A couple of weeks ago, I was in receipt of what I now refer to as “Nanny Texts” — when my ex-husband gives me instructions on the preparation of the kids for an event he’s taking them to.
— Have the kids wear clothes, shoes.
— Make sure they shower.
— No t-shirts or shorts.
— Have them ready by 3pm, this should give you plenty of time.
By the by, all of the kids are teens, and pick-up time is technically at 10am, though often the kids have activities that prohibit early pick up. On this day, however, they did not and the Ex had been informed of this.
As to the directive, “Have the kids wear clothes,” obviously he’d forgotten the word “nice” — he wanted them to wear “nice” clothes. But still it was funny. Sometimes I just read or show or forward the Nanny Texts to the kids to minimize my work as the middle man, so there is no mistake as to what he is requiring, and that it’s coming from him, not me. This time I simply showed the text to the kids, missing word and all.
One girl quipped, “Well, I always manage to wear clothes.”
Another girl said, “Yeah, I was planning to go naked.”
My Ex-husband was taking them to a graduation party of his oldest friend, let’s call him Jerry. Jerry is much older than we are and was actually my ex’s teacher in Middle School at one point. They became friends later as adults. Jerry had been a man approaching middle-age, single, and impossibly neat. People who did not know him well thought he was gay — “not that there’s anything wrong with that” — but folks in the inner circle knew that Jerry was very much like the Jerry Seinfeld character — not quite marriage material, string of women, classic commitment issues.
Jerry had been the Best Man at our wedding and years later when Jerry, a long-time bachelor, suddenly married a woman he’d met on a blind date, my then husband gave the toast. My husband was even (temporarily) named as Godfather to their first-born, and we both visited and held the hours-old baby in the hospital. Jerry’s second child is only seven weeks younger than our first and we have the cutest pictures of the two baby boys together. We were always at all of Jerry’s big family gatherings– kid’s birthdays, baptisms, Super Bowl parties, and when my husband and I started having kids and birthday parties and such, Jerry and his wife and kids were always in attendance. Jerry only came around on special occasions, though, my husband didn’t want him at our house to just hang out because he didn’t think our house was nice enough.
Back when my husband announced his plans to leave me, I suggested that he talk to Jerry about it because maybe he needed to talk to someone other than the two women who had his ear: me and his girlfriend. I thought that the opposing dueling arguments from the two women who have a huge stake in the matter were just canceling each other out.
Well, actually, no, the girlfriend clearly won those rounds, but I digress . . . . My husband refused to confide in Jerry, though, saying that he knew Jerry would just try to talk him out of it and tell him it was wrong.
Alrighty then. Anyhoo . . .
Apart from his club activities, my husband had few friends, Jerry was the only one, really. So it was expected and appropriate that when the marriage ended Jerry and his family would remain friends with him, and not me. I’ve not seen or heard from Jerry or his wife since my husband moved out many years ago.
I actually don’t know whether they socialize regularly now. My Ex-Husband has reinvented himself in many ways.
However, my now Ex-husband was going to attend the Jerry’ s first-born’s graduation party. He would attend with his new wife, their children and our children, who had been directed to wear . . . clothes.
After the teen drama at home about finding the proper clothes, the complaints about why they had to go to this thing, that they don’t really know these people, blah blah blah . . . they managed to get themselves (with my prompting) ready only slightly after the 3pm deadline. But no matter, the Ex didn’t show up until 4:15pm. While they waited, one girl said, “I hate it when he does this,” and her twin, who didn’t even start to get ready until 2:50pm, said, “I told you I’d have plenty of time.” In true Ninja Ex fashion I escaped before he arrived, going to a different graduation party alone. See I Almost Crossed One Of “My Bucket List of Men To Do”
And off they went.
The Nanny Texts piss me off, but I’m used to it now and I know how ridiculous they sound. But later I realized something that did feel weird, though — that my ex-husband and our kids were attending this party with his new family, among people who knew us when our kids were babies and when I was visually present.
Now I certainly didn’t want to go to the party. God no, I didn’t want to go. Nor did I expect to be invited, of course. It just felt a little strange that my (appropriately dressed) children were going to be there (paraded) with the Ex-husband and his new family celebrating with people with whom my ex-husband and I had shared many major life events. It was hard to believe that that hours old baby I had held (and I think it was the first time I’d ever held an “hours old” baby) was graduating high school.
