On 7 February, the soon-to-be-ex and I had court ordered mediation to decide on visitation parameters. The court had ordered that we divide all the three-day weekends that are offered during the school year (there are only 5), divide Spring Break and Thanksgiving, 6 weeks of visiting in the summer and then divide Christmas break evenly.
I was feeling generous and gave him all of the three-day weekends and the bulk of Christmas break. Why? Because I know that the kids will not see him that often because he lives so far away.
So, seeing as how this is a three-day weekend, the kids are with him right now. We arranged for a drop off time in Delaware and I got up yesterday knowing that I had to pack up the kids and get ready to get on the road by 11:30 am for the meet time of 1 pm.
Well, as usual, it didn’t go as planned because he screwed up.
He called and told me that he woke up an hour late and then got stuck in traffic, bumping our meet time to 3 pm.
Yeah, the kids were thrilled with that.
Added to that, he refused to take them to his house in Virginia, even though that is what the kids wanted to do more than anything.
Instead, he took them to his mother’s house.
Now, I understand that it’s a long drive to his house in Virginia. I understand how that would be taxing on him, physically and fiscally.
His excuse for not taking them to his house? The money and time issues and also because he hasn’t unpacked his house yet and it wouldn’t be “feasible” to take them there.
Feasible? Seriously? All they want is some time with you one-on-one. They don’t want to share you with their grandmother, someone who lied repeatedly to them the last time they saw her and who is super critical of them.
He has been in his apartment for over 3 weeks. He hasn’t unpacked yet? I had the whole house unpacked and set up in 4 days. What the heck is his problem?
And so what if the drive is long and takes up toll money and time? He ASKED to be moved from New Jersey. He ASKED to be moved to Virginia, to that particular base, so he could be closer to his girlfriend. His physical and fiscal problem are not my issue.
When he told me that he was going to take them to his mother’s house for the weekend (and possibly the week of Spring Break), I told him that our youngest would be very disappointed and upset and that he should leave it up to him whether he wanted to go up to his Nanny’s house or not.
He said, “The court didn’t say I couldn’t take them to my mother’s and that I get the kids for these visitation dates. He’ll just have to learn to live with disappointment.”
Sweet of him, wasn’t it.
So we drive the hour to get to the drop off point and I give the kids a kiss and I’m outta there. I don’t want to be around him at all, and it irks me that I had to drive that far to meet him (although the Court said I had to).
Later that night I get a text from him. “If you don’t want me badmouthing you to the children, then you need to stop badmouthing me to them. They keep saying that “mommy says this and that” about me and it needs to stop. And stop lying to them about me. I guess you can if that helps you sleep better at night.”
When I asked for specifics, he didn’t give any.
Why? Because I have been very careful not to badmouth him to the children. I have been very careful not to lie to them.
I’m thinking that the truth is something that he doesn’t like hearing from his children.
What exactly would I have lied about? The fact that he is behind on support payments? No, wait, that’s true. The fact that Nanny’s “nurse” was his girlfriend? No, that’s true, too. The fact that he asked to move to Virginia? Wait, no, true.
I was racking my brains to try to figure it out. But then I had an epiphany.
I just don’t give a shit about what he thinks about me.
I spent 16 years of my life trying to appease that man and make sure he wasn’t mad at me. I spent 16 years of my life putting aside my wants and desires for him and his career. I spent 16 years of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough or smart enough, because that’s how he made me feel. And if I pissed him off, I would rush home and make him a special dinner and give him some nookie just to make him happy. I would make myself physically ill when he would level accusations like that at me.
No more. Never freaking again.
I feel like Sarah at the end of “Labryinth:”
You know, I haven’t watched that film in years. Watching David Bowie in that end scene showed me how like that character the asshole was.
“Fear me, love me, do what I tell you….”
Yeah, that was the asshole all over. He made himself feel like more of a man by running me down and making me feel insecure about myself.
That’s not a man. That’s a mouse.
He has no power over me.
That is so freeing to say!
I’m sure that the kids are having a good time with him. At least, I hope so. I hope that his mother is at least halfway decent to them. I hope that his niece is not too much of a bitch. I hope that they enjoy the time with their father.
No matter what kind of raging asshole he is, he’s still their dad. And I’ve been very careful to respect that because he gave me two great kids.
But I don’t have to respect anything more than that. I don’t have to give him any power over me at all. I can look back at that woman I was and know that that is not me anymore.
I love that that isn’t me anymore. I love that I’m stronger than she was. I love that I am moving on and leaving that person behind. I love the lightness in my heart that that gives me.
I may be The Forgotten Wife, but that doesn’t mean I have to roll over and take his crap anymore.
That’s not who I am now.
She’s so gone. And I love who is here in her place.
He’s gonna hate that he’s missing out on who I really am. That’s a promise.