Please go away… I don’t want to be your friend.

I don’t understand why he can’t understand. He put me through hell. I would say I hate him, but it isn’t even that. I feel indifferent. I don’t care if I ever see him again. He drug me away from my family and then treated me like dirt. The only thing he ever gave me that brought me joy was our son, and for that I will always be thankful. Our son is my little ray of sunshine and has given me reasons to smile when I have been in my darkest moments.

I moved back home to get away from him and to be near my family. He moved back to the area about a year later. It makes sense, we are both from here. Only now he stops in at my work because he goes by it every day. He comes in and stands near my desk and talks to me. I am friendly, I smile and accommodate him if he has a question or needs information. I talk about our son, try to find something, anything, to say.

He doesn’t seem to get it. Yes, I have to see him every other weekend for visitation exchange. I have to tolerate his presence, his phone calls when there are things involving our son. But for some reason he comes to me like we are friends and I don’t understand why. I am not his friend. He seems oblivious to the past. I honestly think he has forgotten much of it. I am positive that much of it was forgotten immediately afterwards in the haze of his booze-soaked brain.  Yes, he has sobered up, mostly. He hasn’t quit completely but he can no longer afford to drink all night every night because he would be fired very quickly and his entire future and retirement is based around his high paying job. I guess his job was more of a reason to get it under control than his children or I ever were. I am glad that he has done that, because it has allowed his son a chance to get to know his dad. I watch him carefully, let him know that I AM watching and that I will keep watching as long as he is in our son’s life. I wasn’t trying to rob a son of a father or a father of a son. I was trying to protect myself and my children from the hell that they had been subjected to.

I can’t comprehend how he can come to my work and talk as if nothing happened, as if he hadn’t crushed everything in me that made me a strong person. I know I have to play nice, and I know that if I told him to leave his anger would follow and he would probably try to take me back to court. He can afford it. I can’t.

We are not friends anymore. I don’t like him. The sight of his truck makes me cringe. The smell that emanates from his tainted breath when he stands near me makes me gag. The entire inside of my body quivers and shakes and wants to separate from my body and hide under my desk the moment he walks in the front door.

I don’t want to invite him to our family affairs, to Jake’s birthday parties, to events not meant to include him. He can have a birthday party for him and his family if he wants to because our lives are separate now. Yes, we will need to share events as he gets older and there are school programs, events and so on. I understand that. I have raised both of my daughters on my own and know the drill on sharing parenting moments.

It only happens once a week or so, but it is enough. More than enough. Each time I see him pull in I feel a huge weight in my chest, and it is hard to breathe. I become tense, nervous, I feel like I am trapped in a cage and I am ever so thankful that my mother is usually across the hall and my father just down it because if he made one move or said one foul thing he would get balled up into a little ball and thrown out the door…while it was still closed.

The sad part is that he doesn’t even realize he is doing it. It isn’t his quest for power, I think he his just that damn lonely and without friends that I am the closest thing he has. No, this is not about control, but it doesn’t matter… it makes me extremely uncomfortable and even though I am trying so hard to accept that he will, in fact, always be somewhere in my life, I just can’t stop myself from reacting so strongly. In my defense, my body has every right to react that way to him, I just wish I could control it a little more…….

I just want to live my quiet little life and not have it interrupted by his presence unless it is necessary. I don’t need the reminders. I need time to mentally prepare myself when I am going to see him, and unexpected visits do not allow for that. I can get along with him when I have to, for my son’s sake, but I shouldn’t have to be his friend.

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Little boys are superheros in disguise…

jacobJacob is Jacob. He will be five in April.  He is all boy, from the top of his head to the tips of his little toes. He likes to run and jump, drive cars over the dog, flush interesting and sometimes expensive things down the toilet, chase his sisters around with his toy sword and pretend he is conquering giants, rip the knees out of every pair of jeans he owns in less than a week, play in the dirt… and sometimes I think he even eats it. He likes to play with cars, ride on four wheelers and snowmobiles, drive his little snowmobile around the yard and giggle when he runs into something that he shouldn’t.  He likes to snowboard (or try to) and ride his bike.  He likes to jump in mud puddles, color pictures of all of the different superheros and eat food on my new sectional sofa. He likes to climb trees, play in the lake and tap on the glass of the fish tank. He likes to put his superhero masks and clothes on and save the world, he likes to play steam roller and wheel barrel. He likes to snuggle up with me and watch a movie, giggle and laugh and be tickled. He will sing his ABC’s but will throw a number in there just to let me know that he isn’t so interested in that particular song. He likes to say his numbers out of order just because he can. Oh, he can do it the right way. He just doesn’t want to.

