You know those moments in life when the knife comes down onto your finger and you instantly see blood and you know it’s going to be bad? Your foot slips and you know you are going down and there’s nothing you can do to stop it? You know in the movies when the car drives through the barricade and flies off the cliff heading for rocks below? There are several seconds when I’m sure the driver is thinking. “Holy crap what have I done?” Or even when you are making that big purchase online and you’ve gone through putting in all your credit card information and the very last screen says, “Submit” and it’s like you wait for a minute because you know once you push that button your spending thousands of dollars? There are moments in life when there is NO GOING BACK. No matter what you do from that point on you will have repercussions. Just put your finger in still water and watch the ripples. You can’t stop them once they’ve started.
I think computers and word processors have given us somewhat of a false sense of the concept “do over”. I can make spelling errors, grammatical errors, I can review my text and cut out entire paragraphs or rearrange them. But back in the day I remember having to be ultra careful when typing because I only had “so much” correcting tape for the typewriter and it was very obvious that I had made a mistake every time I used it. That is really more true to life. When you screw up, you can’t just erase it. You can’t just go along for months and after a while start acting like it never happened, hoping that people forgot what you did. NO. Life doesn’t work that way. Yes, people can be forgiving and you can come out of the ruins of bad choices but only after repentance and redemption and making attempts at restoration. Not after hiding it for months hoping that over time people would just get used to the fact that you are sleeping with someone other than your wife who you walked out on.
I’m a little angry today – bear with me.
My daughter came home from spending time with her father tonight who said that he was upset and wanted to talk. I had a phone conversation with him yesterday and I let him know that the kids were increasingly harsh and upset about him leaving and especially not happy about continuing his relationship with the woman who pulled him away in the first place. I shared with him things they had said to me not to hurt his feelings but to clue him in to the fact that just because I was open with the kids about my relationship with Martin and the kids were comfortable being around him, doesn’t mean that is going to automatically happen for him. And in fact he’s had three years to get used to the idea and the kids have only been told about her recently by him (since the start of the year after months of him pretending like she didn’t exist) They met her for the first time in January at a new years party. My daughter said she was like a “partier” and whatever happened she did not make a good first impression. After that they spent some time at dinner together where my daughter remarked on how touchy-feely they both were toward each other and how wrong that was and how disinterested she seemed toward herself and my son. Maybe they’ve gotten off on the wrong foot? Maybe what she represents is too difficult to surmount? I don’t know. But lately both kids are discussing their displeasure more openly with me about their father’s choices.
My son said, “How could he do it mom? How could he cheat on his own wife and then leave? And how could she want to be with someone who did that?” And I said, “Well she did it too and maybe they convinced themselves that it was so bad where they were that they were somehow doing good by making a change and they don’t see it for the hurt its caused.” And he said, “Well if I did that to my wife I would kill myself. I just couldn’t live with myself.”
My daughter said, “I don’t even want to get him anything for Father’s Day, it’s not like he really is one anymore. We just visit and have nothing to talk about.” And I told her that no matter what she felt about him that she needed to respect and honor her father with a card and a gift. To which she shrugged her shoulders and changed the subject.
I know he is trying. He’s consistently attending anything important to them. He is coming around on a regular basis and makes them feel loved and important when he is around. It’s just that because he chose to leave and now they have to arrange their schedules to be with him when they are already busy…it’s just not enough I guess. My daughter point blank told me that she doesn’t want to have to re-arrange her schedule to be with him when he could just be LIVING HERE and I could SEE HIM ALL THE TIME. And then the next day she fought tooth and nail with her brother for dibs for dinner with Dad that night because she was too busy to do it any other night and she didn’t want to miss her time with him. It’s confusing for them.
They want to be mad, and are mad. They want things back the way they were but know it will never be like that again. They know they are drifting apart from their dad and that makes them sad. They are disappointed in him but still love him.
On one hand bringing “her” out into the light is at least taking away one veil of secrecy between them in his life. It’s just that it upsets them at the same time. And I don’t think they should have to “get used” to being around a home-wrecking mistress who is now trying to legitimize herself as an official girlfriend. I guess it upsets me too.
And here I am with Martin who they are enthusiastic about to their father. Telling him how awesome he is and great and all the rest of it, which has to hurt too. And part of me is glad that it hurts.
I guess my point is. I’m grieving this week for my kids. For how their lives were forever changed because he chose to walk. They can’t ever go back and neither can he. He tried to explain to my daughter last night that it was “for the best”. But from her eyes I don’t know how that could make it okay. She just misses her daddy. She misses him tucking her in at night and giving her loves and hugs. She misses being able to talk to him when the mood strikes instead of when its scheduled. My son misses knowing that Dad will be home and feels the pressure of being “the man of the house” and the only man in a house full of women. They both feel abandoned. And I can’t fix that for them.
They are all past the point of no return. So all I can do is offer them a positive present with as much love and support as possible. Maybe it will make a difference. I do my very best not to be negative about their dad while also being as honest with them as I can about what is right and wrong. My prayer is that I will give them an alternate ending. The kind that get people cheering and gasping for joy in movie theaters.
Yes the car has leapt off the cliff and you are sure the people in it are about to die. You suck in air and grab a hold of the armrest to brace yourself, but all of a sudden you realize the car is a convertible and the top starts retracting and then you see parachutes deploy and you watch in an instant and with relief as the car explodes but the people are still in the sky shocked but grateful, floating to safety, to live another day.