On anger

It’s 11:30 at night, the girls are asleep, the dishwasher is running, clothes are folded and put away, daycare bags for tomorrow are packed. I should be sleeping right now.

Yet all I can think about is this rage I feel swirling around in my head, and I don’t know what to do with it.

I’m not generally an angry person. I don’t like to hold grudges. That’s not how I want to live my life. I don’t want to be one of those angry, bitter people. (You know the people I’m talking about. Everyone knows at least a handful of them.)

Lately all of my anger is aimed at Dave. Other than the obvious reasons, I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Generally we’ve been ok with each other lately. We’re civil, anyway.

But then I have a day like Monday – and of course, even though I texted Dave to let him know we were at the ER, I still had a lot of that resentment, that “your kid is sick, you should be here right now; or at the very least, you should be taking care of your other kid while I take care of the sick one” feeling.

I’ve also felt that way a lot over the past couple of weeks, when I’ve been having problems getting Lucy to sleep. Because yes, as it turns out, I do kind of need another adult in the house who can take over at 4 a.m. when I’m at the end of my rope.

I’m guessing it’s natural to feel that way when the father of your children lives 3,000 miles away, and is no longer a regular physical presence in their lives.

But it really hit me hard this past Saturday. Why Saturday? Because I spent all day with the girls, just me and them. And yes, it was exhausting (my god, was it ever), but there were so many good moments.

And I just stop and think, god damn you, you’re missing everything.

He doesn’t know how Lucy asks for her bottle, what words she knows, her favorite foods, who her favorite person is (hint: my dad), or the little “jokes” she tells. (Slapping her forehead and saying, “D’oh!” is one guaranteed to make me smile every time.)

He doesn’t see the way Lucy’s face lights up every morning when she sees her big sister for the first time.

He doesn’t get to look in his rearview mirror and see the two of them in the backseat, and catch a glimpse of Catie reaching over to tickle Lucy to make her laugh.

He doesn’t know what Catie’s favorite bedtime book is this week. He doesn’t know the songs she sings along with on the radio.

He misses the bad stuff, sure – he never has to do the grunt work of changing diapers or reminding Catie again that she needs to pick up her toys. But he misses all of those amazing and precious moments too. It makes me so angry FOR THEM. They won’t get to have memories of their childhood that involve their dad. At best, those memories will be sporadic and fleeting.

We have a lot of mutual friends on Facebook (obviously, we de-friended each other a LONG time ago), so I hear things about how he talks about the kids. He makes it sound like he’s this super-involved and loving dad. I guess that’s what he wants his friends and family to think, because the reality of it is just so unbelievably shitty.

And he brought it all on himself. He chose to leave. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t force him to stay in North Carolina and be a present figure in his children’s lives.

I’ve dated/am dating guys who are divorced with kids. So far, all of them have joint custody and see their children on a 50-50 basis with their exes. I’m jealous of that. I mean, sure, I’m jealous that their ex-wives get a break, some “free” nights off here and there. But I’m mainly jealous that their kids will grow up with their fathers in their lives. I wish to God I could make that happen for my girls.

I can’t fix this. I can’t change what it is. I just have to figure out some way to work around this anger that I can’t seem to get out of my head right now.

17 thoughts on “On anger

  1. You have every right to be angry on what he has chosen to miss out on. My husband and I both had divorced parents (although we were in our early teens). It was amazing how quickly our fathers sort of disappeared from our lives. And they weren’t bad people. It just stuns me.

    Sending you and your girls hugs.
    KeAnne´s last blog post ..Surviving Type-AMy Profile

  2. I was thinking about this the other day (yes, I think about you, I’m so internet creepy). It’s SO unfair. And you are being VERY fair by hating this for the girls, so I won’t even waste energy there. I hate this for YOU. It’s such a shitty situation, constantly having to ask for help, being exhausted and stretched too thin. I think (for what it’s worth) that you’re doing an incredible job.

    I see those facebook posts. I roll my eyes SUPER hard.
    heather…´s last blog post ..The Girl Who Loved PeopleMy Profile

  3. my heart hurts every time i think of the situation you find yourself in. and i hate it for the girls.

    but you know i hate it for him too (don’t mistake that for “i feel sorry for him”…i have quite a few words i would love to let him hear)…but he is missing out on so much…the good and bad.

    he can talk all he wants about how wonderful his kids are…but he knows they are wonderful not because of him but in spite of him…they are wonderful because they have a wonderful MOTHER that is nurturing them and teaching them.

    you are allowed to be angry..and be angry for soooooooooooo many more things than you have listed.

    and please…don’t be ashamed or afraid to let your friends, his friends, your family, his family, or him know exactly where you stand.

    here is my stand: he is a TOTAL. DICK.

