When Your Kids Take the Hit

It’s getting down to crunch time. I’ve got 3 blog entries in my draft section; I still need to work on one of those. Normally, I would have just replied but since, as I said, I’m down to crunch time and needing some material I’m going to write a blog post.

I wrote about Rock Star calling me, crying, worried about rent money and worried about school. Ainsobriety commented that she believed this conversation would have happened even if Jerry Lee and I were still together. I agreed at first but the longer I’ve thought about it the more I’ve come to the conclusion that no, we wouldn’t have. We wouldn’t have had that conversation at least.

Yes, I am her sounding board. I always have been, even when her dad and I were together. I was the one that drove them to practice and attended almost every single game, competition, recital, and program. I was the one who took them to school, stayed home with them when they were sick, took them to visit family, and planned fun outings all summer long. I was the one who cooked for them, cleaned for them, washed their clothes for them.

When Picasso was in second or third grade he had to write a letter saying what he was thankful for for Thanksgiving. He said he was thankful I cooked for him because otherwise he would starve. The thought that his father might actually take care of him in my absence didn’t even occur to him.

When Rock Star was three I had Jerry Lee pick her up from preschool one day because I was tied up at the doctor’s office with a baby Picasso. She asked where I was/why he was picking her up, and after explaining that I was at the doctor’s with Picasso she replied, “Wow- I’ve never stayed at home by myself.” She was three! He quickly assured her that she wasn’t staying home by herself that day either. But how sad is it that even at that young age she couldn’t fathom her dad staying at home with her?

So, yes, she would have called me if she was having trouble with school, or was simply feeling the pressure of it. I’ve always been the sounding board; she’s always felt comfortable falling apart on me while keeping it together around everyone else. That time she got her hand pinched in the vault at the gym and everyone was commenting on how brave she was and didn’t cry once? Yeah, she got into the safety of my minivan and burst into tears. Mom’s here; I’m safe. But I also don’t think she would be under so much stress if not for her father and his shenanigans.

The reality of the situation is if Jerry Lee and I were still together she would have no financial stress. You can argue whether that’s good, or bad, but it’s a fact. His bonus check alone was enough that we could have paid her full tuition, no loans required, and her room and board (or rent for an apartment), and still had money left over to put into the bank. Her books would have been covered, any additional schooling expenses would have been covered and I would have sent her money each month to cover incidental expenses. She wouldn’t have to worry about working enough over her breaks to cover rent, books, or spending money.

Money is a huge stressor. Without having to worry about student loans, coming up short on rent, cost of books, and a variety of other expenses, she would be able to fully concentrate on her classes. Instead, she worries about things like whether or not she has enough gas money or grocery money. She worries about costing me money that I don’t have.

Hell, she was reluctant to go to the urgent care center even though she was sick. She didn’t want me to have to spend the almost $200 it was going to cost. I had to assure her that I had the money and that I could pay the bill. The girl was crying and telling me she felt nauseous, was in pain, and was running a fever. She never runs a fever. She didn’t think it was a UTI and feared it might be a kidney infection instead. Still, she was reluctant to go because of the money.

Thank God her big [sister, in her sorority] insisted she go because they were very concerned about her at the urgent care. They’re still waiting on test results but they are treating her as though she has either a kidney infection or a bladder infection. They gave her two shots in her booty, three prescriptions and instructions to go straight to the ER if she got any worse.

I wanted my kids to have easy lives. I wanted them to be able to have it all. I wanted Rock Star to be able to go to college, have her tuition and books paid for, and join a sorority if she wanted. I wanted to be able to send her spending money and buy groceries for her and slip her some gas money as well. I wanted her to have no worries in the world. I wanted her to just have to concentrate on getting through nursing school and having fun.

I know she’ll be okay. I know that she’ll be stronger for it. I also know I hate him for what he’s done to us. And I know we wouldn’t have had that exact same conversation if he hadn’t left.

This Is Why Tuesday Never Comes

My daughter called me at work today. I had just clocked back in from lunch when I noticed she was calling on my cell phone. I quietly answered and told her to call my work phone. She told me it was something serious and she would just call me back after I got off of work.

Um, no. I stepped away from my desk to find out what was going on with my girl.

“You can go back to work, Mom. I’m not hurt. I can talk to you later.”

I assured her that I could talk to her right now and I wanted to know what was going on. At which point she burst into tears.

She was freaking out about rent. She’s coming home over Thanksgiving break and working at the hospital but she doesn’t get paid until after her rent is due. She was going to be $200 short.

I reminded her that I already knew she was going to be short and I had been planning on helping her pay it. I just needed to know when she needed it.

She kept telling me she was stupid and felt bad for asking me for help.

I had to tell her once again that I was not dead broke. I am not living pay check to pay check. I am being smart and I’m being cautious, which is why I try not to spend a lot of money, but I have money in my account and I can help if needed.

The next crisis was school. She has two papers and a test due before she goes home next week. She told me she didn’t think she could do it anymore and she wanted to come home.

Once again I remind her that she is the most organized, goal oriented person I know. I tell her she can do anything and I have every confidence that she will get through this. I tell her to break it down into little pieces. Write down what needs to get done. Tackle whatever is due first. Then move on to the next thing.

I told her she needed to focus on getting through these last few weeks of the semester. Once that’s over the hardest part will be done. No more five hour credit classes. Chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology will all be done. She can breathe a little more next semester. She’ll apply to nursing school, get in, and from there on out she’ll be working with patients, which she loves.

I made her tell me she was awesome and then I made her tell me she could do this.

By the time we got off the phone I felt she was doing much better.

And then I got the messages from her two best friends. They both reached out to me in a group text to tell me they were worried about her. They said she had been very closed off, wouldn’t talk to them, and hadn’t been herself lately. They wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help her.

My stomach dropped. It must be bad if her friends are contacting me.

I keep telling myself that she is fine. She has her ups and her downs. She’s always been a perfectionist. She’s always been driven. This is the kid that placed 2nd in the state on balance beam and was pissed because she didn’t take home first.

“Rock Star, out of all of the girls your age in Utah you placed second! That’s amazing.”

“I didn’t come to take second. I came to win.”

I can handle her freaking out and crying. I know she can fall apart on me and pick herself back up and continue on.

When I’m getting messages from her friends telling me they’re worried about her… I begin to freak out a little myself.

For any of you who follow Chump Lady you know that one of the things she’s often asked is, “When will it stop hurting?” Her reply has become, “Tuesday. It will stop on Tuesday.” She’s not sure which Tuesday, of course, but it will eventually stop.

To be clear, I am not pining away for the ex. Sadly though, he still has the power to hurt me through my children. Fearing that my daughter might end up a suicide statistic hurts me.

