you’re divorced.”
Lombardo notes that not every divorced couple is capable of being so amicable towards each other, but she says it’s possible to at least keep things civil by not pushing each other’s buttons, taking the high road whenever possible, and letting go of grudges. “When you’re holding onto that anger and resentment, it’s you who is miserable,” she says. “It’s not affecting your ex. You can forgive someone and still disagree with how they treated you.”
She also recommends zeroing in on what’s important — in the case of the Golds, it’s spending time with their granddaughter. “Focus on the big picture — something much bigger and more meaningful than past arguments,” says Lombardo.
The Golds’ daughter and Tessa’s mom couldn’t be happier about the unique living arrangement. “I feel so lucky that my parents came together to collaborate on this,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “I’m not surprised they were able to — they are both so dedicated to our family. I suppose what was a little surprising is that they were each willing to give so much of their own well-deserved retirement to taking care of Tessa. It is a true gift.”
She adds: “My husband and I feel very grateful for the arrangement. And for me personally, going back to work couldn’t have been easier knowing that our daughter is being cared for by family. I am confident that our entire family will only grow stronger going forward.”
After a busy career as a pediatrician, new grandmother Bess Gold is savoring this stage of her life: “I am totally content just to be with the baby and observe her, to walk around the city and put her in the stroller,” she told the New York Times. “It’s like my reward.”
(Photo: The Gold Family)