Fated to Pretend

Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

My alarm went off, the blaring inches from my head. I switched it off and I mechanically climbed out of bed, slipped on my jeans and a hoody and creaked open my bedroom door. My sister was snoring softly on the couch, she’d been kicking her legs while sleeping lately, so she’d put herself on the couch to save her husband from being woken up constantly. The moon was a silver sickle, it was dark as night even though it was the early hours of the morning, I climbed into my car and drove. As I walked in my ex-wife handed me the baby monitor and told me I’d forgotten to grab my mail last time I was there, adding that I never listen to her, the room was dark, and I couldn’t see her face. She left, I took the baby monitor upstairs and set it on the coffee table, adjusted the couch cushions and lay back on the sofa, falling asleep in an instant. It hadn’t looked like a comfortable sofa in the pictures, but it had had good reviews, and my former wife and I had agreed it matched our decor well. I dreamed of Her, as usual, tenderly making love while I looked into her sweet eyes. Soon enough I woke when I heard my son stir softly on the monitor.

Children were running and screaming.
“Nice job buddy, you can do it, another step,” my son carefully stepped up the playground steps towards the slide, he gripped the railing carefully with his small hand.
He was pretty sure-footed for an almost 2 year old, but every once in a while he’d lose his balance and go tumbling, so I always kept him in arms reach. He was ecstatic when he got up the last step, then sat down on his bottom and scooched the rest of the way to the slide and slid down. We all cheered and clapped. He just smiled and looked at us, then ran back to where the steps began and started his climb anew.
“Such a happy kid,” my friend Monty remarked.
I had met Monty and his wife, Denise, and their son at the park. I’d been friends with Monty since elementary school, he and his wife had just moved back to the area, in fact, Denise had gotten a job at my company, different department though. Their son was just a few months behind mine. We were the first two family men in the old crew from high school, well, perhaps I was now an ex-family man, but still a father. We talked and helicoptered over our two young toddlers on a sunny day in the park. A park that Monty and I used to play in, we’d ride our bikes out there, play basketball at the courts, or go screw around down by the creek, harass the cattle that lived on the other side of the fence. It was strange coming back to it now that we were older and had kids of our own. We reminisced about the trouble we’d get into, about those carefree days. And we talked about jobs, family, daycare, finances, politics, and other adult matters. We avoided the topic of my divorce.

All the while my ex-wife was sending me aggravated texts. She’s been pushing to drop one of my visitation days already, saying it was too much to bear seeing me three times a week. I thought we’d be going to more visitation, not less. I wasn’t willing to budge on this without good reason though. She was claiming that our son wasn’t sleeping well and being very fussy after I left on the visitation days. I knew it would have to be an adjustment, it wasn’t easy for him or me to go from seeing each other every day to about every other day. My ex-wife was claiming this was all in our son’s interest, but I feel she’s blinded by her own pain and projecting it onto him. Her and I were also texting, she is always my ray of sunshine, Her and my son.

Times certainly had changed, it was almost noon, I was exhausted from chasing a boundless bundle of youthful energy across the park on a hot day. But, it was nice, watching my son’s wonder and curiosity, picking up sticks, rocks, wood chips, an old deflated balloon was his favorite toy for the day, simple pleasures and joy of life. But, all good things must come to an end, Monty and Denise hoped to do it again sometime, we had to get the boys home for their naps, so we said our goodbyes, and I pushed the stroller off towards my former home. Life is never like you imagined it would be when you were a kid.

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11 thoughts on “Fated to Pretend

  1. I hope you can keep the custody arrangements as they are for now. At least give the kid a chance to adjust before switching it up yet again… He sounds like a nice little sproglet. A cute buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your son hasn’t even had enough time to adjust to this arrangement so what sense does it make it to switch to less days? Common sense isn’t something she has, is it? Kids needs consistency, I know. She doesn’t even want to give it a chance because she thinks you don’t deserve that much time with him. You do. You’re just as much his parent as she is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so right. I talked about it with Saul and his mother last night, and they were appalled, they agreed that the solution would be to keep it consistent. I’ve been getting the feeling that my ex-wife has been making sense of all this by demonizing my motives through it all, the way she sees it, I put “screwing skanks” above her and my son, so therefore I’m unfit as a father and have no rights whatsoever as a parent. To her, there can be no grey area or middle ground where I may still love her and love my son, but also was capable of committing evil acts that weren’t consistent with the ideals of that love for them. I’m concerned that her mental state is spiraling out of control rather than getting better regarding this as she’s become more protective and more angry as time has gone on. Maybe it just will get worse before it gets better. Can only keep moving forward I’m afraid.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Please begin to document
    and save everything that is adversarial to your court agreement (ranting texts count), anything that is verbally abusive, and anything that can make a case (should you need one) to show mental and or emotional instability. Include witnesses if you have any. This downward spiral is common and it can become serious.