My daughter should not be worried about how to pay her rent. She should not feel as though she has somehow failed if she needs to come to me and ask for financial help.

I hate him for that. I hate him for not making sure his kids have everything they need.

You want to make sure I never get another dime of your money? That’s fine. Pay your goddamn kids directly! Give them what they need instead of trying to bribe someone else’s kids. It doesn’t matter how fucking good you are to the mulligans. You have failed your own kids.

I’m going to take my own advice. Break this up into little pieces. Survive one crisis and then tackle the other. By all accounts it sounds like she is doing much better. I texted her friends back and let them know what was going on. By the time I finally had a chance to get back to them they told me she was more like her old self and she was laughing and talking to them.

The mobster called her and talked to her. He reported that she sounded better as well. Of course, as he acknowledged it’s a lot easier to fall apart on mom. He didn’t expect her to open up and fall apart on him. But he gave her a pep talk and let her know how worried I was and how worried her friends were.

One foot in front of the other. Tuesday will come one day.

For My Daughter… & My Son

Have you heard Kane Brown’s newest single? It’s called, “For My Daughter” and it’s his  promise to his daughter to be the dad he never had.

I’m not going to lie. I teared up a little bit listening to it. It tugs at the heartstrings. I hope he lives up to all of his promises. That little girl will be incredibly lucky.

I did like how he acknowledges that they say the past is supposed to shape you, but then goes on to say, “Well, I guess that’s up to me.” Far too often what we get are excuses instead of explanations. His father left him. He survived an abusive stepfather. He could easily shrug his shoulders and say, “What do you expect from me? I don’t know any different.” Instead, he tells his daughter, “I learned what not to do. I grew up without a dad. I’m gonna be the best one I can be.”

You know, when my daughter was born I remember Jerry Lee crying, his voice full of wonder as he said to me, “We have a daughter.” My friend reminded me of the story of all of us going out to dinner and him remaining focused on Rock Star the entire night. Apparently I said something to the effect of, “If nothing else I know he will always be a great dad to our children.” I honestly thought I had picked someone who would never abandon his children. Someone who wanted to give his own kids what his own father never gave him. Someone who wanted to coach Little League and teach them how to hit a baseball. Someone who would be there to cheer them on in whatever they chose to do. Someone who would want to spend time with them and create family memories. I thought he loved them.

Since I made such a colossal mistake in choosing a father for my children I’ve taken to re-writing the lyrics a bit. To both my daughter and my son:

They say dads are supposed to shape you, in a way I guess yours did.

You know what not to do if you ever have a kid

They say history repeats itself

Well, I guess that’s up to you

Yeah I’m sorry ’bout your dad

but I’m gonna be the best mom I can be.

That’s how I sing it now. Chin up, chitlins. You both know what not to do- from cheating on your partner to abandoning your kid. You can let this change you for the worse or you can tell him to suck it and be the best damn people you can be. Don’t let him win. It sucks to be abandoned and discarded by your dad, but your mama loves you. I’m going to do my best to make his absence go unnoticed. I’m going to love you both so hard you’ll hardly miss him. I’m going to do my best to make up for his failings.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

 

20191103_210250.jpgThis picture is the essence of who my daughter once was. It was taken just a few months after we moved from Virginia to Indiana. A few months after gymnastics was taken away from her forever.

She started gymnastics the first time around as soon as she turned three. It lasted about 3 months. The class tended to take place at the time she was just waking up from her nap and she was a beast upon waking. I decided it wasn’t worth it.

Fast forward almost a year. Her preschool class took a field trip to that gym. She loved it. I asked her if she’d like to take lessons again. She enthusiastically replied, “Yes!”

Her coach was a real cutie patootie. After she had gone through the entire program for kids her age it was time to decide if she wanted to sign up for some more recreational lessons, or if she wanted to start training for team gymnastics. I explained to her that if she wanted to do rec Chad wouldn’t be her coach any longer because he taught the preschool program and the team girls. She wanted to do team gymnastics.

“Do you want to do team gymnastics because you really like gymnastics, or because you really like Chad?” I asked her, knowing that participation on the team would require a much bigger commitment.

“I really like gymnastics,” she replied. “But I really like Chad, too,” she admitted.

That’s how we ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars on gymnastics over the years.

She made the transition from the gym in Michigan to the gym in Utah with a few tears. It was difficult starting over. Meeting new coaches. Getting used to them. Meeting new teammates.

She was at that gym for 8 years. She spent countless hours there. Gymnastics was her life. Her final three years in Utah she was an Optional. She was at the gym no less than 20 hours a week. In the summer it was 25. Her friends were her gymnastics teammates. Very few people outside of the gym permeated that friendship circle.

For eight years she lived and breathed gymnastics. She progressed from a little girl who couldn’t do a cartwheel, much less a back handspring to a young lady who was doing whips and fulls on floor, back tucks on beam, giants on bars and a Yurchenko on vault.

Then we took it all away from her. We moved to Virginia to a town that didn’t have a JO gymnastics program. They had high school gymnastics though and she dove into that. At one point she even did Excel, saying all she wanted to do was compete. But once again she was being asked to trust new coaches, only this time around the skills were a lot more challenging than a cartwheel.

That lasted for two years. We had to leave our home shortly after she found out she was being named co-captain for her high school gymnastics team. There was no high school gymnastics and I couldn’t afford competitive gymnastics any longer. It was over. Twelve years of gymnastics, over in the blink of an eye. Her love, her passion, was abruptly taken away. She never replaced it with anything else.

I love that picture of her. It captures who she was so perfectly. You could take gymnastics away from her but she would always find a way. She lost competitive gymnastics but embraced high school gymnastics. Then that was taken away from her when we moved from Virginia to Indiana. Yet, out there in a cornfield she used a log as a balance beam and leaped.

I feel like this picture represents something I can’t put into words. Perseverance? The ability to soldier on even when everything you care about has been taken from you? The ability to get back up when life knocks you down? A strong will? Loss? Refusing to be defeated? I don’t know.

What I do know is she loved this. It was her life. And now it’s over. Her father took it away from her to meet his own selfish needs.

Keep leaping, my beautiful girl. Keep dreaming and improvising.

P.S. She nailed the landing, in case you were wondering.

When You Feel Like You’ve Failed

I have days when I doubt everything I’ve done throughout this divorce. Was I right in cutting off communication and going no contact? Should I have eaten shit in the hopes that he would spend more time with his kids? Was I too open, too honest, with my kids? Should I have instead lied or hid the truth about what was really happening from them? Should I have pushed them more to have a relationship with their father? Should I have begged and pleaded for him to be more involved with his kids? Pushed Harley on them even though I didn’t want to? Hell, should I have made him his fucking spaghetti after that first night and carried on like normal so that the kids would have known it was fine for them to have a relationship with him? Hey, if Mom’s still making dinner for him and fixing his plate then we can surely go out to eat with him and have a fun time with him.

