Life with children is living in constant change. Life with children in a blended family takes all that change and mixes it with the remains of a failed relationship. Which creates a lot of bittersweet, emotionally charged moments as a parent with young children. I spend a lot of time here working through my Lifetime Movie moments with my Ex. Honestly, I wish I had a different divorce. I wish there was a way to preserve our friendship. I wish our relationship was different. I hope, some days it seems in vain, that one day we’ll get to a place that is peaceful. I think that would be a nice thing to give my daughter. Although, I don’t know if that’s in the cards for us. The idealist in me says there must be a way.
My hope for this better future is tempered with the spotted history of things he’s done. But I refuse to resign myself to living with the upheaval as the only option. There is always a better way. Even if he’s kind of a bag of dicks sometimes. Now the list of concerning things that pepper our past is long and it is worrisome. It goes beyond “he hurt my feelings” or just having a disagreement. He’s stolen from Miss M and myself. He’s jeopardized my employment by calling incessantly. He has come into my place of work and made a scene. Nothing like having the police show up in the middle of your work day because your husband refused to leave the store. My tires have been slashed. He refused to sign a paper to short sell our home, so it foreclosed. He has gone close to a year several times without paying child support. He’s threatened me. A few times. Leaned in and said, “Karma is a bitch,” or “I’m going to do evil things to you.” He opened credit cards without my knowledge and racked up balances without my knowledge. He’s bailed on Miss M for a variety of reasons. I’ve spent hours talking him out of suicide. Whether it was sincere or an attempt to hold on to me, well, I never really will know. I’ve seen him cuffed and sent to jail for not paying child support. I’ve seen him be committed to a mental hospital. He’s driven by my home and spied on me. He’s kept Miss M outside his visitation and withheld her location. Twice. He is convicted on two OUIs and has no license currently. And it seems he drank too much while Miss M was on an overnight and was unable to care for her. So, hey, now we have a tiny file in DCF and a huge one in a Family and Probate. There is some big ticket stuff that has happened. I could list more. And it keeps happening. So, for me, we prepare and stay wary. Yet, I still hope and I still try. How can this be the best I can offer my daughter? Leaving him gave her a better future. Just like that decision, I can look at this hard, messy part of my life and find a better way.
I get things I didn’t understand beforehand. There is another side of our lives that involves Match with his Ex. I don’t own those stories. I own pieces at best. Something is tugging at me with the dynamic lately. I see a mirror of my relationship with my Ex there. It is enlightening. I see things I was missing when disagreeing with my Ex. I am also mulling over the intensity. The arguments are, well, intense. Yet, Match and his Ex have a milder history. No one committed any crimes against the other and Blue Eyes is safe with both her parents. Match, while far perfect, does however parent differently than his Ex. He feels and sees things differently than his Ex. Yet, they have issues of equal intensity. The same emotional toll takes place in their relationship. The same long debates and gut punches. I always thought my drama filled relationship with my Ex was because so many awful things had happen. Maybe this is just the way it is? High conflict with people we wish we could walk away from. Yet, we are tied together forever because we share children. Maybe this is just being blended.
I value the perspective. The unique position I am in gives me a more well-rounded view. I can see my short comings better. Which has– for the moment– really helped me through this transition back to overnights for Miss M. I realize I am making mistakes, discounting her father and as such creating a place that breeds irrational arguments. I’m a part of our problem. I am judging his best. That isn’t my place. That’s between him and his daughter. I’m not sure exactly where this realization is going to take me, but I’m resolved to do things differently. I will listen closer to what he is saying and I will take more care with the difficulties his time sometimes gives me.
I don’t know. I feel like we all are hurting and worrying and trying our best. We are struggling while raising children with our pieces of our past we would rather walk away from. I mean, living in limbo with your past and your future, your old self and your new, your heart outside your chest going to a person you have doubts about is complicated. It hurts. It is uncomfortable. Here we all are moving on, but still tethered to a strand of your old life. Living with a scab that never really gets to heal because the wound is constantly picked at. I guess, what I’m looking at is this: Is it hopeless to think can be different? Well, we’ll never know if we don’t try to be different. What can I really lose by being softer and offering him more grace? Does it matter if he deserves it or not?
The same weekends overnights resumed for Miss M at my Ex’s home… we had a disagreement over a visitation rotation. The same, long road opened up before me. I gave it some space and time and tried to find the place where this disagreement was about Miss M. This one was about who is entitled to time. It was about us as Ex-Spouses. Control. Power. Authority. Who is trying to control who? Who’s violating out agreement? Fault finding and history shaming. Who’s is in contempt? Who is the bigger jerk? Well, I have just decided I am not playing. I’m not repeating myself. I’m not going back and forth about things. I’m not getting swept up in the past and our history. I made a space to have some sympathy for it. I decided I will love my daughter through it. I want something better for us all.
I’m walking in fresh. I’m going to try something new. I don’t know if it’ll be better… but it can’t be worse. It can’t hurt more. It can’t be more miserable.
I dialed the phone last night. We talked. We worked out the rotation.
He is doing his best. I’m going to do better.
Wish me luck…