    Pain can unhinge people and you may never need the documentation but be smart in case you do.

    Consider offering a counter solution – that baby boy actually needs more time with you, not less.

    Last thing: you control the pace of communication. If you get in the habit of responding quickly or all of the time this will carry with you forward. I recommend pacing her, “This isn’t a good time for talking – I’ll email you after my time with baby boy. ”

    Pain manifests in attempts to acquire control. It would be very wise of you to not allow her to have any notion that she can pull that off on you. I hope you realize that your adultry is now past tense and you need to be humble, yes, but not willingly a whipping dog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s all documented since she does it via text and email, Google is good to save it all in the cloud for me forever.

      I have offered the counter solution, but she won’t even consider more visitation. I try to keep communication slow, even though she’ll just then send harassing text after harassing text demand I respond to her (she’s convinced if I don’t get back to her within half an hour I must be “screwing some slut”).

      Pain manifests in attempts to acquire control.

      I think you are right, this is a good characterization. She constantly seems to characterize our discussions as me being stubborn and trying to meddle in her and our son’s lives. She acts as if she is being gracious to consult me, rather than acknowledging that I’m an equal co-parent (and that we have a legally binding visitation and custody agreement, and we either have to work it out between us, or work it out in court). She demeans my opinions and any research I may have done, suggesting that I am untrustworthy and must have an ulterior motive while she can be trusted to make the right decisions because, after all, the marriage failure was entirely my fault. She is already holding over my head that she sees our son more so she knows what he needs. It is frustrating, I hope the spiral stops. Today, she was insisting at first that I go down to one day a week visitation, when I refused that she wanted to shorten my existing visits by half their allotted time as a “compromise”. I’ve suggested that we see a family counselor or at least consult our pediatrician but she doesn’t want to bring them into it. For now, I’m holding my ground. I would like to work with her to help resolve my son’s mood and sleep issues, but right now the only solution she is willing to try involves me seeing my son considerably less and cutting me out of his daily routines such as bedtime, meals, bathing, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. She’s not wanting to involve others because it limits her control.

    She’s also extolling her virtues (strengths) while comparing them to your weaknesses. Don’t give it air to breathe. You’ve many strengths that didn’t evaporate by choosing to cheat.

    I’m curious… Will your church allow you to return? If not, would you consider attending another? I’m guessing here but I think you could really benefit from going through the repentance cycle to be forgiven. My husband did this and ended up finding something completely unexpected and good beyond it being an excellent anchor for his relationship with his children and now me. There’s much to experience in this life and you deserve to find peace, love, and a home “after” just as the prodigal son did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I too have been curious about your spiritual plans. Have you given up on your former(?) church? Are you even allowed back there? Do you have any interest in religion anymore?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have given up on church for now, but I could be allowed back since I have acknowledged my wrong doing and repented before God and men. My ex-wife would be distraught having to attend church with me though, but regardless, I don’t really see the value, at least in going back to the church I used to attend. I’d have to abide by the rules, so no screwing out of wedlock, etc. Maybe I’ll go someplace else one day, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t know how to explore my spirituality. I’m agnostic at this point. I believe there is a God, but I have no idea how to access the spiritual plane of existence or commune with God. I’m not one to just make up my own religion, and I’m not really a follower, so it would have to be something I can access with my rational senses.

        Ultimately, I don’t really see myself becoming religious again. But, I won’t rule it out. I’ll just keep my mind open to whatever is out there for me to discover.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. To her you are dangerous. You have changed so drastically that she has no clue who you are. She is also grief stricken and that causes irrational behaviors but she will get better. You have gone from someone she loves to someone she hates. You are the enemy. She probably thinks you are sexually sick. Her behavior makes sense because she is trying to find emotional safety in a senseless world. Because you are a stranger now she does not trust you.

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  6. Absolutely don’t bend on the visitation. The precedent you set now could be addressed in future time disputes. If you acquiesce time now she can say, “Well he had no problem doing it before.” I do think you should be looking for an eventual (as in by his teens) 50/50 split. Don’t give up on time with your son because your wife is bitter. Whether you cheated or not is, legally, irrelevant when it comes to your rights as a father. I hope you have good legal representation, even if you feel you won’t need it.

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