Just because I'm not bothered by something doesn't mean that I don't want to know the motivation behind it. And even though I have made a concerted effort the last year or so to not over- think things, I'm still curious about this one.
I'm talking about the FX and his new girlfriend, of course. But before I get into the rest of the story, I have to go back and fill in a detail I left out earlier, because in the interest of getting to the meat of the story, I chose to not put the veggies and potatoes on the plate. (This takes on added significance when you factor in that I really don't like meat, but I digress). The detail is this -
The reason he told me this, said he, is that he wanted my opinion and advice on how to a) tell the kids about this gal and b) get them all together in a stress-free kind of manner. It's moments like these that make me grateful for the poker face I've cultivated all my life, because without it I'm afraid I may have hurt his oh so considerate feelings a smite. My answer was short and to the point. You're on your own, said I. This is something we're each going to have to work out for ourselves. I don't have the magic answer and even if I did I'm not sure I'd share. I am, as you have repeatedly pointed out to me, not your mother. The only thing I did say was that I thought if he told the kids he should make sure they knew that I knew, so they wouldn't feel like they were having to keep secrets from me.
That's where we left it. Oh, he had to tell me all about her and ask me about my love life and make chit chat like we were friends or something, but the reason for this charming little catch up session was already on the table. So there you are. The end.
I can't help but wonder why? Why is he doing this? What is the ultimate goal, the hidden purpose? Why does he want the kids in on this? And this is the direction my thoughts keep going off in. First off they've only been going out a couple of months. (And I believe this, for reasons I don't really want to get into now). Second off, he only has the kids every other weekend, and even that has been getting shortened as the kids are asking me if they can go there Saturday morning instead of Friday night. Third, they've only been going out a couple of months. Oh, wait. I already said that. Never mind.
If we had split custody I could understand it. If the kids were with him seven days out of fourteen and he was in the heady throes of getting a new relationship off the ground, I can see the point of telling them about it. I wouldn't do it if it were me, but I can see where some people would. But if you're seeing your kids one or two nights out of fourteen, can you not take care of your love life in the other twelve or thirteen? Do you really want to spend the few nights you have with your kids on a "date"? And what if it doesn't work out? Then what? Will you make sure they meet every woman you go to a movie with? Why is this necessary to their lives?
Then there's the option that he believes that this gal is the one, the Steven to his Spielberg. That he wants them to start in immediately on the happy integrated family routine. (She does have kids, but they're "grown", whatever that means). I sit somewhere between awe and horror at this thought, with a heavy right shift. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that his major preoccupation has been trying to find someone to be with, rather than doing a little introspection about his issues - the issues that two separate therapists assured him would follow him from one relationship to the next unless he sucked it up and addressed his problems. Perhaps I'm still smarting from being told repeatedly that I single-handedly killed the marriage with all my issues, but there's a little part of me that hopes this gal has a clue of what she's getting into. I know for a fact that he's quite presentable on paper. I have the paper to prove it.
I even, out of the goodness of my heart, started a little mental list for her. Ten Things You Should Know About Him. A minute or two later, I had to upgrade it to Twenty, because that's how I am with these lists. As a matter of fact, I've integrated my love of lists into this book I'm writing that is kicking my butt. I shouldn't complain, because every time I think I'm running into a wall, I just keep getting more material thrown my way. Anyway, these lists started with one I wrote last Spring. I couldn't write it now because I'm just not in that place anymore, but if I do say so myself, my Ten Things I Won't Miss About You List (quickly upgraded to Twenty), may be the best piece of writing I've ever done, in an Alannis Morissette You Oughta Know kind of way. You wouldn't be wrong if you imagined a fair amount of overlap in the Things You Should Know/Things I Won't Miss lists. Of course she isn't asking for my advice like he is, but here's a freebie just because I'm nice that way. Absent minded men who misplace everything they touch should never be allowed to take erotic pictures of their women. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
If you're sensing a little hostility seeping through my words, you're right. All three of my kids came home last night very subdued after having this news sprung on them. One of them has been stomping around the house, snarly and surly, one refuses to even admit he heard it, and one looked at me really tentatively and asked if I'd heard about Dad's news. I said I had, and asked what he thought about it. Yikes. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Empathetic dad that he is, has he called to check in on them to see how they're doing after his little sound bite? Come on. What do you think?
Where the hell was I? Oh, yeah. Sorry. I sidetracked myself.
Why did he feel he needed this on the table? Who has something to gain here? Possibly the woman is pushing for this for her own reasons, but it's hard to imagine why. The kids, in my opinion, have nothing to gain by this. I'm simply a bystander to this particular car wreck, except for that pesky little bit about my children's psyches and the newfound need to patch them up. And that leaves the FX. What does he have to gain from this?
It's taken me four days, but I think I've finally figured it out. No, scratch that. I'm pretty damn sure I've figured it out. And I'm not being coy, but I'm going to wait just a bit before I write about it, because I want to see how this plays out. Sometimes I think he still checks in here just because he can, and even though I think that's a pathetic thought, I can't rule it out. I'm not tipping my hand on this one.
Even during the last days of our marriage when we loathed everything about each other, he was still forced to admit that I knew him inside and out, knew what made him tick and why. And if I'm right about this - and I am - he doesn't even know he's doing it. He certainly hasn't gotten as far as the why.
And I think that's a little...sad.