My Ex-Husband had pissed me off again, with a modified Nanny text that illustrated the fact that the inconvenient visitation schedule is my obligation to uphold and his option to ignore.
I’m sick of it.
To the inevitable comment that “at least he sees them, ” I refer to Misplaced Praise of a Father is Not Good Manners.
The whole thing sucks. No other word for it. Well, there are other words but that’s the one I’m going to use.
I was pissed. Actually, I don’t even want to talk about it. There are so many things wrong right now and I have so very few acceptable or advisable or helpful responses or resources. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. Five kids ain’t no joke. Yes, sometimes things get to me, despite my blessings. I’m human, and often treated like much less.
To cool down I went for a drive. Well, I drove and parked. First I parked at the kids’ school, then the grocery store parking lot, then the bank lot, then on the street outside of a pizza joint. When I remembered that I hadn’t eaten in almost twelve hours I figured food would help my mood. Since I was alone I figured I could treat myself to dinner at a diner. The diner would be open for another hour and a half or so and there were some people still there so I went on in.
I took a booth for comfort. No reason to perch on a stool when there were so many empty tables available. I was thankful no one I knew was there. I was not feeling like small talk. Overhearing one waitress complaining that she was so tired and that her shift was just too long and another waitress complaining that she’d only made $9 the whole day, I made a mental note to leave a decent tip.
I enjoyed the quiet, the children can be, let’s say, over-stimulating. (That sounds so much better than saying my offspring can be a pain in the ass, don’t you think? Don’t worry, I’ve withdrawn my application for Mother-Of-The-Year.)
I ordered and resumed my texting and tweeting.
When I looked up all the other patrons had gone. I was the only one left. Basically, the restaurant was staying open just for me.
I took dining alone to a whole new level.
I ate quickly and gave a fifty percent tip on a cheap meal. I was calmer by the time I got home.
Just me with . . . NO ONE!!!!!! I mean it. Nobody at all. Whatever.
Recently a fellow tweeter had lamented about having been asked the question, “Why did you get divorced?” It truly annoyed her, being asked such a personal question. I came up with some snappy comebacks but admitted that I am rarely asked. I’m not sure why this is so, but I live in a small suburb and it was big gossip for a while, and I think most people my ex-husband and I know already have heard some version of why so there is no need to ask.
Just the other day, though, while I was getting some cold cuts at the grocery store that I stop by two or four or five times a week, the counter person, a woman maybe in her 60’s started chatting away. By the way, I hate guessing ages, so much depends on factors other than the number– hard living, for example, can make a person appear older, she very well could have been younger. I see this woman regularly, she knows my kids and she’s commented on the twin thing and always has a kind comment or pleasantry.
On this store visit, I only had one kid with me. In our house we call that — pretending to be an only child — but I digress . . . The Deli Lady, whom I’ll call Marla, saw us and immediately gave a loud and sweet hello, like we were old friends. Nice lady. Then she remarked that she saw my “hubby” with the kids a few days ago, that he must have been giving me a break. I may have shuddered a bit, feeling the ick.
This remark was icky and irksome to me for many reasons. First, he’s not my husband, no, he most definitely is not my husband. I have papers and forcibly spent $35,000 and counting in the process of making him not my husband. Second, the cutesy term of endearment “hubby” is antithetical to this man to whom I am decidedly not endeared and I no longer see as “cute.” Third, my “hubby’ wasn’t giving me a break, he was seeing his children pursuant to a court custody order and he was shopping at “my” store — most likely picking up food to take home to his new wife for her to prepare and serve to my kids. So, no, my hubby didn’t have the kids to give me a break. See Weekends Off.
Understanding that these are my issues and not hers, I was going to just let it slide, as I often do with people I don’t see often, but she continued to talk, asking where I was when he had the children. Considering that I see this woman a few times of week, that she knew me by name and was trying to learn the kids names, I might as well stop the happy marriage train.
“Well, he’s actually my Ex-Husband,” I offered.
“What? He’s your Ex? You’re Divorced? ” She said, shocked, truly shocked. Leaving me to wonder, had he allowed her to think we were still together?
