He has a splendid talent for throwing curveballs and they always hit in the rare moments when I'm decompressing and slowly recoving from the last.
I guess Christmas and New Year celebrations are always tough on fractured families.
Lily and I spent Christmas day with her dad. With all the champagne and wine during lunch we had a better time together than we’d had in several years. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men for the day. Nice.
New year saw Lily and I on a beach front in Boganville on the other side of the country with my little party animal dancing her legs off at the foot of the stage of an open air concert. The local acts weren’t too shabby actually. I manged to get her to challenge her own body image issues (I know at eight!!!) while we were surrounded by teenage girls with great ham sized thighs bursting the seams of their Daisy Duke denim cutoffs. And can I just state for the record that my little girl is not quite a toothpick but she's far from even slightly overweight (that's school bullies for you).
We were both decompressing, and my mother told me over the phone one night that I sounded more relaxed than I had in years! But New Year hasn’t been much to celebrate for a while, so I’m usually fighting off feeling morose.
We came back and a week later flew to see my mother and the rest of my family. Lily loves extended family and I love the nurturing and safe feelings I get from family and old friends.
I don’t know, it’s not all that bad, these wee curve-balls that come by text message when I least expect them.. but maybe it’s letting my guard down, enjoying family and old friendships that leaves me vulnerable. Maybe it’s that taste of normality I used to take for granted, but it doesn’t take much on his part to shoot me down when I’m soaring.
We made some progress on divorce property settlement. Which simply means to me, full quarantine of assets and funds I need to support Lily and keep our home no matter what. He doesn’t seem to get the potential of a repeat disaster; to hell with the stats.
I’m feeling so raw, we seemed to make some progress, I was recommended a mediation lawyer who works for both sides, effectively eliminating the need for two and the sh!t-fight not to mention doubled expenses that goes with that scenario. He was not only on board (we have been talking about this for six months)he was going to make the appointment for the first day of Lily’s school start.
Then I’m sitting down to a belated family Christmas dinner and I get the ‘about face ‘ text. He’s not comfortable with the idea today. Yesterday it was fine, during the past six months it was fine, but today; not.
This text has led to days of stress, being less than my best with Lily – she’s just so perceptive it’s incredible.
Tonight we had a fight on the phone because I wanted to schedule a sit down about the lawyer issues and he wanted to talk about it right then. I walked through the house closing doors- left Lily watching TV, but she crept along after me and stopped in the next room.
She heard me yell at him: “you’re not comfortable using an impartial lawyer, because she was recommended by my therapist?”
“Are you serious? It’s all about you being comfortable? What part of the shit you’ve pulled on me for the past two years do you think I was comfortable with?” “Personally I would be more comfortable with using my own lawyer who has already done the ground work and can just take over and let me know the outcome.”
Then he tried to play the we’ve both been though a lot card. That just blew me away, I told him; “sure you’re doing it so tough, stalling me, and taking your new girlfriend on romantic and dates weekends away while I’m still left dealing with the collateral damage.’
Lily had followed me with great stealth and listened at the door.
An hour later she asked me; ‘has daddy got a girlfriend?’
So tonight we missed bed-time. I talked to her honestly (albeit age appropriately) about Daddy dating and how it’s not a secret but when and if daddy feels it’s getting serious he will introduce them. I told her that its really private and she wasn’t meant to hear about it so she should wait for daddy to tell her. I said ‘she might turn out to be horrible and daddy might dump her, so just wait and see.’ She worried that it was secret. She worried that this woman would become her stepmother, She worried that if the girlfriend had a child that daddy would love that child more than her…
I assured her most dating doesn’t end in marriage. And I told her parents have a special connection with their own children that cannot be broken or replaced. It comes from watching them grow from a tiny seed in their mummy’s tummy and being completely busting for them to be born so they can know them and watch them grow into little people who throw food at their pets.
The tears stopped and lily laughed hard. To make my point further I said: “just imagine for a minute that I was in love with Joey’s dad; (much face pulling)” “Do you imagine for one minute that I could love Joey more than you? Seriously?’
She laughed: “er – NO!’ she answered. (Our last catch-up with Joey and his dad was so prickly we both vowed never again.)
So we stayed up watching the movie 27 Dresses, peppering it with questions and answers about relationships and honesty.
When I finally got her ready for bed I told her : “I am the worst mummy; letting you hear me losing my rag with your dad (that expression always gets a giggle), telling you grown up stuff then putting you to bed very late…”
“You said swear words at daddy too..”
“Yes I did – I am a very bad mummy!”
She hugged me so tight and told me “no you’re not, you’re the best mum in the whole planet.’
She asked me; ‘did you ever nearly love joey’s dad?
I held my thumb and forefinger a little apart and told her, there was this tiny window of opportunity when I first met him when that might have happened..’
I squeezed my fingers together: ‘but the window blew shut.’
“why?” she asked.
I said, ‘he’s a bit too serious, I like fun and a bit silly.’
On screen a couple were on drunk on a bar performing Elton John’s Benny and Jets. We’d been talking about how they’d been drinking too much and were getting silly.. I pointed – Like that!”
Lily gestured like someone sculling a bottle and I responded; “Joeys dad doesn’t drink alcohol.’
We looked at each other grinning and I said: “maybe he should just a little. To cheer up.”
I guess at the end of it we cleared the air, she’d picked up on the tension of those past few days and the tantrums had come back.
We talked about privacy and how secrets are different from people keeping things private. And I told her that not all parents tell their children so much as I tell her.
“It’s not right or wrong everyone has different ideas of parenting - but I am a blabbermouth with you,” I said.
I’m comfortable with my levels of honestly with her and God knows I regularly double check my standards with her psychologist.
And apparently I have to work on my swerve or hitting...