When my brother and I were growing up, my Mom would occasionally loose it. What I mean to say is, she might raise her voice. Then she’d lock herself in the bedroom and sob. I don’t know how long she’d stay in there, honestly – I’m looking back through at least 20 years of time into a child’s memories. It was an immediate “Oh Shit” from my brother and me – though we definitely would not use those words. We realized we had pushed our mother too far and would sit silent outside. Sometimes we’d slide notes underneath the door with pictures of happy families or “I’m Sorry” or “I Love You” or “Can you come out now?” written on them. She would, when she was ready, and we would go on from there. It didn’t happen very often. I guess I’m not as good a mom as my mom….or maybe my children are not like my brother and me when we were children…or maybe I’m in TMOFN* and don’t have anyone to help me.
maybe it’s something else? I don’t know. What I do know is: I’m not doing so hot.
Last night I sat on my bed staring at this ring on my finger and was overcome by how empty it felt. Such a paradoxical thought – a ring, certainly filled by my finger, yet felt hollow, empty, lonely. I watched back episodes of Reign on Netflix where poor Queen Mary struggles with questions of marrying for the good of her country or marrying for love. I know it’s a dumb teen show that is barely historically relevant but it hit a chord inside me. I’m no Queen of Scotland. But my children are mine to care for just like her country is to her. Do I sacrifice happiness and love for their provision? Is that even a thing? or something I just tell myself because the alternative is messy and difficult.
You don’t know, dear reader, because I haven’t posted nearly all summer, but in July, I told him in very plain English to use the time I was in NY with the children to pack up his things and find a place to live. He told me that our arrangement – the living in separate bedrooms and sharing responsibilities of the children 50/50 felt like I was using him for his money. Well, forget that crap. If that’s who you think I am and what I’m doing then we can just forget this whole arrangement business. I found 2 five leaf clovers that day, and 1 four leaf. Just throwing that in there.
He, of course, pleaded, came up with a plan to save us (one that I had suggested nearly 6 months ago) and promised to follow through. Therapy. 3 times a week.
First he was appalled when I assumed he would be making the appointments.
Then he made 2 appointments a week but they all coincided with the kid’s summer swim lessons or my new job (though it was all written on “the family calendar” that I’ve been keeping for years in the entry way)
Then it was the usual. Excuses. His marathon training schedule is getting compromised. My new job is making more work for him….on and on. We settled on one appointment a week together with a new therapist. I am still keeping my weekly therapy appointment and he has nothing else.
We go to the new therapist. She has new ideas. They help for a day.
That is all.
All of this has pushed me into a hole. I don’t know what to do-or what to think.
I’ll tell you what I do think, just in case you’re wondering. I think he is benefiting more from this arrangement than I am. He gets to see his children daily, he gets delicious food cooked for him, he gets his laundry done, he does not have to split up his money (for in his mind it is indeed, his money), he does not have to admit failure.
I also think about what it would be like. What would it be like to have someone that really loves me? What would it be like to be alone? What would it be like to be the lone provider…I feel like I’ve made peace with it. That’s the difference. He hasn’t. I’ve stared at the open door and what lay beyond it with all of its potential and all of its terror and said “okay” to it.
The reason I pause-flounder-second guess….he says it’s a phase. He says I’m stressed about something else. Could it be just that? Is this just a haze that has settled because The kids are going back to school, Summer is over, I’m starting a new job, The cat is old and peeing everywhere…
Or maybe it’s because I told myself I’d wait until June. Back when June seemed to be an eternity away I said I’d wait until the end of the school year to decide and now it is August. June and July slipped away from me because I was away from him and now I’m back. It’s all back. And it’s all the same.
*TMOFN= the middle of fcking nowhere.