I was upset when his teacher told me that he was behind. She said that my little boy couldn’t write his name and that the age of four he really should be able to write it, as well as recognize all of the letters of the alphabet and his numbers up to 20. Super. While we were in conferences he painted a picture in the other room with his sister and interestingly enough he painted his name on his picture when his big sister asked him and told him which letters to write.  Funny how that works.

I understand the desire for learning, to fill our children with knowledge when they are young, because they are at a age when they are taking it all in. But why must we shove these things down their throats? Why force learning upon them so young? He isn’t in first grade, or even kindergarten and because of his lack of interest he most likely will go to one more year of preschool. He doesn’t care. He knows his letters. He knows his numbers. He has two fifteen year old sisters. The child gets educated, sometimes on things he shouldn’t. But he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to learn those things. He wants to know how birds fly, where the dinnasours went, and if sharks can come out of the ocean and into the lake? He wants to know how to put the gas in his snowmobile, how long his head will fit in his helmet, when he will be big enough to get a real Iron Man suit and buy a big truck. He wants to know what will happen if he throws his blanket into the spinning ceiling fan and if I will notice that he dropped his toothbrush down the drain.  He wants to know when Grandpa is taking him fishing again, and if Grandma will pick him up from daycare so he can get a treat afterwards.

They tell us we should stop and smell the roses, that we need to learn how to relax and enjoy life. They want us to try to make our lives stress free, but from a very young age we do nothing but attempt to pound knowledge into the brains of our offspring, shoving them all the way full, because they are, after all, little sponges. Why must we fill the sponge completely full immediately? Why not let them learn how to relax, to lay on the grass and look at the clouds, to take the time to stretch before they get out of bed? Why can’t kids be kids? It is no wonder we have things like high blood pressure and a world full of stressed out and neurotic grown ups, myself included.

Let them learn to love life, to enjoy things, to explore and have fun before they are shoved into the crazy life that we all complain about. I am not saying that we should let our children play in the back yard and eat dirt until they are eighteen, happily shoving them out into the world uneducated and unprepared.  I am not saying they should be without discipline or education. I am just saying that I think we are pushing so hard that we push the desire to even care right out of them.

Honestly, I did let the concern grow in my mind. I started to doubt myself and my choices. Then I remembered that we engage him in learning activities constantly at home. He might be counting his race cars or trying to write the word “Spiderman” but it is STILL learning. He is learning through play. Still, though, she placed the fear in me that maybe I am parenting wrong and that maybe I should be pushing him harder, that maybe he is ready and I am just not nurturing it enough. He proved me wrong himself.

We are embarking on an eight hour car trip this weekend. I always try to put a backpack of activities together for Jacob so that he has something to do. We were in the store and I spotted a preschool activity book. I looked at it for awhile and finally decided to just ask him, “Jacob, if Mommy gets this for you, would you practice your letters?”

He just grinned at me, and said, “Nope. But if you buy me THAT book (he pointed to a race car coloring book) I will practice coloring my race cars.”

Yep. Not ready, not interested, doesn’t even care. I had to laugh at his quick wit and was reminded, again, that his brain works just fine… and even if it didn’t, he would still be my perfect little boy.  We didn’t get either book. I instead printed out several coloring pages with superheros, cars, trucks and animals and put them in a binder for him to color on our trip. Of course, I couldn’t help sneaking in a few pages with letters and numbers and placed them strategically between his pictures. Perhaps he will come upon one and take interest. Probably not. Either way, I think I will let my little boy be just what he is supposed to be right now… a little boy.

“Mommy, Somebody Needs You.”

I love this – she captured the true essence of being a Mommy with little ones.

Ever since we brought our new daughter home, her older brothers have been the first to tell me when she is crying, whimpering, or smelling a little suspicious.  “Somebody needs you,” they say.  I have no idea how this little saying started, but at first it sort of annoyed me.  I could be enjoying a quick shower… “Mommy, somebody needs you.  The baby is crying.”  Or, sitting down for a second, quite aware that the baby was beginning to stir from a nap…. “Mama, somebody needs you!”  Okay!  I get it already!  And not to mention that the newborn’s needs pale in comparison to the needs of 2 little boys.  Somebody always needs a snack, a band-aid, a different sock, ice cubes in their water, a NEW Paw Patrol, a stream of snot wiped, a hug, a story, a kiss.  Some days never seem to end, and the monotony of being “needed”…

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