Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bittersweet symphony. As in the song.

Or maybe as in my life.

If they say, "Pride comes before a fall," I guess there's no point in ever feeling confident and secure in your station in life, and that includes committed relationships.  Or maybe you can feel secure, but even if that's the case, you'd better not mention it.  At all.  To anyone.

Because just days or weeks ago, I can't remember which at this late date, I was talking about my husband in a hypothetical sense, as in, "He and I are married, but that doesn't mean that tomorrow he won't change his mind."  Of course, I shuddered as I said that, thinking it was inconceivable.  Unimaginable.  I would have thought it to be next to impossible.

And now I'm not so sure.

So - did I, somehow, bring this shit upon myself just because I made an off-hand remark in a different context?  After a weekend of him taking the kids on vacation, then not sending pictures or calling in some sick attempt to "punish me" for not going, suddenly I'm seeing another reality and it ain't pretty.  It's a reality that involves time-sharing.  A parenting plan.  And the thought of it makes me sick to my stomach, but not for reasons you would think.  I'm not mourning the imagined separation of he and I, but rather what kind of pain and confusion it would cause our two-and-a-half-year-old son.

Yes, our son should be way up there on my list of concerns, but why wouldn't I be worried about myself and our relationship?  Why wouldn't the loss of our marriage cause me to feel the same knot in my stomach?

He went on this vacation despite the fact that something wasn't right ahead of time.  The night before they left, my husband went to bed without telling me goodnight.  First of all, I'm usually the one to go to bed first, but I'd lost track of time in my new office.  Even if I do go to bed first, I always always always tell him goodnight.  I give him a kiss.  I ask him if he wants his alarm clock set for the same time the following morning.  The usual.  What kind of person sneaks off to bed and leaves their wife awake in the back room?

So that was the first sketchy act.  Of course, it didn't mean much at the time but coupled with the events of this weekend, it means everything now.

Imagine, if you will, chastising a spouse for not being able to go on a road trip because he or she has work or school commitments.  Would you?  Would you essentially tell the person you love that they are in effect ruining the weekend?  Letting the kids down?  Breaking promises made to family and friends?  Keep in mind, this is coming from a man who has considered going down the entrepreneurial path and opening his own business, so he has been willing to consider a future where his own commitments may prevent him from spending his "free time" away from the home or office.  Yet when it's me who can't get the time -- who can rarely get the time -- to pack up and drive 13 hours each way to watch a football game, it is simply unimaginable.

I was treated as a pariah, and I'm not being overdramatic.  Not only did he leave on bad terms, he stopped for a hotel just three hours away from home.  As in, "I'd rather leave immediately and sleep anywhere other than at home, even though it's going to cost me a hundred bucks."

Saturday morning, he called me to find out if my mom and step-dad were stopping up there as they'd mentioned they might do six weeks ago.  After that phone call (and the news from my mom later in the day that they were also unable to make it), I never heard back from him.  I talked to him Saturday morning around 11am and didn't get another phone call or news of their whereabouts until they strolled in the door Monday night around 7pm.

And you want to know what really gets me?  You want to know the thing that really burns me up?

The first words out of his mouth were these:  "Why didn't you call me all day?"

If I would've had a brick to shit, I would have.

You know what happens to a strong woman when you shun her, make her the bad guy, and don't call her for almost three days?  She realizes maybe she's better off without you.  She realizes that life is more simple without cleaning up your dirty dishes and your food-covered wrappers that you leave every night on the end table.  She realizes that she misses her children, and that she'd pick up after them in a second--she actually misses their messes--but you?  Not so much.

She also realizes that if she has married into a family that is so quick to pass judgment and condemnation simply because she couldn't make a fucking three-day vacation, then maybe this isn't exactly the family she should have married into.  God forbid, next time, she get sick.

I'm here again.  The same crossroads.  The same shitty suspicion that something isn't right with the world.  The same shitty suspicion that made my ears burn.  The recipient of the same "Fuck her:  she's not here, so forget about her" advice.

Maybe my heart would be broken if I weren't so pissed.  Instead I spent the first day of the weekend worrying if the boys were okay, the second day wondering what his excuse would be, and the third hoping and praying that the boys just made it home safe.  Today, with the kids at school, I started being pragmatic and making plans for my own future.  I have never lived my life in such a way as to imply that I needed him - it's a two-way street.  But there is only so much that a person can take and only so much they can be shit on before they decide it might be a good time to pick up, dust off, and GTFO.

So, to wrap it all up, a great big thanks to everyone who took the time to give my husband such excellent advice this weekend.  And dear husband, as for your plan ahead of time to "not share any pictures or videos" with me if I didn't come?  So glad that worked out for you and you were able to "stick to your guns."  Yeah, you showed me alright, and for that, I hope you remember that you reap what you sow.