These thoughts have not come out of the blue. Rock Star was home a few weeks ago for Fall Break and on one of those nights she had a slight breakdown. She complains of constant stress and feeling like the weight of the world is on her shoulders. It’s hard to tell how much is drama and teenage angst and how much is real.

Some days it seems like she’s got the world by the tail and she’s so very happy and content. Then other days she seems to fall apart.

She didn’t get a “little” this year. Littles and bigs, they’re called. I suppose once upon a blue moon they were labeled big sis and little sis but now they’ve dropped words to make it easier to say. It’s like KFC and Dunkin’.

Earlier in the process she had complained that it was moving so quickly and that she didn’t really feel like she had a great connection with one specific person. Then came the reveal that she didn’t get picked to get a “little”.

She played it off like it was a relief because of all of her schoolwork but when she had her breakdown it all came tumbling down. She felt like she let her own “big” down. She felt like she wasn’t enough. I’m sure the rejection stung, although the reality was there were simply more girls available to be bigs than they had in the pledge class.

She thinks she’s stupid, too stupid to get into nursing school. I have been telling her for at least two years now that her cousin, the one who graduated a year ago as a nurse, isn’t one bit smarter than her. She had a 3.8 GPA in high school, for crying out loud! And yet she continues to say her grades are awful, they’re not good enough on their own to get her into nursing school and she knows she’s too stupid to pass the nursing school exam.

She’s always been a perfectionist, though. She has a 3.3 nursing GPA right now. I have had the conversation with her that goes something like this: I find it very hard to believe that only straight A students get into nursing school. The kids that aren’t getting in are the ones like the girl in your biology class that was rockin’ that 1.8 GPA.

When things calmed down I did suggest she go talk to her advisor because surely he or she could let her know what she needed in order to get into nursing school. Maybe the advisor can lay her concerns to rest. I also reminded her that she’s always been hard on herself and that her version of bad grades probably means she’s getting a B in something, which she did admit.

She told me her anxiety and depression are getting worse, despite being on medication. She says she doesn’t have much of an appetite and that she can make a single cup of coffee last for about four hours because she just can’t drink it that fast anymore.

And always there are the issues with her father.

I’d like to knock the shit out of any of those people who say that affairs are between two consenting adults, or who try to sell that bullshit that as long as you’re happy your kids will be okay. I’d like to run over the next person who dares utter the phrase, “Children are resilient.”

Yeah, they’re so fucking resilient that that evening when she was having her meltdown all I could do was think, “Oh God, please don’t let me get a call from the university informing me they’ve found my kid’s body after she’s committed suicide.”

Hey, her dad’s happy and that’s all that matters, right?

A little back story. My aforementioned niece, the nurse, just got married last month. My other niece, Queen Bee, was invited to be in the wedding. Rock Star was not. She’s been wanting to be in a wedding ever since her childhood best friend was in her sister’s wedding back when they were probably only 13 years old. Rock Star, Queen Bee, and Florence Nightingale have done almost everything as a trio throughout the years so I think it was yet another rejection.

Nonetheless she put on a brave facing, declaring it was no big deal and that she would undoubtedly be in a lot of weddings in the upcoming years because of her close ties with her sorority sisters.

Then came the big day. Florence Nightingale made the decision to walk up the aisle unaccompanied. But later that night at the reception there was the Father/Daughter dance.

I was keeping an eye on Rock Star and checking on her reaction. Nothing seemed amiss that evening but the night of her meltdown she told me she was bawling during it. In my defense I was across the room from her.

It hurts her to realize she will never have that. As she said, “My dad doesn’t care enough about me to do something like that for me.” At one point during the conversation she mentioned him abandoning her without saying a word, not loving her enough to stick around, and spending the last four years making her life a living hell.

I gave her the same speech I gave to her brother a little while ago.  He is your father. I understand if you want to have a relationship with him. You aren’t being disloyal to me by having a relationship with him.

“I don’t want to have a relationship with him!” she replied, still crying. There was something in there about him “making” me suicidal and how she couldn’t lose me. I stressed to her that I’m doing fine and that once I was away from him I no longer felt like that. Of course, that’s where the guilt kicks in again. Maybe I should never have opened my mouth. I’m too damn flippant sometimes. When I mentioned that in passing one time (and I don’t even remember what brought it up) she got a shocked look on her face but nothing else was said. I assured her at the time that I was fine and no longer felt like that. But in hindsight that was a terribly heavy burden to place on her and I’m sure the fear is always there that something else he will do will end with me wanting to end my life. He does have a habit of yanking the rug out from under us every six months to a year.

I’m pretty sure she went on to say that he was a horrible person and he continues to make everything about himself. Hmmm… that does sound familiar.

I think she’s between a rock and a hard place. She wants something she knows she can’t have. She wants to be a daddy’s girl, even though she never was even when we were together. She wants that close relationship but she realizes it’s never going to happen. He’s not that person. And ultimately she knows exactly what kind of a person he is and knows that’s not the type of person she wants in her life. Sure, he would walk her down the aisle. Hell, he’s already told her that he wants to do exactly that when the day comes.

I know I moved you 2000 miles across the country, away from the only friends you really remembered, and away from your true love, gymnastics, only to cheat on your mom and leave you all behind. I realize I put my own wants and desires and pursuit of happiness ahead of you and anything you might have needed as a young teen. I conned you into believing I suffered from PTSD so you would feel sorry for me. I moved out of our house and out of the state without saying a single word to you or your brother. Bummer that you had to move out of your new home and leave your new friends behind. I know I spent years whining about having to switch schools every year when I was younger, and I know I insisted we move when we did because I was supposedly so concerned about not moving you once you began high school but it turns out it doesn’t concern me at all that you had to switch high schools right as you began your junior year. I don’t care that you had to move in with your grandmother and don’t have a home of your own; I’m rocking that five bedroom home in the “most sought after subdivision”. I don’t care that you didn’t get your driver’s license when you were supposed to, thanks to me and Harley, or that your last two years of high school were awful. I’m not willing to help you out with college or to pay your medical insurance or help with your phone bill or your car insurance. But I want you to know it would mean the world to me to be able to walk you down that aisle on your wedding day.

Yeah, that about sums it up. He would be there with bells on if she asked him to be.

Unfortunately I don’t think that’s what she really wants. I think she wants him to want to have a relationship with her. She wants to know she’s loved and missed. She wants to be able to reject him and hurt him, the way he has hurt her these last four years. She wants to know she matters. Sadly, I think she knows that she doesn’t matter to her dad. He’s way too busy with his whore cousin and her kids.

