Today would have been 15 months and 5 days, except that I woke up to a text from him.
"I have made mistakes and I no I am wrong. I miss alex like crazy and it is killing me not seeing him. Can I please set up a time to see him. I will pick him up and bring him back and do what ever it takes so that I can see him again on a regular basis."
I knew for a fact that I was dreaming so I rolled back over and went back to sleep for another 30 minutes or so. When I woke up again, I looked at my phone a second time. And then a third. I put it back down on the nightstand and stared at the ceiling for a while. Looked at it again. Got up and went to the bathroom to make sure that I was really awake and then looked at it again.
Then the anger started to build. It simmered for a while and I considered sending back an extremely nasty text including everything that I was really honestly feeling at that particular moment, but I held back. I knew I had to calm down. A lot. I texted The Dude and clued him in, and he was as angry as I was.
Finally, I responded a few hours later.
"I woke up to this and I've been trying to figure out how to respond ever since. I told you the last time you walked out of his life and then suddenly reappeared that it would never happen again - and that time was only 4 months. Now, it's been 15 months and 5 days. There is no excuse. There is no way to make up for that. Being a parent is a 24/7 job to ALL of your kids, not just the ones who are convenient to you. Coming into town for softball games and to go to the pool and not contacting him is beyond despicable. Not calling him, or sending a text, or being at any of his school or sports events is unforgivable. Lying to your family and blaming all of this on me? Grow up. And you're not going to just waltz back in and pick up where you chose to leave off over a year ago."
(Yeah, I tend to get a little long-winded when I'm angry.)
Discussion (via text) ensued and lasted most of the day. I tried hard to contain my anger and sarcasm (except where I pointed out that even if one is working "out of town", there's a nifty invention called a 'phone' that can be used to maintain contact) as much as I could, but it was hard.
Finally this evening, The Dude came over to take Daniel to baseball practice. The older 3 kids are still on vacation with Ex1, so Alex and I sat down to talk. I told him that I had gotten a text from his father this morning, and gave him the basic rundown of the discussion.
I did not say anything nasty about his father. I did not say anything hateful or mean or even snarky. I gave him the facts. We talked. We discussed. I listened.
And then I told him this:
"How I feel about your father is totally separate from how you feel about him. I'm upset with him for a lot of grown up stuff that has more to do with responsibility and obligations. But that's my problem with him, not yours. You can feel however you want to feel, and that's ok - if you want to see him, I will make it happen. And if you don't, you don't have to."
You know, I think this is the hardest part of this single parenting thing. And I don't think that I truly got it until today. And I think that there are a lot of parents out there who don't get it.
It doesn't matter how we feel about the other parent. It really doesn't. It's not about us.
It's about the kids.
Should Alex choose to see his father again (and he probably will), I have to completely put my anger and resentment aside and make it happen. His father is not a bad person in the grand scheme of things. Irresponsible, yes. Not good at setting priorities? You betcha'. Bad person? Not so much.
Alex is still at that age where no matter what, his father walks on water. He knows that his father hasn't been around, but he's still young enough that he just wants to see him. I know that as he gets older, he'll understand more about what's happened - but for now, he has his eye on the prize and as much as I hate it, I have to allow him to make the choice. My only consolation is that no matter what happens, I know for a fact that I'll never walk away from this kid. Ever.
|After our talk, we got ice cream and went for a walk by the river.|
Believe it or not, there's a dam under all of that water.