At this moment, I wished I’d said nothing. The one kid I had with me was the one who had the most lingering hostile reaction to the divorce, and didn’t like to hear about it or talk about it. I sometimes refer to this kid as The Angry Child, i.e. She Wants To Break Me, but she’s been so much better these days. She really has. As luck would have it, as I turned to see if she was listening, she’d flitted off, probably to find her favorite snack to throw into the cart.
Good, I thought, I can get this conversation over with.
Marla, was shocked, still, by my revelation.
“Divorced? . . . . Why?”
And there is was. The question I am rarely asked. I thought of my Twitter friend, and wished I could channel her support in my head. But, I was In Real Life (IRL if you only have 140 Twitter characters) and I didn’t even have my phone out. Plus, Marla was waiting for an answer. She wasn’t even slicing my meat. She was waiting.
I think I kind of stammered and shrugged my shoulders, rolled my eyes, and said, “Well, you know.” I understand that this is not a definitive answer. But I thought my body language and facial expression would have been enough to change the subject.
But Marla apparently needed a real answer, in real life, right then and there.
She asked again.
“Why did you get divorced?”
Now all the snappy comebacks I’d joked about had left the building like Elvis. I had nothing. Actually, my snappy comebacks were mostly to put the other person on the defensive. I figured it they can ask me something personal I should come back with something just as personal, like,
“Well it’s a long painful story. How much did you make last year? And are you having regular sex?”
But I didn’t want to be rude to Marla. And I couldn’t even come up with, “I don’t want to talk about it.” It was a deer in headlights situation, for sure.
Marla is good people. I like the banter I have with her and many of the people I see in stores while carrying out mundane tasks. Marla is funny, friendly and compliments my kids. This makes her royalty in my book. I didn’t want to insult her or put her on the defensive. And, unlike my snobby ex- neighbor, see Holiday Party post, she wasn’t judging me because I am divorced. Marla was genuinely surprised, really surprised.
So, I finally answered, leaning close to the counter, “Well, he was a bit of a player.”
This isn’t exactly true. There weren’t a lot of other women, to my knowledge, but you know, there were more than there are supposed to be, you know . . . when you’re MARRIED! Still, I figured this shorthand answer would do the trick and end the topic of conversation before my kid got back.
But it didn’t.
It actually opened an opportunity for her to share her own personal life which included two husbands and four children and the proclamation that she will never marry again, which, had we been in a coffee shop or at a bar would have been good girl talk. But we were on opposite sides of a deli counter in a grocery store in my hometown, and where, apparently, my Ex-Husband still shops — while on his visits with the children.
I added with another shrug while I perused the meats that, “Yeah, well, he’s remarried now, so . . .” I don’t know why, but I thought that information would help end the conversation.
But it didn’t.
Marla shared more about her life. I found out about her ex-husband’s new ex-wives, and how one of them told her what he’d said about her, and how his other children are no good, etc. Then, the conversation turned back to me, as I hoped it wouldn’t, but feared it would.
“Divorced? Really? And you’re so pretty . . . and smart . . .” Now, I’m not trying to blow my own horn here or provide self-gratuitous comments, but Marla went on to compliment me very highly, noting that I am slim (not the healthiest comment for me to hear, see Confessions of a Skinny Mom and Angela Jolie posts) and she thinks I’m brilliant, which, considering our only interaction is at the meat counter — I find to be very astute — heh heh heh. I took her compliments in kind, though a little embarrassed, being at the deli counter and all. But, hell, it’s nice to be appreciated.
While finally cutting my meat, Marla added, “Leaving a girl like you. . . . I don’t understand it.” And she just shook her head. “I just don’t get that. You are something. I think you’re great.” And she smiled, looked me up and down, and shook her head again.
Now this tugs at my insecurities.
In my tortured mind Marla is thinking, “There must be something wrong with her that I can’t see.”
My damaged self asks: Is Marla trying to figure out what dark secret or hidden insufficiency I must have which caused my husband and father of my beautiful children to leave me? Is that what everybody thinks — that there must be something wrong with me that they can’t see?
I wanted to scream, “I’M GOOD IN BED — HONEST!!!” But that didn’t seem appropriate.
