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.