I don’t know, it felt kind of like I’d been photo-shopped out and new people photo-shopped in and that no one would or could acknowledge it, despite all that we shared in the early years.
Just kind of weird.
When the kids returned, though, one of them said,
“Mom, some lady told me to tell you hello.”
I’m not sure who it was. It didn’t matter. It made me smile.
At least someone remembered that I am here . . . or was here . . . or had, at one time, been there . . . or . . . whatever.
Just Me With . . . The Nanny Texts
If anyone is wondering why I did not simply curse my Ex out for the Nanny Texts, my failure to engage with him can be explained in blogs like:
The short answer is that it wouldn’t help. I pick and choose my battles.
Yesterday I saw a woman I’ve known for years, and decided to sit with her for a bit at the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts. I see her around our small town, she lives near me. She’s a recently retired school bus driver and has more time on her hands these days. She’s a talker and sometimes I don’t have time to chat but yesterday I did. I’ll call her Miss Debbie.
When I saw Miss Debbie at the counter I remembered someone’s blog post where they listed simple things we can do for others, and one of those was to listen to an elderly person talk, because sometimes they just need to.
Miss Debbie is probably in her seventies, but she’s mobile, healthy and spunky so “elderly” doesn’t seem quite right, but I guess on paper, she is.
She is also the Ex- wife of the man my Ex-mother-in-law had a long-term affair with.
Let me explain. I may have to distribute a chart later. Years ago and for a period of many years, my ex-mother-in-law was sleeping with this woman’s husband. Everybody knew. We live in a small town outside of a large city. It is a bed of gossip. The affair between my Ex-Mother-In-Law– let’s call her Shirley and Miss Debbie’s husband, who I’ll call Larry, was common knowledge.
I took the stool next to Miss Debbie and we chit-chatted for a bit. She told me about problems she was having getting work done on her house and her latest cataract surgery. I suggested a couple of contractors I know.
As always, she eventually asked if I’d seen my Ex mother-in-law, and I said, no explaining again that I don’t have any contact with her, or have any reason to have contact with her. I added that I hadn’t heard anything either way so I guess she’s okay.
Then Miss Debbie said, “It was all in my face, that was the most hurtful thing.”
Yes, I nodded. Truly that must have been horrible.
The woman who would later become my mother-in-law, Shirley, used to pull up to a nearby lot outside Miss Debbie and Larry’s house and beep her horn for him until he came out. I repeat: Shirley beeped her horn for all to hear — until Larry left the home he made with his wife and two children and went off with her. That would be a hurtin’ thing. A country song inspiring hurtin’ thing. A spit on your own porch and clean your gun hurtin’ thing. I can’t imagine.
Granted, Larry was no prize, obviously. Still, he was somebody’s husband — and this somebody was sitting next to me having coffee.
Let the record reflect: Some men do leave their wives for their mistresses. It happens. Case in point: Larry eventually left Miss Debbie, moved in with Shirley and her children, one of them being my future- and ex-husband. (ha! That sounds funny . . . but I digress . . . ) Still later, Larry married Shirley. An alcoholic, he almost missed his own wedding because he’d been out drinking the night before. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Larry and Shirley’s happy union was short-lived. Shirley eventually kicked him out but not before an “accidental” shooting . . . by Shirley . . . but I digress . . . again. This was over twenty years ago.
Debbie still lives in the same home, Shirley still lives in hers. Larry, however, died last year, I think it was liver damage, cancer, karma, whatever. His last days were spent living alone in a little apartment, his grown daughter providing assistance. His home going service (funeral) was planned by ex-wife Miss Debbie and his children. I’m not sure if Shirley and Larry ever officially got divorced, but my Ex-mother-in-law Shirley was the last wife of record. Someone called Shirley to see if she wanted to come or contribute. She did neither.
Sitting there with Miss Debbie, who knows my husband (Shirley’s son) left me, and hearing the pain in her voice when she reflected on her husband’s affair, “. . . that was the most hurtful thing,” I felt for her. Just like labor pain for some, there is some pain that you can’t forget, even if it was long ago.
I offered just a little comment, saying,
“Well, I gotta tell you. I’ve never had any interest in somebody else’s husband.” This make her break out in a good loud chuckle.
“Me neither,” she said.
Just Me With . . . a coffee break.
P.S. If anyone knows of that blog post that inspired my coffee with Miss Debbie along with this post, please let me know. I want to give props.
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.