So there it is, my problem. And it truly is my problem. Not Marla’s and not my Ex-Husband’s —- and I’m working on it. I need to slow down and control those ill-informed, overly chatty people — not the ones in the grocery store — the ones in my head.
It’s simple, really. I don’t like being asked why I divorced because it’s personal and I don’t like to talk about it unless I bring it up. But more than that, I don’t like being asked because of all the time I spent crying on the kitchen floor Amy Winehouse style wondering why I wasn’t enough for him.
Truth is., he was done. It really doesn’t matter why now, and it shouldn’t matter to my lunch meat friend. After a excruciatingly painful period in my life, I’m done analyzing why and I’m done, too. Unless I have brought it up and I am in a place mentally and physically where it is appropriate to talk about it, my final answer actually is, “Well, you know, whatever.”
(In my head I’ll say it’s because he’s an asshole. I’m not a saint.)
My daughter eventually flitted back with her cheese sticks and Marla had the good sense to change the topic, asking my daughter if she helps me out at home, which, I pointed out, she does not do nearly enough, prompting a devilish smile from my girl. A smile, not a denial, mind you. That kid is lucky she’s cute . . . but I digress.
Just Me With . . . American Cheese, ham off the bone, Southern fried chicken breast and some discomfort and insecurity . . . sliced thin.
Special thanks to @CRobbieLV for inspiring this and sharing her experiences with — The Dreaded “Why?”
Postscript: See Good Fortune and the Dreaded Question, Part II
My Ex-Husband remarried recently. We had been married many, many years, had five children together, a prolonged separation, and the nasty divorce was final only a few months ago. The announcement of the pending nuptials was made to the children and then to me just last month. Then things seemed to take on a life of their own. And someway, somehow, I was relegated to the Nanny in this whole wedding scenario, a Nanny who is not treated very well, unpaid, and forced to work and/or be on-call on her days off.
— Have the children ready and send them out no later than x o’clock am on Friday because they have hair and nails appointments at y.
— So and so will pick the children up in time to get to wedding [unnamed location] by x time, they will be brought back around y time by different so and so’s.
— They’ll be brought home “sometime in the evening” because it is an evening wedding [no time provided]
— Make sure they don’t mess up their hair and nails before the wedding
— Make sure they don’t mess up their hair and nails before the wedding, and again
–Make sure they don’t mess up their hair and nails before the wedding.
In the weeks preceding the above I was hit with:
— We want to take x child shopping for wedding clothes on x date (even though it was not during the visitation times),
— We didn’t find anything so we’ll be back tomorrow to take the child out again (even though it was not during visitation times), he said you don’t have any plans.
Well, well, well.
I had decided that since it is their father’s wedding, the children should of course be allowed to attend (even though the wedding did not fall on a “Daddy” day). Accordingly, I would be flexible and allow some inconveniences. Because, how often is he going to get married?
( Seriously, I’m taking wagers).
However, that said, and although it is true that I no longer love him, and I have no jealous or romantic feelings about his getting married, etc., it turns out that my being an indirect participant in the wedding festivities by providing my assistance with the children and scheduling was a little too much to take.
The day before the wedding was grooming day. I had to have the kids up and out at a very early hour for Summer. I had no idea what time they would return. On the wedding day itself, though the children were not going to dress for the wedding at home, they still had to be showered and ready to go by a certain time. This responsibility fell on me . . . and it pissed me off. The children did not rush to get ready. I had to ride them about it.
“C’mon, get up, start your showers.”
“You cannot be late, please get in the shower.”
“You cannot wait until the last minute, PLEASE, get ready.”
Then they were picked up by the Ex’s relatives, at least one of whom has disrespected me in ways she doesn’t even know I know about and in other ways she does. This person was sent to my house to fetch my children. She’s never been to my home before and under any other circumstances would not be welcome.
I was never actually given a location for the wedding and had to specifically ask for the time of the wedding and a time frame in which I would expect the children home. Not an unreasonable request, one that shouldn’t have had to have been made. I mean I did need to make sure I was home or near home when the kids got there.
