I should have guessed.... 13 is the day of my wedding anniversary. 13 is the day in July I fatefully put The Sign on my lawn and became the Scorned Woman Heard Around The World.... lol.
Today is the 13th day in a row that we have not heard from El Capitan. And today..... today sucked. I hesitate wihat to post..... I've put a lot of thought into today post. Not to say that I don't usually put a good deal of thought into my posts: I do. I really do - it's just that I usually write them late at night and I'm not at my 'editing best'. Sorry about that..... lol
Today though..... it's almost enough for *three* blog posts... and frankly, it's so awful, I'm afraid that after writing it, many of you might call 'bullsh*t' on it and think it's untrue.
Sadly... sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
However, I've always been honest. Perhaps to a fault.... but I have. So... here goes.
This morning I woke up having one of those nights when you have those oddly vivid dreams, the kind where you wake up and wait for a second for your head to clear and realize it was just a dream. The Girl was awake and asking for me to turn on the TV.... I got up and got ready to go to the gym (bag was packed last night - booyah!).
When I cam back into the room, The Boy was still snuggled under the covers and had some tears on hise nose. I wiped them away, but didn't think anything about it at first: just dewy eyes first thing in the morning.
The Boy sat up and said, "Do you know why I'm crying today, Mommy?"
Umm.... you were crying, I thought to myself? "No - honey - why?"
"I had a dream and in my dream I was in the stump at the tree's with the animals [at The Great Wolf Lodge - they have a giant tree, a tree stump where a lost little boy finds the animals and they teach him songs about not being scared] - and I had run away from Daddy." He explained.
"Oh.... okay.... what were you doing in the stump?" I asked.
"I was hiding from Dad - but then he found me and I told him that we were best buddies anymore because you used to take me to the store, to buy corn dogs and jojo's [the french fries in the deli], and chocolate milk and....." and while The Boy was listing off these items he extended one hand and one finger at a time - ticking them off one by one.
"But now he doesn't take me anymore.... so we're not best buddies - and that made me sad and I was crying in my dream and not in my dream I was crying too... because I miss Dad." The Boy went on to explain.
I sat there for a moment, kind of taking it all in.... he was so clearly processing things in his own terms - because while their Dad does come to see them - he does *not* do the things he used to with them. The simple, every day things that they always did together (like going to Safeway to get dinner from the Deli - which they did so often, the people there knew him by name and The Boy had a pretty special bond with one of the cashiers) - and I was shocked that The Boy was relating to that and talking about not having that.
I didn't really know what to say ..... I wasn't sure how to respond because it was a dream - but a dream based on his reality - but, I was in murky waters and didn't want to say the wrong thing. So, I said, "I'm sorry that you feel that way, is there something I can do to help?"
"No Mom!", which he said rather incredulously - as though I wasn't getting his point - and he went on, "I told Dad how I felt at the tree stump, but he didn't care... he just went on his way and started disco dancing with a giraffe."
I sat on the edge of the bed, both equally sad that my son feels this way at the tender age of seven about his father - and wondering where the hell he learned about disco dancing? And why was his Dad 'disco dancing' with a giraffe? I left my questions about the later off the table and asked him again, what I could do to make things better for him.
"Nothing Mom.... I'm just sad that I don't have a best buddy anymore." The Boy stated rather matter of factly as he walked out the bedroom door.
Conversation over. This is how conversations work with young children. They say these insanely heartbreaking, mind blowing things - and then they just kind of walk away. At least that's how it is with The Boy..
So this brought things to an all new level for me. Lots of people - El Capitans friends and some of the blog readers seem to think that *I* am influencing how my son feels or thinks. *THIS* is a shinning example of The Boy processing his own emotions - and his own, personal, deep thoughts about his Father - on his own terms. I was... stunned.
I certainly haven't walked around the house talking about how they "don't go to Safeway" anymore or any such thing. In fact... I'll be honest: I never thought about it.
For the past several years, El Capitan would take them up to Safeway to the Deli for lunch or "snacks' - it was kind of one of the things they always did with their Dad. A bit of a 'tradition' I guess.
It makes sense to me that The Boy would think about this and miss this - but, prior to the past 13 days, El Capitan *did* take them places: the Zoo, the mall, the park, etc. So, I hadn't put any value on the "where" so much as they were spending time together. Clearly, The Boy feels differently.
The Boy, based on our conversation this morning, *is* missing the 'usual' things they used to do with their Dad. He's putting value on their loss and he's processing it to mean that he no longer has a "best friend" in his Dad. That's some heavy sh*t...... and here I thought *I* had had a bad dream last night.
I - because I'm smart and nine months into this insanity I've learned a thing or two - and whenever any conversation around me starts to get deep or weird or... anything I think I want to listen to and think about later, I grab my cell phone and his record.
So, for the record: I have The Boy telling me this crazy dream on tape.
Which is a good thing because I listened to it twice more, this time trying to listen for any details I missed. I sat and thought for a long time about what it mean... and while I can't make heads or tails of disco dancing or giraffe's - one thing I *didn't* hear was the usual things the books warn you to listen for when talking to kids.... things like, "if I was better... faster... smarter... if I try harder - Dad/Mom will come home... love me... be with us again."
There was none of that. Instead, what I heard was *my* son telling his Father that they were no longer friends and that his Father had let him down. Even in his dream - The Boy has already decided that his Dad is walking away from him.
Listen up people: there is NO WAY ON EARTH I could have taught him this. You know? He's not repeating back to me adult conversations or adult ideals that he's overheard.... these are *his* thoughts and his inner most feelings about his deteriorating relationship with his Dad. And I'll be *totally* honest.... I think I would actually almost prefer it if those weren't his thoughts... seriously.
