This morning my car and camper trailer are being inspected so that I can transfer their registration to the State we moved to earlier this year. This means I am sitting in a very cold waiting room in a mechanics yard for an hour. After the chaos of getting all three children out the door this morning I am enjoying the peace (although not the cold so much!)
Peace means time to sit and reflect, and organise my thoughts. (If only I had bought a thermos of tea life would be perfect!). My thoughts are a bit jumbled and if course I need to work out why! I rarely air my dirty laundry on this blog, but today those stinky jeans and smelly tops might get a bit of airing as I share some of my thoughts on parenting and divorce.
I have had some challenging interactions with my ex-husband and his current girlfriend over the last couple of days and I think that is the cause of the ‘jumbling’. I have realised that I resent having to form a new relationship with her because he has started a new relationship. I didn’t choose to have her in my life, but because of his choices, I have to start the whole dance of explaining the background of why my children behave the way they do, interact (or don’t) with their father the way they do, are triggered by certain behaviours (no matter how illogical they are), and why even though he may be an awesome father in her eyes, there are aspects of our children’s care where we have very different views. It is one of those side effects of divorce that you don’t factor in (if you factor anything in.) Whether she is a lovely woman or not, having to tiptoe through the awkwardness of not criticising this man she is ‘very serious about’ and not screaming ‘open your eyes woman – do you honestly think it was all my fault, and all the fault of his next partner’ down the phone takes it out of you!
And there is the ongoing conversation with him about why I am being so selfish as to not be working full time in a public service job. If only I would do that ‘everyone’s lives would be easier’. The repetition of the same conversation, with no new understanding or recogition on his part about my role in supporting our son, and his bizarre accusations that he would be happy to pay child support to my father, but not to me as he knows that I ‘spend it all on fabric’ (yes – truly – he said that) are exhausting. While the advice to ‘just not engage with him’ is sage, there are occasions (like last night) where talking to him about what is happening for our kids is in the children’s best interests. Until he asks when I am returning to work because he is sick of giving me money. (Of course he isn’t giving me money – he is contributing to the support of our children who live with me the majority of the time.)
This all makes me look back and wonder how I ended up here. How did I fall in love and marry someone who has such different views on life from me? How did I hide the truth from myself for so long? Why do my children have to suffer because of decisions that are beyond their control? And there you have it – a jumbled mind. Sigh. Life is complex. And the grief for the loss of what could have been is deep.
As always I need to balance all of this out with the good things in life. On Mother’s Day my boy, who had a bit of a rough morning before he came home to me, curled up on my knee and fell asleep for over an hour. Honestly, it was the best gift! None of my kids have done this for more years than I can remember. To just sit and hold my usually wriggly, jiggly son, breathe in his soft boy scent, feel his warm skin and his gentle heart beat, was a gift that I cannot measure. My girls made me cups of tea, gave me big hugs and spent time talking to me. I am truly a lucky parent. The simple things in life bring so much joy.
Now my car and trailer have the all clear, I am heading home for a warm cup of tea and to sit in front of the fire to defrost while I catch up on bookwork, and, although I have no answers to my rhetorical questions, my mind is less jumbled. Thanks for listening to my brain dump. I hope that your week is not full of jumbled thoughts, and that you have moments for quiet reflection on the good things in life.