He couldn’t be bothered to come to any of her events but he can put on a damn Cardinal t-shirt and support the whore’s daughter. Guess those crowds at the gym didn’t give him the heebie jeebies like he claimed they did when it came to Rock Star’s gymnastics. He couldn’t be bothered to send extra money so I could buy her a Homecoming dress only weeks after he was discovered. No, he was too busy spending $4400 on an engagement ring for his cousin that month; but two months later he could spend $300 on a dress for the whore’s daughter. He couldn’t buy his own daughter a car but he sent $500 to the whore so she could pay for repairs for her daughter’s vehicle. And on top of that, he made big promises about buying her a car as well. He was so busy buying the affection of Harley’s kids that he neglected his own. Just like he could make a 12 hour round trip drive to go see the whore every single weekend and yet the only time he has ever made the drive to see his own kid(s) was Rock Star’s graduation. I think that was solely so he could know the precise time to cut off child support for her.

Maybe it would be better if he would disappear altogether. Instead he randomly pops back up. He’ll send a text designed to elicit sympathy. He’ll say something negative about me. He’s always oh so sad and he always wants her to know he loves her to the moon and back.

She feels guilty about “being mean” to Tammy Faye, the person who engineered Jerry Lee and Harley’s hookup. She didn’t call her when she was dying. She feels like she’s a horrible person for not responding to her. There is always all this guilt heaped upon her.

I reminded her that aside from Facebook, and maybe one holiday card, Tammy Faye had never reached out to her. She never bothered to call or text after the very first episode when the kids found out, when she demanded to talk to her and then threw the phone on the ground as she walked off crying. It was all postings on Facebook about how she loved her so much and she was her flesh and blood. That’s not really all comforting considering she was crowing her unconditional love for her new “grandkids” as soon as Jerry Lee replaced us all.

Even if The Saint lied and Tammy Faye didn’t encourage Harley to call Jerry Lee she still had absolutely no problem with what they were doing. She went as the third wheel to a fucking funeral with the two dipshits, for crying out loud! She never told Rock Star she was sorry about everything that had happened or expressed any sympathy about everything she lost due to her father’s behavior. There was never an, “I’m sorry you didn’t get your license on time,” or “I’m sorry you had to move out of your house,” or “I’m sorry you have to move again and leave behind all of these new friends you’ve made.” Not a one of them know the hell she went through her last two years of school.

I reminded her that having boundaries wasn’t “mean”. She distanced herself for a reason. She really only had two choices. She could maintain her boundaries, which pretty much boils down to, “Anyone that doesn’t have a problem with what my dad did is not someone I want in my life,” or she can cave to the pressure. If she wants to pretend it’s all fine and that she has no problem with what her father did then that’s up to her.

Most recently she was invited to the Jackass family reunion (paternal side of the family). Oh, not by him. She was invited by his sister-in-law, the one I recently unfriended. “Why won’t they leave me alone?” she asked me.

The short answer would be: You’re still family. 

The slightly longer answer would be: They love you. You’ve never come right out and said to any of them, “Leave me alone!” or, “If you are okay with what my dad did I want nothing to do with you. When you support him and his whore, you’re not only supporting what he did to my mom, but what he did to me and my brother as well. You can’t tell me you love me and care about me when you don’t have a problem with what he did because his behavior has destroyed my life.”

I know the guilt should not be mine to bear. It should be his! But he’s totally oblivious. He never has to see her in pain. He never looks into her face when she is disappointed yet again. He is unaware of the stress and the struggles, the anxiety and the depression. He lives in a make-believe world where his happiness justifies everything.

I will always feel guilty when these things come up. When my child hurts, I hurt. And as always I am left wondering, “Was there anything else I could have done? Was there anything I could have done differently?”

Fortunately for me, the answer is always, “No, he’s an asshole. Nothing you could have done would have changed that.”

Radical Acceptance

There are many things that are going to pop into my mind over these next 26 days. I intend to write about most of them.

Today I was trying not to let myself steam over Jerry Lee’s newly self-modified spousal support. “You’ve turned it over to the state. You have to have faith that things will turn out in your favor. Judges don’t like it when people modify their orders (or a fellow judge’s).”

Yet, it still chaps my ass. For four months he played me like a violin. Acting like he was jobless and sending all that he could. I’m grateful for the crumbs he sends because it’s what keeps me from having to work a second job. When he’s finally confronted he doesn’t pony up and pay what he owes. Oh hell no! Instead he does some weird ass arithmetic and comes up with an off the wall calculation for what he is willing to pay. He sends that money each months and believes I should be grateful. He pays me almost $400 less than what he’s supposed to be paying, but I’m supposed to be thankful. And as always, I’m at a standstill. Waiting. Waiting for action to be taken.

“What does that all have to do with radical acceptance, Sam?” you may be asking. It was a comment on Facebook. I believe on Chump Lady’s Facebook page. The person who made the comment said you had to have radical acceptance. You had to accept that what once was was no longer, and you had to accept that this new life was now yours.

So I was just thinking about how he lives in his fancy little (well, okay, big) 5 bedroom house with an open floor plan and a fireplace in the most sought over subdivision in his town, while he doles out partial payments of his court ordered support. His life hasn’t taken a hit at all. He and Harley combined bring home, I would imagine, even more than what he made by himself. She’s living her best life ever with her new, well-paid husband. Her kids are living a life they’ve never dreamed of before while mine are mired in hell with a mother who is constantly worrying about money. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this some shit? Christmas of 2014 both of my kids woke to Mac Book Pros from Santa; they opened up another $300-$500 worth of gifts from us when we exchanged gifts before leaving to spend Christmas with my family. Four and a half years ago, in the summer of 2015, I was spending $57,000 to put an in-ground pool in my backyard. Today I’m donating plasma twice a week so that my kids can have Christmas.” How do you radically accept that?

Sophia’s words come back to haunt me. Her story of having to throw out every plan she had for her future after her accident and then learning to live and accept a different life has stuck with me.

Does radical acceptance mean I have to like it, though? I feel like I have minimally accepted it. I acknowledge and recognize that my children and I once lived an upper middle class, cushy lifestyle and now we don’t. It’s a cold hard fact. I simply do not have the cash to do the things with them that I did before. We don’t go to the places that we did. I don’t spend the money that I used to spend. I don’t have it. I can’t do it.

I acknowledge and recognize that by my former standards I’m poor. I live with my mother and I will never have a home to call my own again. I understand that. I hate it, but I have accepted that that is my fate.

Maybe it doesn’t need to be radical acceptance. Maybe it only needs to be acceptance. Maybe it’s small steps, like having to be okay with your daughter needing to take out loans to fund her entire college education because you know you can’t help her. Or, on a much smaller scale, realizing you can’t buy your kid a new computer.

