A friend passed away a few months ago. Her family held the memorial this past weekend.
For more than a month I have had to ask, cajole, remind, and worry about whether He would watch the kids so I could go. He agreed to, but sometimes...a lot of times...he forgets things. Alcohol and pot will do that to a body. It worries and frustrates me, and I have to constantly take memory loss into account when making plans.
I went to the memorial, a trip that meant I was away from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. I wanted to leave earlier on Friday, but it didn't work out. The Boy's father picked him up on Friday, so He only had the girl to contend with. I even arranged for a friend to come over and help out Friday night and Saturday morning.
At one point He was irritated because he had worked all week and now he wasn't getting to have a weekend. I bit my tongue. When's the last time I had a weekend? Hell, when's the last time I had an hour, or even fifteen minutes???
I went, came home. He was somewhere else, but brought the Girl home. Then he left again, went off to have some "quiet time" because he's had the Girl for all that time.
I don't get to have quiet time.
Then he was gone for hours - off playing at the lake with some friends, diving in the water, drinking, smoking pot, having a fine old time.
I didn't know where he was, and he did't let me know he'd be late. I got dinner. Got the Girl bathed, got both kids to bed, and wondered.
It isn't nice to feel lonely, superfluous, unwanted. How on earth is one lonely when one has two kids, a man, four cats, and assorted other critters about? I manage.
When He told me what he'd been up to, I thought it sounded nice. And I was glad he'd had fun. But...I had some unhappy thoughts, too. Thoughts I couldn't voice because he would take them wrong, take them as a judgement, as offensive.
I wondered what would happen if I just...left...saying I was only going to be an hour but not coming home until midnight or after? What would happen if I didn't call or text or let him know where I was or what I was doing, if I left him home with the two kids and went off and had my fun and never once thought about how he was?
I can't just take off for some peace or to hang out with friends. I must bring the children with me or find someone to watch them, or else I have to ask and ask and be willing to endure the bitterness, the talk of inconvenience and how HE can't do what HE wants because I need an hour here and there, or because I would like to do something that cannot include the children. I feel like I have to beg to simply run to the grocery store, and of course even that small thing is a big deal because it means he has to parent, and how dare I ask him to do that? And when I DO manage to get a little time for me, it is broken up by phone calls, texts, questions about where's this or what's that or how the kids won't behave or he can't find something or something has gone wrong, angry voice, angry words, on and on.
The thing is...the Girl loves her father. She adores spending time with him, is always excited when he comes home from work, delighted to have his attention and to share the world with him. And he loves her. He loves watching her play, loves playing with her...but only on his terms, when he feels like it...and if it gets in the way of anything else, he becomes bitter and angry.
I was thinking, last night, that it must be nice to be able to just take off without worrying if someone else is having to take up the slack or work around your absence. I wonder what that's like...