“You’re on your own now. We won’t save you.
Almost a year ago now, my then boyfriend, didn’t come to Thanksgiving dinner. The following week he was dealing with the blues. The following week, he would go with me to put Takoda down and they had been best buddies. Trying to think of anything that I could do, I got up and went to the garage in my pajamas, only to come back, stand on my bed and string up a strand of multi-colored Christmas lights. I smiled and proudly said, “TADA! There’s Christmas lights and you can’t be sad under Christmas lights.” It didn’t matter to him. He called them “cheap dollar store lights”, laughed at them and rolled over and went to sleep. That was the last time he was ever in my home, room, bed …
Within the coming month, with EX making a reappearance and strides in the kids life, I welcomed the distraction from my broken heart and settled into to doing what I do. EX didn’t have a car, so I would drive him to NA meetings, the clinic, therapy. As the holidays were getting closer, the kids began to hint and suggest, that instead of EX staying at a shelter, he could stay with us and rent the unoccupied room in the basement and despite my better judgment, I made the offer. I asked EX to keep me company while I wrapped presents in my room Christmas Eve while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”. At some point, EX looked at me and said, “Damn, Steph, you look so beautiful in the Christmas lights” and when I looked up to tell him “Nice line/try” he was crying. He said, “This moment, right here, right now, with the kids all under one roof, us wrapping presents and the way you look under those lights, is my favorite moment, ever. Thank you for it, Steph”
Ive spent my entire adult life trying to save you. Im done. I refuse to suffer at your hands anymore and I wont let my kids experience the fruitless trials that come with trying to love and save you.
If today’s conversation should become our last, Ive made my peace with that.
I love myself and the kids too much to let you rob our lives of anything more.
It is what it is.
I went and woke jer up and I told him.
I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore.
I told him that it’s been more than a year since I went to him and laid out all the issues and he made promises to fix things and make efforts
I told him its been all talk and no follow through.
He said he thought he’d been doing better and if it made any difference he had planned to call and set up therapy tomorrow
I wont let him hurt the kids anymore.
I told him so. I told him that I didn’t know who he was anymore. He’s not the man I fell in love with. By always having my EX to compare to …well that’s a pretty low bar and I can’t stay married to you because sometimes you pay attention to me and it’s nice when you’re hurting my kids. I said I never imagined Id say this to you but I don’t like who you are and Im watching my son turn into you and it makes me sick to my stomach. I said that the kids are an extension of me and when you hurt them it hurts me. It’s selfish of me to consider anything else.
Then I came back upstairs, climbed into bed and now Im laying here with a million things going through my head and tears … so many tears.
Everything is going to change but it has to.
Today I had my epidural spinal injection. They were at the same hospital where I delivered my kids. In fact, the recovery room was the room I actually delivered Jedi in. I’ve written about what a strange experience it is before. Just like I’ve written about watching the episode of ‘Friends’, the one where Rachel tells Ross she’s pregnant and they have the sonogram and how it sent all these memories flooding back.
Today, I found myself watching that episode again and coupled with being in the same room I delivered my son, I was struck with such emotional pain that it took me back a little.
Back to a place I don’t like to be. I found myself back in the place where I question everything that happened in my previous marriage. Questioning how I ever let myself be in a situation like that. Examining every other moment we shared. Being disgusted at the way they have all been tainted. Wondering if I’m ever going to be able to look back on these memories that I should cherish with anything more than bittersweet melancholy. It makes me resentful and that’s a place I never want to stay. It makes me wonder too. Not that it would matter anyways but, I can’t help but wonder how he lives with the memories or if he ever thinks of us, or me, at all.
This morning we were awaken with a BANG! that shook the whole house. A thunderstorm was rolling through just as the kids alarms were going off to ready for the school day, My thoughts, of course, went to wondering how long this storm was going to last and if I was going to need to drive them to the bus stop or to school altogether when me cellphone rang. It’s my Dad calling to say that the storm had woken him up too and that he’ll take the kids to school today. I hang up the phone even more grateful for my Daddy than I already forever am, when it hits me. THIS is one of the many things that never occurs to the EX.
Does he ever wake up wondering how the kids are?
How does he go about his day not knowing how they’ll get to school during a storm, how their day will go, what they’ll eat for lunch, what kind of social situations they might need guidance navigating, what homework they may have, the things they’ll have to say about their day, whether there’s food to eat for dinner, if they’ll get their chores done or need a privilege taken away to motivate them or without those hugs and kisses before they go to bed safely tonight?