My heart is broken for him. Into a million pieces. Would it not be better that he just hear and repeat those things the books say they *aren't* supposed to hear... the "your Dad is an assh*le" or the "your Dad is a deadbeat with a wh*re for a girlfriend"... or the other things the books say you're never supposed to say around your kids.
For the record: I do *not* say those things. Period.
However, wouldn't it be easier if the Boy *did* grow up with those kinds of "opinions" - like then he could just forgive his Dad and write me off as a b*tch.... right?
Of course I don't want him to feel that way about me... but, I worry about how his relationship with his Father can recover from this whole entire mess if *these* are the kinds of dreams that The Boy is having.
Good news.... The Boy - it seems - is not blaming himself for his father leaving. This... if it's true, is a *HUGE* win for any child of a divorce. However, it's a win that comes at the cost of a broken heart... and that's bad news.
So the day was off to a bizarre and rough start..... I waited all day for the phone to ring, certain that El Capitan is not going to let 14 days come before he makes contact. He's never done that before... we've come close - well over a week in the past but never two weeks. It's happened more than once.... but never for this long.
I waited and waited..... and at 5:00, the phone did ring, but it wasn't El Capitan: it was the storage unit.
The man at the desk informed me that the unit I had rented for El Capitan was "scheduled" to be vacated on 12.31, but that the lock was still on the door. Legally - they have to notify by phone, then in writing, before they send the locker up for auction.
I drove over there, and we went to the locker. We had to open it - because if it was empty - they take off the lock and we're done. If it's *not* empty, then someone has to pay the bill or the property stays inside and get's auctioned. At two days past the due date, you cannot remove the property.
So, the door opens and at first I don't recognize all the contents. It's been re-organized since I carefully put El Capitan's stuff in it the day I rented it for him and moved his property into it. (Because he never came for his stuff when we had to move out of the house.) Now, however... there is a doll house that doesn't belong to The Girl, a rocking chair and ottoman to match, boxes from Crate & Barrel....
F*ck me. It's not just El Capitan's stuff in the locker *I* rented and pre-paid three months on - nope.... it's Yoga Girl's crap, too. Awesome. Just.... fanf*ckingtastic.
So the man asks me what I want to do. Inside the locker, nestled alongside El Capitan's Simpsons collection - the one I re-packaged and cleaned one by one wearing gloves because a family of mice had gotten into the original box and sh*t all over them...... but I cleaned them and repacked them.... and there they were alongside a collection of dishes I'd never seen, resting on a rocking chair I never rocked my children in.....
I noticed something on the floor, small and white and under the boxes, at the feet of the rocking chair. I pick it up and turn it over...... it's a picture.
It's not just any picture - it's a picture of The Boy.
After 29 hours of failed labor, (because of what happened in the Vagina Monologue in The Book) - I ended up having an emergency c-section and The Boy wound up in the NICU for three days. He was six days old when I took him to my friends studio in Portland (one of the very best) - and my friend was nice enough to humor a hysterical new Mom who wanted as many photos of her baby as possible and we spent hours there. When we were done taking pictures, my photographer friend was burning us CD's and in the meantime, he printed our favorite photo as a page of wallets on his very expensive photo printer.
El Capitan cut one out and put it in his wallet right then and there. The rest are still apart of their sheet and in The Boy's baby book.
Standing in front of the storage unit, looking at some of my husbands prized collections of Simpsons and DVD's and video games all intermingling with HER stuff..... and discarded on the floor is our sons' very first baby photo... his infant portrait, the one El Capitan carried in his wallet every day for seven years.... left behind.
Just like us ...... left behind.
I took a second more and noticed that sandwiched between two boxes was the 20x10 white canvas that I had made for El Capitan for Father's Day 2011 - it had hand and foot prints of both kids on it and a message for him from each of them.... and there is stood, not in a pride of place in El Capitan's new home - but in his storage unit.
Out of sight... out of mind: just like us.
I stood there, determined not to cry. Determined not to notice the full sets of Twin Towers Lord of the Rings DVD sets, complete Simpsons series on DVD... the *entire* Simpsons collections - all of it had been purchased for El Capitan - by me. A material history of 10 years of birthday presents and Christmas presents and Father's Day gifts all sat before me - edged and surrounded by a new woman's .... stuff.
It burns and it hurts and it makes it all so hard to do that thing El Capitan is always telling me to do: just move on. New Flash: I would love *nothing more* than to just move on..... but somehow, I keep finding myself in these crappy situations by the actions of others, mostly by the actions (or in action in this case) - of El Capitan.
Regardless of what I had found and how it all made me feel, I had a decision to make. Pay for the unit or let it go to auction..... the Scorned Wife wanted to drop her pants, piss on that rocking chair, light a match and walk away..... however, My Kids Mother, took out her debit card and paid the bill.
I took the picture with me, I just couldn't leave it there on the floor. that moment- those days - that image of our son means so much to me.... it's a calling card for a better time when El Capitan wanted nothing more but to sit on the couch with our son nestled under his chin while the two of us were constantly checking to make sure our newborn was "still breathing": all the things new and inexperienced parents do.
It's a reminder of a time when we still had a chance to get it all right: being parents, being married... being whole.
While those days are clearly gone and we have failed on all three accounts, I took that picture because it's a reminder to me that *I* still have to keep trying to get it right, I still have to keep trying to make the children whole and happy once again.
So I paid for the unit - though rest assured, El Capitan will pay me back.... and I go to bed half wondering/half scared about what Day 14 is going to hold in-store for me.