Received a text this morning and it instantly caused my blood pressure to rise. The text itself was completely reasonable; nothing abnormal was requested and the words were chosen to avoid conflict. Yet, my initial reaction, an emotional reaction, did not match.
My mind immediately went to the “who” decided to gift theme park tickets, tickets are not cheap so that is a decent gift – not typically one made by just a friend. Then it was “what” theme park, was it really too hard to say? Finally, “when” … Friday … a school day? This couldn’t have happened on Mother’s Day? or the weekend prior? You have to take the kids out of school – for a theme park? Expires this week, have you been sitting on them a while? … and didn’t you just go to a theme park this past Sunday?
The mind is an annoying creature, one that can be overridden by the heart at seemingly anytime. This stupid little text, that moment when our worlds collide, is the hardest part of the co-parenting relationship. It charted a path right through all the minefields left behind as the worlds separated, and preyed on the fears and anxieties of the absent parent.
While everything that needed to be said was stated, I queued on all the things that were not. The key elements on who and where were specifically left out, which only leads my mind to wonder. Of course, it could all be simple stuff … grandparents or tickets not used and passed along … possibly it just felt too complicated to say. However, the absence was noted.
Then the core of it hits, the jealousy. I hate missing out on their adventures, and to be truthful I still hate taking adventures with the boys without her. I always had that notion of family, we did things together. When the boys were young I did not want her taking the boys to Disney during the week … without me. I did not want to miss out on being there … with them. My biggest fears throughout the divorce was another guy stepping in as “Dad” to complete the family on such outings. I easily saw my place in their life lost to the lights, sounds, and excitement of the moment. My role slowly being eroded away as someone new steps in … my mind wanders …
Back in reality, I know the kids would much prefer that I joined them, and I have come to understand that there is no one that can replace me – I can only give my role up, and THAT AIN’T HAPPENING!. The boys will love to take me on an adventure there at some point in time, and share there favorite rides. We have had, and will have plenty of adventures. They should get some adventures with their mother. She can choose when she wants to pull them out of school for a “fun day” … and I should just take notes.
So, instead of responding in that moment I let it sit with me all day. I let the emotions run their course. Yes, I have concerns, but none really valid. Yes, I have questions, but non I really have a right to ask. And, yes, this is the way the world works, but I do have a choice … so I can choose to be confrontational, or I can choose to start working towards a better relationship with her. One day…