Picasso recently charged up his laptop. I don’t know what he was doing with it but I’m sure it had something to do with downloading games on it. He let me know that his laptop is outdated and he can’t do the things he wanted to do on it. While I was out donating plasma so I could buy Christmas gifts he apparently was looking online to try to find an inexpensive gaming laptop (I’m told a gaming PC would be much more expensive). He found one for $580. Compared to the others which were over a thousand he did indeed find a deal. Unfortunately, that is more than the generous amount I have budgeted for him for Christmas.

Originally I felt bad about not being able to buy it. I twisted it around in my mind, trying to figure out how to make it work that I could get that for him. Naturally I went to the old standby: If his father hadn’t let his dick rule our lives I’d be able to buy him a new computer- no problem. And then I began to think, not outside the box, but beyond my comfort zone.

The first thought I had was that he simply wouldn’t get one. It’s too expensive, even at that great price. Sorry. No. I cannot afford it.

The second thought I had was that he could get a job and earn enough money to buy it himself. He’s 17 years old and he doesn’t work. He has a couple of after school activities that last a few hours but that’s it. He could get a job like his sister did and make some money of his own. He isn’t responsible for his phone bill. I’ll be paying his insurance when he finally starts to drive. He has no regular bills so anything he made would be his entirely. He could easily make enough over the summer to get the computer he wants.

The third thought I had was that I could buy him a few gifts and then give him cash. If he gets cash from his dad and his grandpa maybe he’ll have enough to buy it. If not, he’ll have a great head start.

There are certainly worse things in this world than having to work for something you want. I don’t know if that’s radical acceptance or not, but it’s all I’ve got for right now.

Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

Yes, that’s me. At least that’s the way I feel sometimes. This post is going to be a hodgepodge of every little thing that happens to pop into my head.

Big announcement! Next month I am pledging to publish a post every day! Some days that might mean I post a meme or a video or a recipe. Other days you might actually get a real post. I’m not promising they will all be stellar but I am promising they’ll be there on a daily basis.

I almost fainted donating plasma last week. That was new. I’ve never had anything even remotely like that happen before.

I was almost finished. I was reading a post on my phone when all of a sudden I couldn’t concentrate on it. I felt almost nauseous, in fact. So I put the phone down and focused on breathing. Then I got very restless. Next came not being able to focus on opening and closing my hand to get the blood pumping faster. Then the alarm on the machine started beeping. Apparently I was low flow. Someone came over and attempted to move the needle around but then noticed my face.

“Are you feeling ok?” she asked me.

“Actually I think I feel a little bit dizzy.”

“Yeah, you’re really pale. We’re going to stop this right now.”

They broke out the ice packs. I got one for my chest and one to put behind my neck. That was awesome! The nurse came over and spent the rest of my time with me.

I guess almost fainting makes me chatty. I told her my life story. OK, I just told her how I was saving up all my donation money for Christmas presents and then talked all about the mobster. and how we’re a long distance couple who meets up on the weekends.

Long story short we’re like besties now. Next time I went in she told me to have a safe trip and this last time I went in she asked me how it went and told me she had been thinking about me. Ah, the perks of almost fainting at the plasma center. Everyone remembers you!

Now for something sane. I finally unfriended my former sister-in-law, the one married to Jerry Lee’s brother. I’ve written about her before. She’s reached out a few times throughout the years. She asked for our address so she could send a Christmas card and she’s sent birthday messages for Picasso through me.

I’ve had her on my restricted friend list so she can’t see anything aside from my profile and cover photos, unless I make a post public. After she asked for my address and I gave it to her I felt a little weird knowing that she was probably sending a Christmas card to Jerry Lee and Harley as well. I brushed it aside though which wasn’t that hard to do since she doesn’t show up in my feed and she’s on my restricted list.

After reading her “Love you!” message to Harley after their move I decided to unfriend her entirely. I don’t need that kind of crap in my life. If you are fine with what the two of those miscreants did to me and my kids then you have no place in my life. Period.

After a rocky start to his first two years in high school Picasso is finally bringing home decent grades. I think it’s probably because i threatened him with a fate worse than death. He’s a very smart kid. But he’s lazy. He’s also one of those kids that has decided if he doesn’t like something or doesn’t understand the point of something he just doesn’t need to do it.

Take French, for example. He decided he hated the class and that since he wasn’t going to college he didn’t need it. Why he didn’t simply drop the damn class is beyond me but he got an F in it. An F! In French. That’s an easy A!

When I finally saw his grades and how abysmal they were I hit the roof. His first year he had one or two bad grades, which he attributed to bad teachers. Not everyone learns the same way. A teacher that may be great for one kid may be terrible for another. OK, you get a bye. His second year I kept asking him how it was going and he kept telling me it was fine. I never saw a report card until the very end. I ended up telling him that the only reason he was going to that particular school instead of his neighborhood school was because this one supposedly provided a better education. I told him that if he wasn’t going to take his education seriously that there was no point in everyone in the family going out of their way to drive him to school, pick him up when the bus failed to show, drive him to yet another school for after school activities, etc. I let him know that if he had a single grade below a B at parent teacher conferences he wouldn’t be going to another single after school activity. If he had anything less than a B for his first report card I was going to yank him out of that school and enroll him in the neighborhood school because, hey, if he didn’t care about his education then I wasn’t going to waste my time going out of my way for him. I also reminded him about our conversation when he first told me he didn’t want to go to college. I told him I would support him in whatever he decided to do but to keep his grades up so that he didn’t close any doors if he later changed his mind.

I know some might argue that was way too extreme. Others might be horrified that I would take such draconian measures. I say, “Whatever works!” Right now the boy has one B (in orchestra of all things! Yet another freakin’ easy A!) and the rest are A’s. I don’t drop the hammer often but when I do it gets results.

Another pleasant side effect, if you will, of our little Come To Jesus meeting was his agreement that he should be medicated for his anxiety. One of the reasons his grades were so bad was because he couldn’t bring himself to ask for help. He can talk to you if you speak to him. He can be social with his friends, or people he knows. But he can’t start the conversation and he can’t approach others.

Sadly, the nurse practitioner wanted him to try talk therapy first, so no medication at our first visit. He just recently went back for a vaccination and my mom talked to her about therapy and medication again. This time he mentioned it was getting to the point where he would feel sick to his stomach whenever he had to present something in front of the class. So, we’re finally getting a referral to a psychologist. I’m hopeful it won’t take six months like it did when we tried to get therapy for Rock Star.

I’m left wondering how much is hereditary and how much is the aftermath of his father’s total destruction of our lives and subsequent abandonment? On the bright side (at least for me) that sonofabitch is going to end up having to pay for it- at least 71% of it anyway.

