The entire summer is a weird time for me in many ways. If I let it it could serve as one long trigger until September or later.
I know I have shared before about how I do like Facebook. I don’t post nearly as much as I used to, and I’m finding recently I’m not even on it reading quite as much, but I like it. I generally like seeing the memories that pop up. I get to relive cute stories about my kids, see what I was up to years ago, look at the pictures of my kids over the years, and recall all the fantastic trips I’ve taken and places I’ve been.
The summer though… it can be a bitch.
On one hand I see pictures of me with my kids and visiting family as we go to amusement parks, Yellowstone, Moab, water parks, etc. There we are hiking. There we are camping. Oh look how little the kids were! Queen B towers over Rock Star and all four kids are little stair steps in height. There we are celebrating the kids’ birthdays- parties and/or dinners out. There we are at the roller skating rink with the rubber nose that you squeezed and slime came out of it. There we are bowling. There’s the video of Rock Star and her teammates as the Hummer limousine pulled into the parking lot to take them to the reservoir for her party.
On the other hand there is the picture of us on the plane, getting ready to fly to Virginia to pick out a new house. There is my post about all of our lasts in Utah. There is my post about my trip from hell getting to Virginia. Oh, four years ago today we spent our first night in the new house. Look at those pictures from your vacation in Florida or your trip back out to Utah to visit friends. You had no idea your husband was in the middle of an affair and was planning on leaving you. There you are with M, the morning you left to head back to Virginia; you told the story of how the two of you met and how in a wonderful twist she was moving to Virginia, too, and you would only be three hours apart instead of 30. Too bad you didn’t realize you had been replaced and would be moving again in a year.
Every time I see those pictures of our last days in Utah back in 2014 I want to shout to that woman: Don’t go! Don’t leave! It’s a trap. He’s taking you away from all of your friends; he’s moving you closer to his mistress. He’s going to start cheating on you less than a year after you and the kids move out there. Don’t do it! Stay there!
When I see the pictures of the kids and I back in the summer of 2015 I sadly shake my head because I was so stupid, so blind. I had no idea what was coming. I can’t say I was ignorant and happy because he had amped up the crazy by that point, but I had no idea my life was about to be obliterated. There I am smiling at the camera, happy to be eating French toast at Kneader’s once again, or enjoying the beach down in Florida, and my husband is plotting against me. He’s sending his whore money and I have no idea.
The memories that crop up on June 10th, August 10th and August 14th are a little bit trickier. Sometimes I read those or see the pictures, and I think, “You had no idea how your life was about to change.” Other times, like when I see the new pictures of the mobster with me, or I know one of the pictures this year will be the freedom cake I brought in to work last year, I smile and think to myself, “It’s just another day.”
The most heartbreaking photos though are of my kids, back in the summer of 2014. The first one is of Picasso surrounded by his posse of friends. We lived in Utah. It’s a law everyone has to have four kids. I regularly had between 3 and 6 more boys in my house than I had given birth to. They spent a lot of time together. They were huddled around each other, hugging in a circle.
I know leaving Utah hurt Picasso. He cried. He didn’t think he would ever make new friends. He was a nervous wreck the night before his first day of school. He spent many months hating it there. Just as he was beginning to find his footing we had to move again.
The second picture is one that doesn’t even belong to me. It was my daughter’s and I saw it shared by one of her friends. It was the entire optional team posing one last time with Rock Star as she said her goodbyes and thanked everyone for the memories.
Gymnastics was her life. I remember all the drop offs and pickups. The way they would yell, “Bye! I love you!” to one another as they climbed into their parents’ cars and went home. I remember all the different get togethers we did as a team. The away meets and all the fun we had with those. Rock Star spent so much time in the gym that it was pretty much the only life she knew. The guest list at her birthday parties after 4th or 5th grade included her best friend from the neighborhood, and her teammates. That was it. No other classmates or girls from the neighborhood. Those girls were her friends, and they became more like family.
I see those pictures and I want to cry. Those pictures represent everything Rock Star and Picasso gave up. They were promised a better life, a fantastic future. What did they get? A father who abandoned them and left them to survive on their own, with a mom who hadn’t worked in years. They gave up their friends and their passions all so their dad could get closer to his mistress.
Those memories are extremely painful, even to this day. I don’t think there will ever come a day that I won’t mourn what was stolen from my children. I could accept it if they had a new life that was so much better, but they didn’t get that. They were teased with new, bigger bedrooms, their own bathrooms, a pool, a game room, and the promise of a media room. They were promised a better life. “This move will secure our future so that we can provide better for you,” they were told.
They didn’t get that better life. They sure as hell didn’t get a more secure future. Our cross country move was always about CF and what he wanted. They were collateral damage.
I look at all of those pictures and all of those posts now and I realize what a farce my life actually was. Was any of it real? Was I skating across thin ice the entire time? Was I off living my life, thinking things were fantastic and we were so blessed when the reality was my husband was planning his exit the entire time? I naively thought my kids were going to be well provided for always; they would have everything I didn’t have growing up. It turned out to be an illusion.
I’m not sure if I should say, “Thanks for the memories,” as I grow teary eyed looking at what was, and what will never be again. Or, if I should instead say, “Thanks for the reality check. My life was never real. Too bad I didn’t know it back then.”