Thursday, August 9, 2012

WTF Friday?

Tonight's cocktail is an emergency concoction - I was actually happily sipping iced tea when I had an exchange with Tweak on the phone that drove me to mix a cocktail. If memory serves, I diced up some leftover cucumber slices and muddled them very forcefully with some sugar and lime, squeezed in some fresh grated ginger from a tube I found in the produce section and need to finish before it expires, tossed in 3 oz vodka and 1/2 oz ginger liqueur (I'm addicted to it), shook, poured, and it's delicious.

This is an emergency post - hence the fire extinguisher.
As I mentioned in my It's OK Thursday post earlier, tomorrow (now today for most of you reading) would have been my 15th wedding anniversary. I have been trying not to think about it, because if I wallow in that Patty Griffin song anymore, my friends are going to stage an intervention.

Because I had Tweak and Tink for a big chunk of time for vacation last week, they've been with their dad for a few days straight. We talk on the phone every night when we're not together, and I was enjoying hearing about Tink's loose tooth, the awesomeness of the U.S. women winning gold in soccer (at one point while describing it, Tink reached a frequency only dogs could hear), and how much Tweak was enjoying Space Explorer camp.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Tweak said, "Mommy, it's your and Daddy's anniversary tomorrow! Please have Shabbat dinner with us! We'll have a surprise for you!"

I had to sit down. I hadn't told them it would have been our anniversary. I have been clear with the kids that although their dad and I are friends and respect each other and are raising them together as a team, we are not going to get back together. I know from reading about children from divorced families that reconciliation is a fantasy that many carry even into adulthood. While I hate to tell my children things they don't want to hear, it's important to be truthful with them.

At the same time, we do periodically do things together as a foursome. Holiday celebrations, sports events, dance recitals, scout outings, and sometimes just logistics dictate that we spend time together as a family. I'm OK with that. The focus is on the kids, who we both love beyond all reason, and they need to see us having positive interactions so that they don't feel pressured to take sides. My ex is smart, funny, and a good conversationalist. It has been so long since we separated that usually it isn't even awkward anymore. We'd discussed earlier today that we would have Shabbat dinner together tomorrow night because I can't take the kids for the night as I normally would due to work obligations on Saturday morning.

But now this. I e-mailed my ex to ask why (in the hell) Tweak knew it was our anniversary (I don't even remember exactly the date of my own parents' anniversary, and they're still married!), and telling him what Tweak said. He said that he'd mentioned it in passing while Tweak was reading dates off a calendar, and he had no idea Tweak would even make a note of it, much less try to do anything to commemorate it.

Setting aside the fact that he should have known better than to mention it in the first place, what (in the hell) do I do? Do I show up and endure whatever the kids come up with? Do I indicate that it isn't appropriate to do anything for the anniversary of people who are no longer married? Do I beg out of having dinner with my children even though I desperately want to see them? I have all of tomorrow to develop a game plan, but I think the first duty lies with the ex to manage their expectations. Unfortunately, I don't think I can count on that.

Perhaps this does qualify for Throat-Punch Thursday, or by now would that be WTF Friday?

6 comments:

  1. I would tell Tweak and Tink, before the dinner commences, that celebrating a non-anniversary is inappropriate, but you so appreciate their thinking of you.

    My question is, who showed them The Parent Trap? ;)

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    Replies
    1. That's a good idea - I think that will work. Re: The Parent Trap, I know, right? I truly hate when Hollywood portrays divorce in such simplistic terms and implies that divorced parents could get back together if the kids do just the right things - it's hard enough convincing them that the divorce wasn't about them. Even recently, we saw Mr. Popper's Penguins, and the divorced parents got back together. Not helpful.

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    2. ...and then there's Liar Liar! We should make a list of inappropriately-easy-reconciliation movies in which Cute Kids are directly involved. (Perhaps there's an acronym in there somewhere.) A Warning List.

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  2. My parents split in my mid-20s, and even as a young (and now older) adult, there are aspects of their marriage/relationship that have emotional significance for me, even though my parents don't feel that way. (Both are in committed, long-term relationships with other people.) It really bothered me when my mom, in particular, tried to dismiss my feelings of grief for the family structure that was no more.

    Is there a way to acknowledge that this day is important to Tweak and Tink (they wouldn't be here without your marriage) while being really clear that it's not something that you and the ex celebrate anymore?

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    Replies
    1. It's a delicate dance - I want to acknowledge their feelings without encouraging them to expect a reconciliation that will never happen. I appreciate this perspective. I think I am going to say something to that effect, then tell them there's ice cream for dessert to create a distraction. When in doubt, redirect.

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    2. I like your thinking! I wish my mom would have tried ice cream instead of (summarizing) "get over it." I hope all went well last night!

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