I did some filming over the weekend for a TV show that *should* air in the Spring.... I say *should* because if they don't like what you say - or they don't think they can cut and slice it into a format that works within the whole show they want to create - then you'll just end up on the cutting room floor. I don't take that personally - if the world on the other side of the TV could see just how *hard* these teams of producers and sounds engineers and photographers worked, you'd understand that they have to look at every single angle and they take their jobs seriously.... if they cut something then it's probably for the best.
The interviewer spent an hour or so asking me questions - the usual... some more 'in-depth' ones.... but one question she asked kind of stuck with me - she said:
"What do you think about the 'El Capitan' that Yoga Girl has now?"
I thought about what I wanted to say..... I think it's hard. Because.... people like me - normal, everyday, Mama June types - not the Kardashian/Hills/Housewives types - we don't *have* media training. We don't have managers and PR people sitting in the wings coaching us through our "diaries" and interviews - making sure that we keep our images and our 'stories' in tact......
Personally, I don't have a story. I've never been one to lie .... at least not more than the usual social 'white lies' - "Yes, your hair looks great", "No, so and so didn't call you a b*tch behind your back"... "No, your kid isn't a little a&&hole that bites, hits and kicks the other kids when you're looking...." blah blah blah.
The thing is, generally speaking, I'm not smart enough to lie. I'm not smart enough to tell five people three different stories and then try to answer for them or justify them later. When you lie you have to keep track of *who* knows what version of what story you told and ... more importantly - you have to remember *what* it was you wanted them to get from that story: you were a villain? you were a hero? someone else was the bad guy? whatever..... that sh*t is too complicated for me. I'm not smart enough to keep track of who I've told which version of a story too.... the truth is easier to keep track of and usually gets you in less trouble.
In my situation, it's important that I do my best to maintain a level of truth and honesty that I will have to answer for with my children..... that's pretty important to me.
So when she asked me the question I took a second to answer because .... which 'truth' do I tell? Because there's the truth I'm ok with the world knowing.... and then there's my 'inner truth' - the kind of deep, dark, painful stuff that keeps me up at night and has made me *really good* at what I call "inner crying".
Inner crying is where I'm somewhere.... at a playdate, at a session, at lunch or dinner with a friend - and something happens that brings tears to my eyes.... but I'm tired of crying public - being "that friend" - so I swallow them.... I let them build inside and then I let the air out in waves - like silent sobs and swallow the tears down.
So *that* truth - the truth that hurts the most.... I don't share that with anyone.
I sat for a moment, looking at the rim around the lens that was staring back at me and thought about how to be honest.... and not catty or b*tchy or say something that would hurt the kids or make them upset in 20 years time - and yet still be honest to what I'm going through and honest to how I feel, so I watch the lens twitch slightly left and slightly right keeping it's focus on my face and I said:
"You know how you can go to a really nice restaurant - the very best in town. You can have the nicest meal, prepared by the best chef in the world.... and it can be awesome - the best meal you've ever had. But, when the meal is over - they tuck away your food in a box and hand you a doggie bag.
That's *what* Yoga Girl has now..... MY doggie bag. My left overs.... and now matter how *good* he might have once been .... now - *he* is a doggie bag."
I think that that's been part of my struggle for the last few months.... hoping for things to get better... and then things would just get worse. and worse.... and then the very worst.
Until today.... two rays of sunshine possibly peeking through the clouds that seem to surround me as of late. First came in the form of a phone call from El Capitan. For a while now, I've stopped calling him. I decided that it wasn't healthy to call and set up visitation, etc. In the end, we'd end up arguing, etc... and as many have pointed out - it's not my job to keep his relationship going with the kids..... so he called today about wanting to see the kids this week which lead into a conversation about Thanksgiving.
Based on the fact that Sears, WalMart, KMart and Target are all opening at 8 or 9 PM on Thursday (Thanksgiving) I had already assumed that the kids wouldn't see El Capitan at all. Leading up to Thanksgiving in retail *really* is the run up to Black Friday - which means long, long, impossible hours to set up displays and get ready for the sales. Last year El Capitan worked over 80 hours in four days. Sounds *almost* impossible... but totally true.
So Thanksgiving came up and he admitted that it will be almost impossible to see the kids - either leading up to or right after Thanksgiving..... I suggested a lunch or dinner at his place and he said no, he said he wants to keep "distance" between the kids and Yoga Girl.
He say's it for my benefit, because he doesn't think I could handle it.... I won't say he's totally wrong on that account, though.... even still, I do think that that might be best for the children. The Boy knows he's been kept at arms length from his fathers life and it really bothers him..... I think it's more that El Capitan doesn't want those worlds to collide because that would make his carefree life with Yoga Girl messy.... the kind of messy that two kids bring to any event. lol
I suggested for Thanksgiving that he take the children out for breakfast this next week - just for a few short hours so that they can enjoy the holiday with him. He thought it was a good idea.