  4. everything i have typed in this window, doesn’t come out right. * big hugs * … i don’t understand how any parent can leave the area where their children are. My nephew hasn’t seen his mother in “I don’t know how long” and when he does mention her, it breaks my heart. If I was in your position I would be angry also. You have some beautiful children. They are very lucky to have you as Mom. He sucks. I don’t understand how someone who has been so blessed with 2 beautiful daughters can stand live across the country from them.

  5. I have a million things I want to write, but none of them seem right. I’m sure we would all want to say something to make the hurt, anger, bullshit, etc – just go away. I think you are incredible – in that creepy from afar over the internet sort of way – how you handle every day, love those girls fiercely & stand up and stand in where those babies need it.
    guarros´s last blog post ..Walking LessonsMy Profile

  6. Let’s be honest here – you are holding up their entire world here – hardly a break through the days and the nights, good moments and bad. Your parents are AWESOME beyond words for moving close and helping out. They deserve a medal. Dave is an effing TWAT for dropping out so completely. He SHOULD have to be close by so he can take days AND nights. It is so easy to play the good dad on facebook or post a few pics, but you and your family & friends know the difference. The girls know the difference too. I bet your parents are furious as well. I am angry at him and I don’t even know you folks. He gets off easy. These years when the girls are young, these are hard years of serious micromanagement & parenting that should be on both of your shoulders. He will regret it someday. You rock as a mom, BTW.

  7. Ditto Issa’s comment. And *big nods* with this whole post. Mine lives 20mins away and … well, you know.

  8. Thanks for this. My mother left me behind in the divorce and my dad raised me. He never talked bad about her (to me anyway) but I always wondered if he went through these feelings too. I look back on my childhood and dont miss her, I just remember how happy I was with my Dad. Im sure your girls will do the same because you are doing an amazing job!

  9. I haven’t ever met you in person, but I’ve followed you online and have read your blog, and we went through some drama here together. I’d say we’ve “known” each other 2 years. The entire time you have never done anything that would resort in talking about about anyone. Even when the situation would call for it.

    I think about you a lot. (Weird I know). But I feel for you and your situation and I agree, Dave doesn’t just miss out on the bad, the hospital runs, the temper tantrums, the late night crying, he misses out on the good. And that’s really sad. He’s going to miss everything for Lucy. He will never be there for a first day of school a first date, nothing like that and yeah that sucks but you know what? YOU are there. Your parents are there, your brother and sister are there, and that’s what counts and Catie and Lucy are growing up knowing that and will never ever forget that. They will always love Dave, he’s dad. But they know whose there 24/7.

  10. I second Helga’s response. I am also divorced, with only one kid. I had NO IDEA how you do it with two. You are AMAZING. I have come to terms with the fact that I, me ALONE is the foundation of my sons world. ME. It makes me spitting mad when I here, “oh..you TWO have done such a wonderful job raising him!!” uhh..NO. I have done it. ALL.Thankyouverymuch. Keep your head up. Your girls have an amazing role model. They will be strong, smart woman when they grow up!!

  11. Such a base, obvious statement to make, but my therapist told it to me when I was going through something that was making me so angry that I sent myself into anxiety attacks and almost a nervous breakdown: You are angry because your expectations are so far away from your reality. You will stop being angry when you accept the reality and alter your expectations.

    Sucks, because that means you’re doing all the work.

    But, I promise it makes the anger be a lot less than it was before.
    Poppy´s last blog post ..don’t walkMy Profile

  12. The phrase to live by, if it were self-help-book-land, would be a variation on Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous words:

    No one can hurt you without your consent.

    Except that it’s utter bullshit; someone with whom you shared your life is totally able to hurt you, and in the most fundamental way: through your children.

    By being gone, you perceive that he is hurting them. But I think that what Andrea said is telling: she has good memories with the parent who was present, and didn’t really miss the other. Hopefully that will be some kind of comfort to you that they might not see his absence as any big deal when they are older. It doesn’t help you at 3am, of course…

    To quote another famous figure of the 1940s, but with something that I don’t think is bullshit,

    If you are going through hell, keep going.


  13. Of course you would feel anger. This guy stiffed you in the worst possible way.

    It would be so galling to see his FB posts about what a caring dad he is to the kids, the same ones he does his best to be a stranger to!

    And yeah, I would be livid knowing he is a liar and not being able to call him out on it because it means bashing the dad. I wish I had some zen to make it okay. I think you are doing the right thing by taking it one day at a time, and trying to make each day a good one. They’re very fortunate to have a great mom!

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