but before the big bad there was the Big Good.
I have to go back to last Wednesday. It was my night out to be free. Sadly, because of scheduling conflicts and other stuff, Wednesdays are now just any other day that ends in Day.
Campfire, good food, drinks, even better conversation. My friend and I have it all for 3 hours. I’ll miss it.
There were so many hilarious moments, so many secrets shared, so many times we laughed and I said, “This is totally going in my blog!” and we laughed harder. Sadly they are all a blur with the one exception of a statement about vagina eating shorts. Seriously guys, it’s a problem.
I was planning to head home, had finished my drink and was just waiting a little bit longer before driving home when I got a call from my neighbor. We’re both socially awkward so a phone call instead of a text means serious business – one at 9:30pm – even more so. Only it wasn’t my neighbor. It was my daughter. in hysterics. “I just need you to come home now every thing’s fine it’s all fine now I just need you to get home and I came over here to call you and now I’m thinking it’s a mistake and I don’t know….” Her words spilled out as if they were keeping her from sobbing – which they were. I finally got a partial understanding of the story. Husband brought our Son home from karate and he says he asked Son if he was hungry and he said no. They watched a movie until 8:20 and then it was bedtime. At which point Son said he was hungry. Nope. That’s the Rule. No food at bedtime. If you were hungry you should have gotten food earlier. Cue tantrum.
I’ve been told that all couples have fights that will never be resolved. Gottman even says so. One of our fights that will never be solved is how to parent. He believes that men should be “Stern, learn it the hard way” parents. Women should be the “soft and squishy” kind. Yet we still ridicule each other’s parenting style. We each think the other takes it a little too far.
So Husband sent Boy to his room, told him to calm down and go to bed. After 20 minutes of autistic tantrum-ing he apparently calmed down, Husband went in and gave him a hug and he immediately fell asleep. Husband then, apparently emotionally exhausted himself, went upstairs. There is another Rule: Daughter is FORBIDDEN from the upstairs. mostly because she’d go up to grab the old cat that doesn’t like to be picked up while she slumbers the remains of her life away. But also because she gets into things, comes up during inopportune times and for “silly” things when she should be in bed. (Our bedrooms are upstairs, the children’s are downstairs – I hate that and if I ever get another house, all the bedrooms will be on the same floor)
Whether it’s lack of theory of mind, total exhaustion or not caring, He didn’t think to check on the sensitive Daughter to make sure she was okay after listening to the Boy scream for 20 minutes. She wasn’t. She HATES it as much as I do, and didn’t know when I would be home. So she did what I instructed her to do IF she felt like she was unsafe – cross the street to our trusted neighbor and call me.
I’m not really sure this was warranted, however she also had no idea what time I would be home and waiting an unknown amount of time only adds to panic. I told her I’d be there within 30 minutes. To wait there. I’d bring her back over. The LAST thing I wanted was for her to get “caught” sneaking back in with Husband having no clue what transpired.
I also called Husband to get his take on what happened. I listened to everything and tried to be empathetic. It was a rough night for you…. Then I dropped the A Bomb. I tried telling him that it was all okay, I was going to retrieve her, please wait. I’m coming home but he hung up on me. Quick text messages to neighbor friend warning her of the incoming – I’m not sure they reached her in time. Of course he was calm and polite over there, but I’m told that once they were back in our house the furry was released. BACK TO BED. DON’T YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN and such. then things thrown and slammed.
I came home to find both children asleep in their beds, husband upstairs. I didn’t talk to him that night.
That was the BIG BAD.
There is another BIG BAD…
The problem I have with Asperger’s is the truth telling, I mean the real, ugly, no one ever really says that out loud truth telling.
My heart hurts even to type this-He has said to me, more than once, and it came out again that night; and not only that but Daughter FEELS it: He doesn’t love her the same as his biological child. He treats her differently. When he’s angry with her he’ll call her MY daughter. Those words shatter my rib cage, deflate my lungs and puncture my heart in a way that can only grow back scarred. It’s happened so many times that I swore this was the end of it all. I married him. I chose him for us – back when it was just Me and Daughter against the world. He knew we were a package deal.
Maybe it isn’t so much those words that damage me so much but my guilt. But all the same…
The flip side of all of this is that he has, actually, been putting in effort over the years in therapy to improve his connection with her. I’ve seen those results. His Black and Whiteness makes it impossible for him to simultaneously work on his relationship with her as well as me, so we suffer but his heart is there.
After some heavy days of thought and honest talking with my daughter I came to a conclusion. Another chance. I’m going to give him another chance. Now I know many of you might be smacking your foreheads right now, sucking in a “NO!” but it is what it is.
While talking to my daughter, I brought up a scenario-she’s also been forbidden from going outside by herself, numerous times, because she digs up the landscaping looking for bugs to collect. I asked her what we should do? If we don’t ever let her back outside, how can she gain our trust? If she digs up the landscaping again, what then?” Her answer was simple. “Forgiveness.” “Give another chance.” “ALWAYS try again.” Now I’m sure her answers were tainted by her love of bugs and digging in the dirt so I applied this to Daddy. “Daddy wasn’t there for you when you needed him. You left the house to call me because you were afraid of how he’d react to you. He has lost your trust. He has lost mine. What do we do then?” Her answer was the same. I’ve said before, her soul is old. She knows things intuitively and teaches me how to be better all the time. The poster I made of Mother Theresa’s saying that hangs on the kitchen wall has not rested there quietly. Maybe I need to read it more often.
Later, my neighbor friend said “You’re at a point where you have two decisions. One of them is fairly final – once you’ve made that choice, you’re pretty much stuck with it. The other one leaves the door open for you to eventually make that other choice if you choose, -not that you’d want to stay with one foot out the door- but also gives you a chance at something that might work.”
So that’s where I am. It’s a really confusing relationship right now. Our bedrooms are still separate but we crawl in to bed and snuggle – make love even….sometimes. We hug good bye – but ask first if it’s okay. We are still very distant in many ways, and in other ways I feel closer. It’s scary.