That night, though some of the children have phones, I was texted by the Ex himself to tell me the children were on their way home (no time frame provided, and still since I was not given the location of the wedding, their being on their way home didn’t mean much). When I didn’t respond to my Ex’s text in a timely manner I got a subsequent text asking me to confirm my receipt of his original text. Upon confirmation, I received a “Thank you.” I guess that meant his responsibility for the children was now over. The Nanny (that would be me) was going to be home, the evil half sisters (actually only one of them is evil) could drop them off and leave.
Well, well, well.
And as the children came in, dropped their bags of clothes, shoe boxes, flowers all over the house, it was up to me to make them clean up after themselves or do it for them. And when one of my children presented me with a box of leftover boutonniere roses, it was up to me to respond with the appropriate thank you. (Ugh) Adding insult to injury, another child asked me why I didn’t come. I responded, a bit too matter of factly, “To my Ex-Husband’s Wedding?” And another, older child, added simply, “It’s self-explanatory.” I’m sure I was so much more useful to them in the capacity to which I was assigned anyway. The children were exhausted, they left half of their mess strewn around our little house and they went off to bed.
It was so nice for the bride and groom that the nanny could repeatedly present the children on a timely basis to be made up so beautifully for the wedding day and that the nanny could stand by and be available to receive the children when their appearance for and celebration of the happy occasion was over.
Well, well, well.
As it turned out, it didn’t feel so nice for me. I am human.
This is what led to my not having such a good day on the day after the wedding. No I didn’t feel like having a big blow out party or night out on the town on his wedding day, but I unwittingly facilitated everyone else having a grand old time while I rushed around and then waited around. This, after the tears, complaints, uncomfortable silences and tantrums from the kids in the six weeks from announcement of the wedding to the wedding itself. All things I had to deal with.
In the end, though, the kids were fine. But the whole ordeal was taxing on me, from worrying about them generally ,and dealing with their initial ambivalence and despair “I don’t want to go to the wedding at all,” cried one child, to changes in schedules, and being ordered about without common courtesy. and having to literally clean up after the affair.
It shouldn’t have been like this. Damn. My Ex and his Bride have not proven to be the most sensitive people (this is the man who sent his kids home to tell me he was getting married ON MOTHER’S DAY). So I don’t expect much, but damn.
Hindsight. Should I have said that he must take the children for the whole weekend? Perhaps. But he never has them for the whole weekend and it was not even his weekend. Who would have taken care of them while the bride and groom honeymooned or were consummating their marriage or when they simply weren’t needed? The evil half-sister? Some other random relative the kids don’t know (but I do) ? I was convinced that if I’d said, “Well you take the kids for the whole thing” it would have been harder on the kids. Maybe I was wrong. And had we switched weekends and days around, which is not our norm, it would have interfered with some activities the kids and I already have planned for later in the Summer.
All in all, at the time I was concerned about trying to keep the whole thing as drama-free as possible and keeping the children from being dragged around any more than necessary. Plus, I didn’t want to force technicalities just to flex my muscles or to purposefully, spitefully inconvenience the bride and groom. I didn’t want to play the “you don’t have a right to take the kids” card — it just would have made everything nasty.
Perhaps, however, I should have been more concerned about myself. Well, lesson learned.
The next time he gets married . . . things will be different. Ha!
Consequently, I have been in a complete funk ever since the wedding. I provided assistance and patience and in return, I was a recipient of their rudeness. I know I allowed it, but it still pisses me off. Note to self: develop more backbone (despite years of being accommodating to him). See My High School Self.
I feel like I should get something for my trouble, my stress, my time, my child counseling — all the things I suffered as a result of the Ex’s decision to remarry in a hurry.
No, I don’t want a “Thank you.”
I’ll take a check.
Just Me With . . . nothing to show for any of this crap, but leftover dying wedding flower boutonnieres in a sugar jar.
Since my Ex-Husband sent the kids home to me on Mother’s Day expecting them to tell me that he was getting married, see My Ex Husband is Getting Married, I’ve compiled a list of announcements I should (but of course won’t) make to him on Father’s Day.
Top 5 Father’s Day Announcements To My Ex!!
5. Your only son (so far) is gay!
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that, a la Seinfeld, and no, he is not gay, but it would probably bother the Ex, so wouldn’t that be fun?)