My head hurts thinking about this. Let’s lighten the mood and talk about something completely frivolous and unimportant.

Pokemon Go is going well. I just leveled up to Level 36 yesterday morning. I need 2,000,000 points to get to Level 37. I’m not real worried about it. I have several friends who will quickly be “best” friends and I will get at least 100,000 points for each of them. If I’m smart I’ll have a lucky egg on when our friendship level increases so I’ll get 200,000 points for each of them. That gets me to about a million points right there.

I was in Virginia this past weekend, visiting the mobster. We, of course, played Pokemon Go. Saturday was the big Community Event, which we almost missed. Sunday we went to Roanoke. We didn’t know what exactly we were going to do but we went anyway. We played some more Pokemon and had lunch at a great little restaurant. We ended the meal with the most amazing tiramisu I have ever had. It was delicious. So much cream and custard.  We almost ordered a second one but I realized that would not be good for either of us.

Later that night as we were getting ready to leave we encountered some other people playing Pokemon Go. We ended up going on two Level 5 raids with them and some other people. We won both raids and we made some new friends.

It was the coolest thing! Usually I play alone. I’m only able to take on a Level 1 or 2 raid if I want to actually win. I’ve tried a Level 3 and am so close to winning but I’m just not able. When the mobster and I are together we can easily defeat a Level 3 Raid Boss but we got our butts kicked when we tried to take on a Level 4. Level 5 is completely out of range without some help. This time we had a whole group taking it on! The first raid was 8 people and the second raid had 12. So. Much. Fun.

Tootsie rolls are the best candy out there. They’re just the right amount of chocolate and the fact that they are chewy lets you enjoy them longer than a traditional candy bar. Chocolatey and chewy- the best combination out there.

I think we’ll end with my traumatic day today. I went for a walk on my morning break as I do most mornings. There is a little military park about a five minute walk from my building and it’s loaded with Pokemon stops. I was looking super cute with my black tights and long flowing flowery top. For once I wore a different pair of shoes… and that’s where this story starts to go wrong.

I was walking along, minding my own business, opening gifts from friends on Pokemon and giving gifts back when all of a sudden my feet no longer worked. I don’t know if I tripped over my own feet or slipped off my shoes. They were a slightly higher heel, maybe an inch and a half. I’m able to almost twist my ankle wearing perfectly flat loafers so this was probably not a wise choice for a brisk walk. Anyway, before I could say, “Help me, Jesus!” I was laying sprawled out on the concrete sidewalk. Thankfully I saved my phone. My hand and knee, however, got pretty banged up. I limped the rest of the way to the park. Called the mobster to cry on his shoulder. I walked it off. Literally. Returned to work and got cleaned up and bandaged.

I went to the bathroom an hour or so later. While pulling up my pants my hand slipped and smacked against the bathroom stall. Naturally it was the hand that was already scraped up. Turns out I’m really good at stifling the urge to yell, “Fuck!” when I’m at work and I know there’s someone in the stall beside me.

Later that day it was time for the flu shot. Our employer highly encourages them and because we have a new insurance incentive which necessitates earning 500 points AND getting a flu shot could earn you 20 points I got one this year.

My left arm was already sore from God only knows what and we didn’t have an option of which arm we wanted to use. Plus, I completely forgot about the flu shot when I was getting dressed. The men were unbuttoning their button down shirts. I was left pulling the arm of my shirt down so he could stab me which resulted in me showing off my lovely purple bra.

Thankfully it didn’t hurt much at all. Then again, I was still recovering from my earlier injuries.

I ended the day at the plasma center where once again I had a needle stuck in me. No fainting this time! Hooray! And even bigger hooray I made $68 tonight. I knew I got an extra $10 tonight because this was my second donation of the week, but I had forgotten this was my sixth donation of the month. That was an extra $20!

They do incentives each month. The first month I donated the full 8 times they paid out $20 extra for the 6th donation and $40 extra for the 8th donation. In September and October they paid out $20 extra for the 6th donation, $15 for the 7th, and $20 for the 8th. This month, in addition to that, they are doing customer appreciation and paying an extra $10 for the second donation of the week.

With all the little incentives I should earn over $100 next week donating.

I think that’s plenty of ramblings by a crazy woman. Maybe later I’ll write about the ramblings of a real crazy woman!

My Daughter’s Legacy

I come from a long line of women cheated on by their husbands. My grandfather cheated on, and left, my Mamaw after roughly twenty years of marriage, resulting in a nervous breakdown on her part. Ultimately, she ended up moving out of her home and out of the state, and in with her mother, where she lived until the day she died. My father cheated on my mother repeatedly, until finally she decided she didn’t want to end up like her mom- in her 40s, divorced, financially destitute, and living with her mom. She reasoned that eventually he would find one he would be willing to leave her for so she got out when she was in her early 30s- after affair #3.

I thought I had picked someone completely different from my own father. Turns out they had more in common than I realized. I ended up like my Mamaw- minus the nervous breakdown.

I often wonder what legacy I have left for my own daughter. Is she doomed to marry a man who will lie to her and cheat on her? That seems to be our pattern.

It’s no surprise, then, that the song, “Just Like Him” by Brandy Clark hit me hard the first time I listened to it.

He was kinda like Superman

Show up, save the day, disappear and then

We wouldn’t hear from him ’til Christmas

He was a whole lotta fun

Til he got one drink too drunk

A fight would start, he’d be breaking hearts and dishes

I used to say that I’d be damned

Before I’d ever fall in love with a man

Like the one Mama wasted her youth on

I wait up all night alone I feel like I’m six years old again

You’re just like him

Daddy had the bluest eyes

Kept my Mama hypnotized

Now I finally realize the reason

They say love’s like coming home

And I came from a broken one

So why am I surprised you’re always leaving

I used to say that I’d be damned before I’d ever fall in love with a man

Like the one Mama wasted her youth on

And I wait up all night alone I feel like I’m six years old again

You’re just like him

Promises all sound the same

Swear up and down you’re gonna change

And you never do

And I’m not that little kid

That’s why I can’t do this again

You’re just like him

Yeah, especially that part about wasting my youth on him. That always makes me pause.

I love the mobster with all my heart and I’m so very glad I met him. Yet I always feel a little tinge of sadness that we won’t have more time because we both wasted our youth on people who didn’t give a damn.

I had to listen to the song a few times before it hit me: She’s not repeating the cycle.

Promises all sound the same

Swear up and down you’re gonna change

And you never do

And I’m not that little kid

That’s why I can’t do this again

You’re just like him

She’s walking away. She learned from her mother’s mistakes. She knows he’s not going to change and she’s going to get out and save herself. Hallelujah!