Since the conversation was going well, I thought I would bring up Christmas.
I have been dreading this ..... for years, I have been the one of my siblings to have children. The deal was that Christmas would always be at my house until one of them had a kid and then after that we would trade off who held Christmas at their house.
This year my brother went and had a kid. Silly brother...... I suppose that's what brothers are good for - having notoriously bad timing. lol..... It's bad timing because this is my fist year divorced and I wrote the parenting plan to say that I get the children on Christmas Eve and Christmas - *but* that El Capitan would be welcome (without drama or issue) to come in the morning and open presents from Santa as a family as that has been our tradition since The Boy was born.
The Boy and The Girl still *very* much believe in Santa Claus and .... most importantly, The Elf on The Shelf. The Boy LOVES The Elf on The Shelf. I explained to El Capitan that while the children still believe in the magic of Christmas, that they should celebrate the holiday in the home where they live - so The Elf and Santa know where to find them.
I know that one day.... I will wake up on Christmas alone..... well, actually, on *that* day I think I'll wake up on a bed of Winchell's Donuts and People magazine - my two staples to get me through the hard times..... lolol but still alone and sans my children and their excited squeals and running feet and bed-hair..... But, I'm not ready for that - and neither are the children.
Let's not kid ourselves.... El Capitan won't be alone... he'll be on a bed of Yoga Girl - so ... yeah, not worried about him, if I'm being honest.
However... silly brother had a cute baby and... they live out of state. He played the "I have a new kid and get to host Christmas card" which left me trying to figure out what to do.
I explained this to El Capitan. That *we* made the agreement with my siblings about hosting Christmas while we were still married and the fact that we're not doesn't change the rules of the game we've all been playing by.... and how - it's unfair for the children to miss out on Christmas with their family just to have a few hours with him on Christmas day.
And then.... the *real* El Capitan spoke... I haven't heard him for a very long time, so it caught me briefly by surprise... but there he was and he said:
"That makes sense, I think it's important for the kids to have as much of their own "normal" Christmas as they can. Not being with you and their entire family would be a bad idea just so they could have a few hours with me....a few hours of my being tired and exhausted from working late the day before, etc..... Go out of state, take them with you and I'll celebrate Christmas with them before you leave."
I offered for the Elf to leave them a note one day - instead of finding him on the shelf, they would find a note leading them on a hunt to find the Elf that could lead them to El Captain's place where he could have a tree and presents for them.... but again, he stressed that he doesn't want those "world's to collide" - so.... then I suggest placing the Elf in his office at work - and they could open presents there then spend that day together... he agreed.
I just ...... no matter what - I want the kids to hold onto the magic for as long as they can... which means that the Elf needs to go to El Capitan's too so that the magic isn't ruined for them.
On the one hand.... I realize that this gives El Capitan the freedom to celebrate his holiday away from the kids - living life on his own with Yoga Girl.... which is annoying. However..... it *is* what's best for the kids and regardless of whatever upside there might be for him in making that deal... he could have put his foot down. He could have said that I can't leave, can't spend the holiday with family and the kids and their cousins.... and I'm proud of him that he didn't do that.
Yes.... I said it. I'm proud of him.... *that* is the El Capitan I once knew.... the person who put the kids ahead of anything and everything... and yes, I realize that he'll get to wake up to a roll in bed with his 22 year old honey and that's a nice little perk for him..... *but* - regardless of what's behind the decision - it's still a good one.
I still might not go.... weather complications might prevent all of us from going... *but* - I can either choose to see the negative here - assume the worst and base my emotions on that... OR - I can choose to see the better and be grateful.
Seeing as how Thanksgiving is around the corner... I'm going with better and grateful. I thought I should share.... oh... and *then* a wonderful, lovely friend introduced me to a company that .... for all intensive purposes seems waaaay too good to be true - work from home, flexible hours, benefits AND a 401K..... it really looks to be everything I was hoping to find in a job..... so I'm putting together a resume and hoping/praying for the very best!!!!
So my day was looking up.... my heart was feeling a little lighter and my hopes were being restored... and then The Boy projectile vomited all over me, the best, the floor, his sister... and well.... sh*t just got all kinds of real around here.... lololol.
Even still, with The Boy stinking of puke and a shocked Girl sitting up with chunks of food in her hair.... they are *still* my brightest says of sunshine - they are still my hope...... and no matter what, I'm more grateful for them than they will ever know......