Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trying to get out of my own way

The past several days have been consumed by M’s dad coming to visit. I have a lot of my own feelings about him and how it is to deal with him, but my daughter was very happy to have him here.
And I cannot ignore that she is my bottom line; her happiness is my Prime Directive.

More than one friend has told me recently that I need to “let it go.” My indignation and frustration with his antics and his stubborn refusal to cooperate and grow the fuck up drives me crazy. The problem is that I am the only person suffering from it. My daughter is too young to understand or care about the intricacies of our negotiations. She is a child, and she cares about what children care about: she wants to have her daddy around and to do things with him. The rest is dry leaves swirling past in the wind, as far as she is concerned.
My friends are correct in their concern. I recognize the pattern in my life: I hold on to my righteous anger because inside, I think that if I don’t, that it means I’m saying that the “bad behavior” of the person who has wronged me is not that bad. That it’s okay. And I can’t do that. Too many people wanted to gloss over all the horror of my childhood, told me I needed to smile more, and told me to “get over it.” My bitterness was my protest march. My anger was my front page statement that it was NOT okay. I was standing up for myself in the only way I knew how.

But I know how to take care of my daughter – and myself – now. Carrying around this cauldron of bile isn’t making anything better, and it is sapping my energy. I need that energy for the good things I have in my life that make sense for me and my child.
I lose nothing by setting it aside. No one is fooled. No one thinks Buster is doing right by us.    

I got through this weekend without incident. I sat and made conversation, kept myself out of the room and out of the activity as much as I could, given the circumstances, and for the most part, kept my mouth shut. In the long run, the bottom line was satisfied. He insisted in going out to eat, and he paid. He couldn’t figure out how to spend the time with M, so I did, and they muddled through in his usual manner. It meant that I sacrificed the entire weekend to his ineptitude... but I can spare a weekend. My daughter finally got the new pair of tennies that she needed, and there were no fights.

I realize that he will tell people whatever he will tell them, and that it just doesn’t matter.
In the end, I am still the one raising my daughter, and that his sporadic visits, even if they should increase in frequency, really don’t change anything. He is who he is, and – as the song says – time is on my side.


  1. I'm glad to hear you made it through his visit without incident. I know having him around isn't easy for you. It sounds to me like keeping M's happiness in focus as your main goal is the very best path to take for all involved.

  2. oh sweetie...i feel your pain. I remember hearing my ex idiot say how he 'taught the kids to read', and I thought when exactly was that? I mean I'm sure I'd remember any incident of help that would have occurred...
    I hung onto my self-righteous hurt until I heard this little saying: 'holding on to anger at another is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die.'
    As soon as I let go, honest- my life was easier and happier.
    Smooches to you and're a wonderful mom.

  3. Good for you! You have your priorities straight.

    And Mary, that's a great line.