4. I’m getting married, too — to a polygamist. So not only will the kids get a father figure, but I will have at least three other sister wives and their kids all helping to raise our children!!! Isn’t that great?
(Deciding to raise the children in an alternate lifestyle is always a nice surprise, right? And this news would certainly trump and dilute his plans to add just one wife to the kids’ lives. Anyway, I always wondered about what the fourth sister wife’s ex-husband thought about his three kids, who are school age, calling her new polygamist husband Daddy, having all these extra Moms and siblings and doing it all on television, but I digress . . . I digress a lot, and often)
3. I’m suing for additional child support.
2. I’ve decided to go to your wedding. I think it’s best for the kids, don’t you?
(I’ll attend with the vintage Alanis Morissette, “You Outta Know” attitude. Hell, I might even be convinced to offer a song.)
And the classic, almost clichéd announcement, but works every time:
1. You are NOT the father (a la Maury Povitch)
Just Me With . . . some Father’s Day Announcements.
I am the most bitter of bitter, clinically depressed and all around down in the dumps – – most of the time. But something strange happened, something occurred to me that made me . . . . smile. I think I just heard a collective gasp from my readers, it’s shocking I know, really shocking. But I smiled . . . I smiled . . . regarding the impending nuptials of my ex-husband, a man I had been with since the tender age of 16, a man with whom I share the only children I’ll ever have, a man who, after many years of marriage, suddenly told me, simply, “I have to go,” on one snowy night after we had put our children to bed.
Now, a mere four months after our prolonged and contentious divorce became final, he has announced plans to remarry (well, he left me a voice mail). Though I do think it sets a better example for our tween and teen children, I have many concerns, many scowls and curses about the whole idea of it and the manner in which it has unfolded. All fodder for another post for another day . . . maybe, . . . or maybe not.
But the story today is not so vile
The story today is about my Grinch-like smile,
which started out small and then started to grow . . .
it started, of course, when I realized and thought . . .
I thought and I realized that them tying the knot
means a knot will be tied and . . . he’s all knotted up!
In other words, minus the bad Seuss inspired prose.
He’ll be married while I– am– free!
My ex-everything will be on lock down, committed, his relationship and his ownership of property will be governed by our state’s laws, he will be bound in matrimony. His dating and new relationship days are over. Even now, he’s running around getting stuff for the wedding and speaking in the royal “we” while I am, in a word — free.
This is all new for me. I was married young and for many years. For most of my life, I was someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife; hell, I was his girlfriend, his wife. Now, I’m not. Did you hear it? Did you feel it? There has been a small shift somewhere in the universe and everything has changed . Next month, he’ll be somebody’s husband and I’ll be NOBODY’S wife. (smile) In a strange way, this has set me free in a way that separation and divorce and even other men did not. This is a statement to the world that our epic romance, and crippling break-up — is — over. And the fact that I’m okay with that part of it, even though I was royally dumped, will be so much more obvious when he makes his vows to another woman and . . .
I . . .DON’T . . . LAY . . . DOWN . . . AND . . . DIE.
Oh, I’m still pissed about a lot of things, don’t get me wrong. Sure there will be more announcements, more crap to deal with; it’s another chapter in a book I didn’t want to read. And I’m not even addressing here my larger concerns about difficulty dealing with them both where the kids are concerned, his lingering hostility toward, pity and disrespect of me, the fact that I never got a chance to be single while younger and without children, the opportunities I may have missed because I married young, and that he is getting a do-over in a way, as a woman and mother, I cannot. But . . . still . . . I’m free.
Soon, we will no longer just be living separately. He’ll be living married and I’ll be living single. If you’ve read my other posts, you know I haven’t jumped into the dating waters with both feet. I stick my toes in, maybe up to my knees, then get out where it’s warm, apply my sun (man) screen and enjoy the fresh air. However, whenever I do get in — whether I jump, inch in slowly, get pushed or perhaps pulled in, it’ll be my thing. I’ll make stories to tell, stories that for once, don’t include him.
“Oh the places [I’ll] go . . .”
And you know what? I don’t have to settle for the random landscaper dude. I can do better. I deserve better.
Just Me With . . . a smile. heh heh heh
Related Posts: How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married?