I’m more than halfway through the separation with my kids as they are on their extended summer visit with dad. They come home in less than a week, so it’s the final stretch! Here is what I’ve done so far:
- Running on and off, but recently completed 9.3 miles in one go—training for a half marathon at the end of the summer, so that is the longest run that I’ve ever done. This is from a person who never ran a foot unless it was to chase after a child or a dog or the ice cream truck, not necessarily in that order. In total, I’ve run 159 miles since February—whattttt. LOL.
- Finished Keurium, which is a thoughtful and heartbreaking novel about discovery and healing. While its narrative weaves the threads of transracial adoption and narcissistic abuse, it speaks to the human condition in a larger sense. Of how we take the broken pieces of ourselves to emerge into a new understanding and transformation—a new version of ourselves.
- Several days of surfing the beautiful waves and I still smile at the wind rushing through my hair and the translucent blue/aqua ocean waters rising and breaking while I’m gliding along its face…I even took a girlfriend who wanted to learn and she had a fabulous time, too.
- Celebrated hubby’s birthday, dinner out with his BFFs and also saw Deadpool 2 recently. I laughed at the irreverence, but I actually liked Solo better—another movie to fill the time, and I loved seeing Holo and Chewy meet for the first time, and in general I like ‘heist’ type of movies. Q’ira’s character took an interesting turn that was much different than the usual, which made me happy. I’m also looking forward to seeing Ocean’s 8 (the older I get, honestly, the less patience I have with Y chromosome focused narratives in film and in books).
- As an addendum to the above comment re: film and books, read this food for thought article about the western literature canon feeding into male entitlement and socialization.
- Preparing for the fiscal year end at my work, which required a lot of report writing, fund reconciliation, quote generating, also hiring new staff and supervising smaller projects.
- Doing some mundane closet cleaning/purging of DD2’s clothes that don’t fit—packed up two giant bags of donation, and two giant bags of hand me downs to a little sister we know, who absolutely adores all of DD2’s dresses, skirts, etc. Sadly, DD2 is moving on to leggings/t-shirts and no longer gravitates to ‘twirly’ dresses anymore, le sigh. Growing up!
- Brunch/Lunch with friends and catching up with people I can't see all the time.
This all sounds good and healthy, but I have also gotten in a gazillion small arguments with the hubs, worried that I’m failing at work somehow, falling behind or falling forward. I’ve been able to talk to the girls pretty regularly, and sometimes they are enthused, much of the time they are not, and so I’m dealing with the role modeling that’s happening over there.
I had an epiphany with how the ex operates recently—and remembering the years that we were together: when someone wronged him, a coworker, a family member, a friend—then that person was excised out of his life. Sometimes for a time (his mom), sometimes forever (his brother).
That person would go from “oh s/he is WONDERFUL” to “the worst in the whole world and cannot be trusted.” When he would get in a row with his mom, we wouldn’t see her for a while. His brother—as mentioned previously, isn’t acknowledged or spoken to, nor are the girls ‘allowed’ to talk to their uncle, so much so, that DD2 has very little memory of interacting with him, even though they lived in the same house for 7 years, having just moved out of grandma’s house a couple of months ago. Anyway, I remember being there in that space of excising with him—i.e. oh yes, you’re right, they treated you horribly, yes let’s not talk to them…I would align myself with him to seek his approval. (This also reflected back at me when reading Keurium)
And that is the role modeling my girls also have with him. In public, he won’t speak to me, even though I always make an effort to say hello, or nice to see you, especially because the girls are present. He will honestly look the other way. It’s not downright nasty (people are watching, after all), it’s just a refusal to acknowledge the one who wronged him. This is what we experienced at DD1’s promotion ceremony; however, I refused to let it stop me from being civil to him, to offer to take a picture of him with DD1, since I know she would want that, to at least model that it’s okay for me to talk to dad, even if he refused to acknowledge that I’m there. The girls have, over the years, come home with comments about “poor daddy” and “why does daddy give you all his money” and “daddy says he’s poor” things like that—I’m the root of the difficulties in his life. I respond by talking about the things that daddy has, i.e. does dad live in a nice house? Is dad’s house bigger than ours? Does he have a nice car to drive? Does he have a fancy phone? (what we call smart phones, lol). The answer to all these questions is yes…and then they can make their conclusion themselves about the financial state of dad. (Which—why are little kids worried about this?)
And so I have to figure out how to deal with that influence on my daughters and hope that by focusing on behaving positively and with love and kindness, it will be enough to counteract. On positive days, I think that it will be. On days when she’s a feisty tween, and especially when she’s been with him a long time, I’m not so sure, and the undercurrent of anxiety raises its feisty head.
So in the space before they come home and we resume our ‘normal’ schedule, I’m back to coping with the above bulleted list. It’s a good thing I went running this morning, it definitely helps. Maybe I’ll make myself an adult bevarage, later, too....hmmm....