This morning I was accosted by a song.
I recognized the melody immediately. Tim McGraw.
When all our tears have reached the sea
Part of you will live in me
Way down deep inside my heart
I knew every word as it came, even as I tried to block the weight of it out. A song that takes me back to a time of bittersweet. I guess a time when I still believed the lines meant something. Something I wish I still believed.
Just like the waves down by the shore
We’re gonna keep on comin’ back for more
‘Cause we don’t ever want to stop
But we could and we did and I want to forget. I want to forget that I ever believed that I was something more than small that could be cast aside. I want to forget that revelation.
Late at night when you’re not sleeping
And moonlight falls across your floor
And I can’t hurt you anymore
I wish that were true. No, I could not even pretend, as I may like to, that was true. Even now. It hurts. I don’t want things to be like this.
Please remember me
No. I’d like to forget you as I know you now. I’d like to live with the nostalgic notion of you. Somebody that I used to know.
You dont need to be such a dick. Just because you drunk sexted me while you had a girlfriend and I took it in stride, doesn’t mean I’m a doormat. Quite the opposite. Im someone who says exactly what Im thinking. I’m honest. My husband knows everything. He thinks that you’re a pretentious douchebag. Not because of the sexting. Mostly because you have no sense of humor and are as immature as our teenage son’s attention seeking girlfriends who completely ignore their own behavior and put themselves on pedestals to judge others. Not cute. Try saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Less to keep track of when bullshitting others.
This is me moving on.
You, sir, are an asshole. An asshole of epic proportion with an ego to match. You think you’re special. I can hear it in your lines and even though I’m gracious enough not to call you on your bullshit, trust this, I know it is.
Look down on me all you want, I know you do. And it’s fine by me.
I know who I am and I like me, even the messy parts that you term “crazy”. Ive had enough experience in life and love to be ok with loneliness and others disregard without it bothering me. I choose not to change the fact that my scars are on display, that they are a part of me. Yes, it can make me a little insecure. Sometimes I don’t make sense. But I put myself out there. I’m in the arena. So yeh, I like that about me. It makes me ME and it makes the world my oyster. I’m always gonna keep looking for and learning about the pearls. That’s how I grow. I’m ok admitting I’m no angel. I never claimed to be.
In fact, I’ve always been honest with you. I’ve always told you what you need to hear, instead of what you want to hear. You call it rude. I call it reality. If you don’t like it, change it, but you can’t change me. Unlike you, I can own the good and bad, the triumphs and the failures. I can say “I was an asshole” or “I’m sorry”. I don’t think those are things I have ever actually heard, or for that matter, ever will hear from you. And you know, I don’t need to. I know you better than you know yourself. Maybe more than anyone else does.
But you don’t get it. You never did. No matter what I do, I just can’t convince you to just believe that what you see is what you get with me. This is real. I can’t even convince you to just hear me out. You always know everything. Everything about what I think and feel. What I really mean. What my intentions are. The truth: You don’t know me at all. You dont even know yourself because even though you think you dont care, nobody gets that heated about things that dont matter to them.
The only reason I made the choice to reconnect with you is because unlike you, when I give my heart and makes promises to people, I mean them … I keep them. It’s not just words. When I tell someone I’ll always be there for them, I will. No matter what is said and done between us, when push comes to shove, if you need me, all that shit is gone, just like that. No apologies. No expectations. When I say “I love you” I know what love actually means. It means sacrifice, it means forgiveness, it means setting aside all the things that you have said and done to hurt me and choosing to hold on to the good times.
Sitting next to you, while we flew down back roads to share intimate moments away from the rest of the world. Just us. The radio cranked up and me singing along. You laughing. Running to the car in the rain and getting soaked, laughing our asses off until you took me in your arms and kissed me. It didn’t matter that we were literally taking a shower with our clothes on and you had on brand new shoes. Nothing else mattered. The way you let me hold you like a child when your family and childhood were too much to bear and you broke down. Those are the moments I’ll hang on to. That’s the pieces of you I want and the pieces of me that I wish you recalled more often than the flaws you invent. That’s where I hide my heart when you hurt me … again.
For now, the defending is done. I won’t concern myself with defending myself against things I never thought, said or did. To be honest, I don’t have the energy for any of it and shouldn’t have to, so I won’t. Making myself small enough to fit into your life is done. I’m the kind of friend a friend would want.
You, sir, are no friend of mine.