A few days ago I was reading a post. The writer mentioned that her daughter declared love to be a crock of shit. She thought her daughter felt that way because her parents, who had been together for thirty years, were no longer together. He left for someone else.

That got me thinking. Is it a crock of shit, or do so many of us accept so very little and call it good?  The stories I read over on Chump Lady keep me shaking my head. Frequently I wonder, “Why do we accept this behavior? Why are we so willing to accept scraps and to cater to people who don’t deserve it?” There is story after story of people who give and give only to be dismissed as though they’re nothing. The mom that works full time, does all of the childcare, takes care of the home, does all the cooking and the shopping while her husband hangs out in his den and plays on the computer all night. The husband that sends his wife off on a girl’s weekend because she’s “confused” and “trying to work things out”, only to later find out he’s actually paid for her and her lover to go on a weekend getaway. The person who throws a surprise party for their partner’s big birthday, and doesn’t even get a card for their birthday in return. The person who carefully selects gifts every birthday, anniversary, and Christmas only to be given some token gift year after year. The person who remains at home taking care of the kids while their partner goes out drinking with their friends. I could go on and on.

This is the point where we should actively teach our kids about good relationships. I’ve long thought they should teach a class on that in high school. In between the dating violence and the liars and the cheaters and all these different dysfunctional relationships these kids need to be taught this shit isn’t normal. They need to be told what to look for and what to watch out for. Give them an example of what is good and what is bad, what is normal give and take and what is dysfunction that should never be tolerated.

To my own daughter I would say: Look for the one who reciprocates. Does he do sweet, kind things for you? Do your needs matter? Does he pay attention to what you like and what you dislike? Does he listen when you tell him stories? Does he even exhibit any interest in your life? Is he willing to take care of you when you’re sick or listen to you when you’re upset? Does he laugh at your jokes? Does he tell you you’re beautiful? Does he make you feel loved and cherished? Does he call you by your name? Is he considerate of you? If it’s important to you, is it important to him? Do you remember his birthday and important dates while he blows them off when it’s your turn? Does he value your opinion or is everything done his way?

Don’t confuse the above with love bombing. I’m not talking about the guy who comes in and sweeps you off your feet. I’m not talking about the guy who makes grand gestures and tells you that you are the most amazing person he’s ever met and he’s madly in love with you and his life would implode without you in it. I’m not talking about the guy who sends big bouquets of roses to work so everyone can see how wonderful he is (although I’m not opposed to getting flowers at work) or who buys you over the top gifts so everyone can be jealous of you. I’m talking about the guy who performs loving gestures. I’m talking about the guy who knows you love chocolate dipped strawberries so he’s willing to buy a carton of strawberries and melt some chocolate and dip those berries for you. I’m talking about the guy who will rub your back or cut your meat up for you (true freaking story!) if you ask him to. I’m talking about the guy who will make you breakfast or wash out your shitty jeans or butter your roll for you. I’m talking about the guy who knows you love polar bears so when he sees one he picks it up for you because he knows you love them and it will make you happy.

Stay away from the ones who take and take and take and never give back. Don’t ever make your needs smaller and smaller while you try to fill an endless void that can never be filled. You will be pick me dancing for the rest of your life if you do that because they will always demand more while giving back nothing.

Along that same line run from the ones who keep changing the goal posts. There are some people out there who will never be happy. There are some people who will always find something to complain about. Don’t make it your mission to change that. You won’t succeed. They will only bring you down with them. Leave them to wallow in their misery.

Keep in mind dating should be fun. It’s a time to figure out what you want. So if he’s already lying to you or cheating on you, breaking plans with you, talking down to you, breaking up with you numerous times and then getting back together, or doing any number of things you don’t like during your early dating stage, it’s not going to get better. That’s as good as it gets. You deserve someone who adores you, and in turn you should adore him.

Watch out for red flags, and when you see one don’t spackle. No, it’s not normal for him to blow you off to spend every weekend with his friends. No, it’s not normal for him to have female friends that either he doesn’t want to introduce you to, or who don’t like you. No, it’s not normal for him to tell you that particular outfit makes you look like a slut and it’s not normal for him to be obsessively jealous if you have male friends or have a regular conversation with someone. No, it’s not normal to sleep with your ex a few weeks after the two of you start dating. No, it’s not normal to call you names and say hateful things. No, it’s not normal to do almost nothing together as a couple. No, it’s not normal or okay if you plan something special for his birthday, or a weekend away, or do your best to make holidays or other occasions special, while he does nothing in return for you. Those are red flags, honey. Don’t. Spackle. Over. This. Behavior.

This is an oldie but a goodie. Anytime you find yourself thinking, “Life would be so much easier if he just died,” that’s a bad sign. It’s another big red flag. Get out. Save yourself. Similarly, if you find yourself recording messages for your friends and loved ones for after they find your body, that’s another big sign your relationship is failing and you need to get out.

Words and cards are nice, but actions are much more important. As the old saying goes, “Don’t listen to his words; watch what he does.” If he’s telling you he loves you and you’re the best thing ever but he’s sleeping with other women, doesn’t take your feelings into consideration, and/or mistreats you, he doesn’t love you. This is not a good relationship.

Don’t ever be so desperate for the fairytale that you’re willing to put up with endless amounts of shit.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and to say what you really feel, what you really want. If you’re afraid you’re going to rock the boat and he’ll be out of here then he’s not the guy for you. You can’t have a satisfying relationship if you always have to shut up and pretend everything is fine.

The cool wife/girlfriend is usually the one that gets cheated on. Stories abound of people who didn’t want to make a big deal out of their partner meeting up with an ex for dinner while they weren’t invited to join in, or going out with or texting opposite member friends, or co-workers.  There is no reward for being a doormat. Only more and more abuse.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask yourself this question: Is this relationship acceptable to me? You matter. Your needs matter. It’s not a license to act like a crazy, entitled person, but please, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t sacrifice yourself for a relationship that is unworthy of you. If the relationship is not acceptable to you you have every right to end that relationship.

Draw boundaries. Rock solid ones. Boundaries are not a bad thing. Get it out of your head that they are, or that you’re unreasonable for having them. If your partner repeatedly violates those boundaries they are not a good partner. Recognize that. Do something about it. And by “do something” I mean leave. Find the courage and have the self respect needed to get out of a bad situation. It will never improve. When people realize they can treat you badly they don’t ever change. Not without fear of very serious consequences, and even then, that change may only be temporary.

