The Auteur, 1B and I spent Memorial Day with my family on The Old Man’s side. It was as good as I expected it to be. It was the first time that 1b had met most of them. For the Auteur, while her and I attended my cousin’s grandchild’s (my third cousin??) birthday party, it was probably the first time she really had a chance to talk to most of them one-on-one. Some observations on the day:
- It’s funny, because I’m probably closer to my Dad’s side of the family than I ever have been in my life. all of my cousins on that side of the family are older than me; but age, I have found has become more or less of a relative thing as we get older.
- As they have gotten older, I see that my Dad and my uncle are looking more and more alike. I notice they have similar mannerisms to an extent that I never noticed when I was younger.
- They do the “big brother-little brother” thing where my uncle (the older brother) will give a funny look at my dad (the younger brother) when he does or says something. My oldest cousin pointed this out to me. I guess one almost has to be a big brother or a little brother to notice a dynamic such as this.
- I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: family really is all that anyone has in this world. Maybe my dad’s side of the family has come to this realization as well.
- The dynamic on my mom’s side of the family is such a stark contrast to that of my dad’s side. Whereas my i wasn’t real close to my dad’s side growing up, I was tight with my mom’s side in the early years. As we’ve all gotten older, my mom’s side of the family has drifted apart. Deaths in that side of the family started when I was young and seemed to have scattered various family members around the country and caused many of those who stayed close to home to drift apart emotionally.
When I get together with my extended family, I think about my own family and the family I want to have someday. I want The Kid to know his cousins and, to at least some extent, have them be a part of his life. The truth is, the nuclear family dynamic I experienced – one which I will describe as a “traditional family” – is more the exception than the rule these days. The Kid will never know the “traditional family dynamic” that I experienced.
The last 72 or so hours have been tumultuous. I’ve been racking my brain over this divorce settlement – trying to sort out the terms I can live with; the terms that infuriate me to the point that I have no choice but to demand more from; the terms that bother me on principle; and the terms that I have to simply accept for the sake of both my immediate and long-term happiness.
To make matters worse, Jabba is now saying she wants the kid back on December 28; essentially giving her the entire second week of his winter break. This despite her saying she wanted me to have him for the majority of his break. If she wanted to simply switch weeks, I could live with that. I don’t understand the need for her to phrase it as if she’s giving me Christmas as some major self-sacrifice. By this time next year, I am fully confident that the divorce will firmly be in place. Once it is, I’ll proceed strictly by the terms of the final order. No more favors. No more flip-flopping weeks (I say that now).
I talked to LeRoy about the final divorce order last night and he really helped put things into perspective. He reminded me that I’ve got to think in terms of the overall bigger picture. Trying to fight some of these smaller issues on principle could start opening up other proverbial cans of worms that I don’t want to get into – largest among them back child support. Virtually everyone agrees that I got a good deal with child support – and I don’t want to rock the boat, so to speak. Basically, I have to pick and choose not only my battles, but my acceptable losses as well.
Last but not least, I cannot thank The Auteur enough for all of her love and support through this process. If there’s any one trait of hers I’m trying to pick up, it is her ability to compartmentalize things (for the lack of a better word) She has an ability to not let the random bad things that happen sabotage and otherwise good day. I wish I was more like her in that regard. Needless to say, I am still a “work in progress” in that area, but I am trying. Like all couples, we disagree and fight at times, but we always have each others backs. We love each other and are definitely in this together for the long haul.
Earlier in the evening I talked with my Mom about the whole Christmas break switcheroo. She reminded me at The Kid’s age, Christmas is THE important holiday and it really is important to have it with him and that I need to – again – think of the bigger picture.
I wasn’t really happy at the end of the conversation with Mom. I was feeling quite defeated actually. At that point, one would think that the talk I had with LeRoy would only make me feel even worse; but a strange sense of calm came over me. I think I have finally reached the point that this divorce ruling is something I can live with. I’m not sure how it happened, or when; but I’ve think I’ve truly come to terms with this whole thing.
- Don’t forget your 30 pieces of silver. (dalrock.wordpress.com)
I have a bit of a confession to make: I haven’t really enjoyed Thanksgiving for a long, long time. But I think that’s about to change. In fact, I’m sure of it. But I’ll get to that…
For the 8 years that I lived down South, Jabba and I never made it back home for Thanksgiving. We were both teaching and Thanksgiving Break in academia is basically a 5 day weekend. Getting a flight for the busiest travel holiday of the year is a very expensive venture – especially when adding in The Kid and said 5 day weekend. Traveling by car on aforementioned 5 day weekend with said Kid is almost too time consuming. At the end of it all, Thanksgiving is essentially about one dinner with the family.
To make a long story short, we had agreed that traveling for Thanksgiving was a waste of time and money. That, and I think we were both okay with the idea of having our own family Thanksgiving dinner. After all, you could eat turkey and watch the Detroit Lions lose in spectacular fashion on national TV anywhere. Besides, we could always see the families at Christmas. We would always come up for Christmas – my mother wouldn’t take no for an answer to that. At least, not until I had to work on Christmas, but I digress.
