Grief is an ocean wave that I sometimes get submerged in. The tides come and go, pulling me forward and backward, especially in this first year since you’ve been gone. I can swim towards it or against it, but in the end, all it means is that I love you and miss you, mom.
I was prepared for yesterday’s anniversary of my mom’s passing to hit me with a two-by-four plank of emotions. It’s been a roller coaster all year. I wore black. I’ve been in and out of grief. Even my my usually reticent and distant brother has called me numerous times lately and actually said I love you. (This is kind of a happy miracle, and one that my mom would love to know is happening—she’d laugh about it as much as I have appreciated it and laughed, too. My brother has always been the anti “I love you” sayer).
At any rate, I was not prepared to deal with the petulance and hissy-fit throwing of my ex-husband and father of my daughters. The world centers around his needs and wants, so why would I be surprised?
Let us set the stage of the latest, petty, b.s. that we sometimes live in:
The children came home without DD2’s tennis racquet that DD1’s coach gave her, out of the goodness of his heart (expensive, quality racquet, since coach’s kids are really good players, so this was an awesome hand-me-down for DD2). Coach had previously asked if DD2 could use it and later gave it to her over four months ago—on a night when DD2 was practicing with dad. It has never occurred to dad that the racquet is for DD2 and not for him, so he has kept it with him and did not share with me that DD2 received said gift. Coach tipped me off, because he saw us at practice and asked DD2 why she didn’t have it (he knows the two-houses situation, thankfully, and is quite understanding). I thanked Coach, then politely overlooked dad’s actions, since DD2 was only taking lessons once a week at district park. However, now she’s joined a bona fide beginner’s team, and it’s time to begin practice in earnest as they will be playing in bona fide beginner matches with teams all over our county.
Of course, I’ve politely emailed him over the last three weeks, anticipating DD2’s need for her racquet. Of course he didn’t respond. (Although miraculously, he did respond by text that he got my emails and he’d get back to me, but he never did.) And DD1 even offered to bring the said racquet home with her—which normally I wouldn’t let her chime in, but she is an avid tennis player and understands that the racquet is DD2’s, just like DD1’s racquet is hers and it goes back and forth between houses, too. So great, we have a plan. But did it come home? No.
So now DD2 needs her racquet before she goes back to dad’s house. So I email/text dad about it. He says he can’t drop it off because he won’t be near our house over the next five days, and then tells me that I shouldn’t email him over the week end when he has the kids, because he won’t get it, that I need to text him a day before to remind him. Because of course he needs a secretary to remind him to parent. Then he turns it around that DD1 has items from his house that need to be returned—of course none of items have time constraints and DD1 is old enough and aware enough to take care of.
I offer to meet him for the (!@#$ing) racquet (which is happening later) and proceed to tell him that DD1 is working on returning items to his house. He agreed, and let’s hope he shows up (on time). Extra drama that I don’t need. And honestly, I usually avoid this kind of stuff—I’ll just buy two of everything, because then no one has to worry about this kind of !@#$. But the racquet is professional and high end, and it’s DD2’s, so sometimes, I have to do this !@#$.
So that’s the background scene to the next hissy-fit he threw:
We have a lovely night of girl scouts planned, which we have every certain weeknights the kids are with me and not with him (because god forbid he actually has to take them somewhere on ‘his’ weeknight). We call early, and the kids leave a voicemail, per usual, since we’ve done this for the last year, the last two years, the last five years, the last FREAKING EIGHT YEARS. Then somewhere during girl scouts, he leaves a text and an email that the girls didn’t call and he had no notice and that I shouldn’t “impede” the girls communicating with him. (Because you know, we haven’t done this ever before, so this must be what I’m doing.)
Anyway, I get the text post DD2 going to bed, luckily DD1 is up. I’m tempted to ignore it completely, but I remember I have to see him to get DD2’s tennis racquet and quickly remember that taking the high road is what I should do instead of saying the !#@$ with this b.s. (Sometimes, I really do want to say !@#$ it) DD1 has a nice call and all seems fine. After she goes to bed, I respond to his email that he may recall we call early on certain weeknights due to girl scouts as was the case this evening, and that while I was glad DD1 could call, DD2 was already asleep as the girls go to bed soon after their week night activities. (You know, because we have to get up early and go to school/work—this I didn’t mention, but duh.) And that I appreciated his taking early calls in the past. Sincerely.
Sincerely !@#$ off. But I remember that he is a sad, selfish, miserable person whose world must revolve around him. That I am the cause for all that is wrong with his world, and even though he has “moved on,” his behavior towards me has remained the same.
Before I went to bed, I was thinking about all the fun the girl scouts had—making their poster board for World Thinking Day, learning how to write their names in a different language, learning how to fold origami. Their laughter and voices discussing different words and enjoying a snack and holding hands and singing at the end of our meeting.
I got to thinking how my mom never let my ex-husband put her down or treat her badly, and how much she disliked the way he treated me and DD1 and DD2 with his impatience, anger, and outbursts. She would, actually, be happy that I wasn’t letting him get away with treating us that way anymore. So even though I was frustrated with having to deal with him on the anniversary of her passing, she would have thought I handled it okay. She probably would have said !@#$ with the texts/emails (in a less profane way, she never swore). And also to !@$# with the damn tennis racquet, too, lol, but she would be glad that I was safe in our house, sleeping next to my hubby who loves me and the girls.
She would be happy that despite the challenges, we are healthy and happy, doing the best that we can do with our lives. She would be happy that the girls had a different way of living than when she was last visiting us when DD2 and DD1 were small. And she would smile knowing that before they went to sleep, the girls said thank you for everyone in our family, including Grandma who is in heaven now. Of that, I know for sure.