Make yourself a list of things you want in a partner. Then make another list of deal breakers. Refer to those lists often. Don’t be afraid to end a relationship if you discover this person falls short of your list, or if one or more of his behaviors is on the deal breakers list. Obviously I’m not talking about the more superficial traits, like hair and eye color, height, occupation, etc. But if loving animals or wanting children or having a relationship with God is important to you, then it’s probably not going to be a good fit for you if you end up with someone who can’t stand animal hair, doesn’t want kids, and thinks religion is a crock of shit. Similarly, if you want someone who is faithful, dating someone who wants to be in an open relationship, or who fucks around on you behind your back early on in the relationship, is not a smart move. Again, refer to your two lists. Far better to end things early on in the relationship as opposed to investing years in someone who will only make you miserable.

If he sucks the joy out of life, he’s not a good match. Be with someone who brings joy to your life. Be with the one who makes everything fun, who brings out the best in you, who ignites your sense of adventure and your childlike wonder.

Don’t mistake good sex for a good relationship. There are people out there that would fuck a snake if someone would hold its head down. Those people don’t actually care about anyone; they only care about whether or not you’re useful to them. Don’t be useful to a person like that.

My darling daughter, find someone who adores you. Find that person who wants to please you, just as much as you want to please him. Find that person who loves you back just as hard as you love them. Don’t settle for a barbed wire monkey because you’re afraid. I know ending a relationship is hard. Staying with a person who doesn’t respect you will end up being infinitely more difficult.

Find that person who brings out the best in you. That’s the person you want to be with. Find the person who makes you laugh, and lose the one that makes you cry.  As that saying goes: Find a man who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara.

And again I tell you, because it is so important, don’t ever make your needs smaller and smaller while you cater to someone who continues to demand more and more, appreciating none of your efforts. You want the man who thinks you’re worth the effort. You want the man who sees your needs and says, “Challenge accepted!”

Don’t be me, the person married to your father, the person who wasted her youth on someone who didn’t deserve it. Break this cycle. Demand more. Expect more. You are worth it. I was worth it. Thankfully, I know that now.

My Mom Made Me Write This

My mother has a problem with me calling Harley’s kids “mulligans”. They are innocent children, she tells me. They have done nothing. It is not their fault their mother is a whore. She wants me to stop calling them mulligans. She thinks it’s derogatory. Actually, she thought it was synonymous with hooligan.

In response I told her that calling them mulligans had nothing to do with them personally; it has to do with what they represent to CF. I’m not using the term to insult them; I’m using it to throw shade at him.

Mulligan- a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or blunder.

…when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action.

A do-over.

The term is now widely used to describe any “do-over” or second chance after initial failure.

I don’t refer to them as such to be cruel. They represent CF’s second chance, his “do over”, if you will. He gets to pretend like his first two children don’t exist. He gets to pretend like he’s daddy of the year. I’m using a term to describe what they are to him.

Perhaps it is cruel. I prefer to think of it as flippant. “Hey! How are those replacement kids working out for ya, CF?” Mulligan is easier to type. 

But to appease my mother I will do my best to not refer to them as such. They are, after all, innocent children who have a whore for a mother and have to live with CF. They’ve got enough on their plate.

No Thank You

I am doing my best to raise polite children. I remember one year at Halloween I was coaching Picasso on what to do and say at the houses when he stopped for candy. I stressed the importance of saying, “Thank you,” and using his manners. I thought we were all set.

When he went up to one of the houses the occupant was apparently offering up something he did not wish to have. I heard, “No, thank you. I don’t like that,” before he turned around and walked back to me.

He was polite about it. I must give him points for that. And assertive. Definitely not afraid to speak up.

Now, maybe a good 10 years later he has received a birthday card and a check from his father. My mom took him to cash it last week and I believe he has spent the majority, if not all, of the money.

I know I write a lot about not propping up the other parent, validating your kid’s feelings about said parent, and not bullshitting them. I try very hard to walk that line between letting him vent and allowing him to have the relationship he wants with his dad.

The other night I texted him his dad’s contact information. I told him he needed to at least acknowledge the fact he had received the card, and thank him for the check.

First he asked why. I told him it was because I was raising him to be a polite young man with impeccable manners and not a flaming asshole.

He flat out refused. He said, and I quote, “I refuse to talk to him.”

At that point I told him I was not arguing about this with him. I told him to send him a thank you and to get on with his night. I told him it wasn’t about his dad. It was about him and showing that he had manners and that I wasn’t dropping the ball in raising him.

That’s probably not the best reason to give, is it?

He compromised. He agreed to tell him he received the card and check, but warned that was as far as he would go.

Later he came out and talked to me. I again told him it wasn’t about his dad; it was about being polite and doing the right thing. I told him his dad had sent him a check and he should thank him for that.

His counterpoint was that if he started acting like a father maybe he would be more willing to thank him. I believe he referred to his dad sending him a card and a check as the bare minimum. Personally, I think sending a card would have been a bare minimum, but I digress.

He followed up his counterpoint with: Yeah, he sent me $100. And how much does he still owe you?

Fair enough, although I do think the two things are separate issues.

The other issue for him is he does not want his dad having his phone number. I guess I could have him write a note.

I’m torn. On one hand I still believe in thanking a person when they’ve given a gift. I really think you should send a hand written note, but if nothing else, send a damn text acknowledging it. On the other hand I think Picasso makes some good points.

His dad has not behaved as a dad. He calls him by his name instead of referring to him as “Dad”. His card and gift were late. He’s failed to even acknowledge his birthday before. Picasso feels as though his dad spent almost a year gas lighting all of us so he could claim PTSD and get out of paying child and spousal support. He doesn’t trust him. He doesn’t believe anything he says.

I don’t remember if I shared this, but shortly before Father’s Day he was out buying a birthday gift for his sister when he happened upon a bunch of Father’s Day shirts. He had my mom take a picture of one that said, “This Is What a Cool Dad Looks Like” and told her he should get that for the mobster. Then a devious thought occurred and instead he said, “No! I should give that to the mobster and take a picture of the two of us together and then send that picture to CF.”

I’m thinking that if he had done that he probably wouldn’t have received a birthday gift. Then this whole, “Should he send a thank you note/text or not?” saga would not exist.

On a lighter note, Picasso didn’t seem to notice his dad got new checks. New checks that make it quite obvious he and the cousin whore are married now. They are cutesy country style checks and read CF & Harley Buttwipe.

Wow- he must feel super special. She hyphenated her name when she married her first husband. I don’t know if she just loves CF so much she only wants the world to acknowledge her married name, or if he threw the same little tantrum he threw when I suggested hyphenating my nam. Hey, Romeo, it’s not going to stop her from fucking other men. It’s what she does.

To my knowledge he still has not told either of the kids he married her so I was a little worried about how Picasso would react upon realizing his dad had gotten married and never bothered to tell him or Rock Star. He’s Father of the Fucking Year material, I tell ya!