Last year was kind of an odd turkey day for me. Sure, I was with the family, but I missed The Kid – as he was with Jabba. I lived, of course. alcohol helped. Besides, it’s still just one dinner on one day. It really wasn’t the end of the world – or even a bad day for that matter. But this year is already different.
Thanksgiving is, at least in theory, a day to reflect upon all the things that we are thankful for. It is a day for family, friends and feasting. For the first time in a long time, I truly feel like I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
UPDATE: 11/29/13 3:19 P.M.
The auteur, 1B and I made the trip into Leroy’s house for
Thanksgiving dinner. It was, of course, my first Thanksgiving with The Auteur and the first time 1B got to meet my mom, LeRoy, his wife, kids and in-laws. Things went much better than I expected. Not that I expected anything bad to happen; I just assumed that there would be some first-time-you-meet-people awkwardness. I was a bit anxious because I wanted everyone to hit it off, which they all seemed to do just fine.
Late last night/this morning The Auteur told me what a good time she and 1B had at my brother’s. She even said that 1B told her it was “the best Thanksgiving ever”. Maybe that was 1B just being a kid and speaking in hyperbole but it was definitely one for the ages. It was very casual, very laid-back. Very real. Very sincere. There were no bombshell announcements or shocking revelations like you see in movies. There was no pressure nor any underlying subtext. It was family enjoying each others company and a great meal together.
I have so much to be thankful for; sometimes I think far more than I deserve. I have The Auteur – a truly remarkable woman who loves both me and my son – flaws and all – unconditionally. I have a family for whom I would lay in traffic – and I know would do the same for me. I have my health and my job – albeit a crappy paying one.
Now I have to stare down a proverbial 400 lb. gorilla called Christmas…
- Turkey Explodes During Prayer At Thanksgiving Dinner [VIDEO] (wild941.cbslocal.com)
A good how-to for people who live within close proximity to their ex.
As I spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights at The Auteur’s house, it started to occur to me just how much our lives are starting to intertwine. Of course, this is probably normal for this stage of any relationship; but the accelerated pace her and I have been on seems to have skewed everything else.
I’ve met her daughter, 1B, a few times now, and was even there to take her to school twice this week. Hell, I’ve even met one of her neighbors already. Her day-to-day situations with her friends, her family and, yes, even her exes has started to become everyday speak in my own life as well.
Now, the Auteur has only been out to the Heights twice (well to see me anyway) once to pick me up for our trip to Traverse City last weekend, and again to drop me off. In doing so, she had the chance to meet my entire immediate family on Mother’s Day – which meant far more to me than I expected. I talked a bit about this when I met 1B, but this meant even more to me. Almost as great as meeting the family, she’ll mention these ideas for things that WE can do with The Boy once he’s up here for the summer. Equally cool is when she starts talking about things we can do with both The Boy and 1B. I love that she wants to include The Boy in things; that she acknowledges him as a part of the package.
In a weird way, it kind of legitimizes our relationship. It sounds corny, I know but I feel like her and I are in the process of unleashing this new power-couple upon the world. Smooth Reentry once wrote about being in “Marriage Purgatory” a phenomenon to which I can relate. I can’t wait until my divorce (and The Auteur’s for that matter) are both official
My son and I made it back into Michigan late Saturday night. Sunday was a slow day around the home front, as we picked up my brother, his family and my sister from the airport. They were tired. We were tired. Everyone basically went home and crashed. Today I took my son to play minautre golf and ride go karts, as you may have seen in the previous post.
This past Thursday night the STBX hands me a copy of the separation agreement that her lawyer wrote up. It looks pretty straight-forward but I’m still going to have a professional review it for me. The stink of it is that there are a few things in there that she and I did not agree to. I don’t know what she was thinking giving it to me on a Thursday night. Surely she realizes that I wasn’t going to get anyone to look at it before Monday at the absolute earliest. Maybe she wasn’t thinking at all. Maybe it was all to well orchestrated: give it to me the night before I drive 800 miles across 5 states so I can just stew on it.
I did not shed a single tear when I left The House this time. It is no longer my home; nor did it feel as such. I know I’m in a better place today emotionally than I was 5 weeks ago, but I still feel that there’s a big void inside of me. I have no desire to get back together with her; but since a large part of my life was defined by our relationship, it;s going to take time for me to rediscover myself again.
That’s what this blog is all about.
It’s been so much fun having my son here with me. Thank God I still have two more days with him. I cannot imagine how difficult these next few months are going to be as we all get back to our regularly-scheduled lives. If I’m lucky, the next time I see him will probably be Thanksgiving, maybe even Christmas.
Divorce truly brings out the worst in the people you think you know best. I’m not sure what’s worse – events that are unfolding now or knowing in hindsight that these feelings were obviously festering for some time.