My kids are required to spend about 3 hours with Big Daddy on Tuesday evenings. Nowhere in our millions of pages of divorce decree crap does it call this particular evening "Dinner night", but one would assume that having children from 5:00-8:30 p.m. would cover the eating dinner part of the evening, right?
You know what they say about assuming though...
Last night was Tuesday. As Daddy-hour drew near, the kids began looking for excuses to not go. Charlie and Molly rarely go on the weeknight visitations, and Henry is starting to follow suit. William still goes willingly, but in the past couple of months has started trying to get out of it as well. I have stated before how important I feel that these brief interactions are, and I really do feel that way. It's good for the kids to spend time with Big Daddy, and vice versa.
Anyhoo. So last night, William and Charlie went with Big Daddy. William came home at the expected time, and like always, said he was hungry. And, like always, I asked if he had eaten. Apparently, it was Secretary's birthday yesterday (oh happy b-day to you, replacement. Rumor has it that you want to hear the pitter patter of tiny little cloven hooves this year...good luck!) and after Big Daddy deposited the two boys at his house, he promptly took off to join Wife Version 2.0 and her herd at some restaurant. No dinner.
Thus the title of today's post...seriously?
I am not upset about the no dinner thing. I would need a hundred hands to count on my fingers how many times they've come home hungry. But what purpose did last night's visit serve that was beneficial to anyone involved? How hard would it have been to just reschedule a "dinner night" with the angels, or just let this one go? I am constantly amazed at the sheer lunacy of this whole co-parenting thing.
I do know one thing. I know that if I had only 6 or so days total to spend with my kids every month (and if I had not only agreed to this, but did so willingly) I would make damn sure that I got those 6 days. I would fight tooth and nail to make sure that I saw each one of my kids for every last second that belonged to me. If they resisted, I would not just shrug it off and say "Whatever." I'd go all Clark Griswold on them and tell them that they were coming with me, and tell them that they were going to have so much fun with me that they'd be whistling Dixie out of their asses. But that's me.
I ran into an old high school friend the other night, a guy I've seen socially a handful of times since the 80's. Very nice guy, he's been through some shit like the rest of us but is still plugging away. He's single, and the last thing I had heard about him was that he was engaged. So I asked him about it, and sadly found out that said engagement had been called off. Of course I asked why, since I am socially inept and also nosy. Seems that my friend was frustrated by the former fiancee's unwillingness to sacrifice time with her kids to spend more time with him.
He said to me, "I think that in a person's life, the priorities should go like this: Relationship first, kids second, everything else below that." Now, don't get me wrong. I like this guy, and am not dissing him whatsoever. He doesn't have kids of his own so this kind of rationale is sort of understandable. But it occurred to me that maybe this is really how a lot of men (and some women) sort things out in their brains.
Is this really what it boils down to? Being punished for putting our kids first? Showing our kids, indirectly of course, that the wants and needs of whomever we're sleeping with (or our jobs, or our cookie jar collection, etc.) has more claim to our time than they do? Maybe that is what it boils down to, and maybe that's the reason that I wake up spooning with a yellow lab instead of a man.
Don't get me wrong: I am not saying that you should let yourself wither up, dry out and blow away like a crunchy leaf in October. Of course we all need to make sure that our needs (sexual, spiritual, whatever) are being met, or at the very least, being acknowledged. But if someone said to me, "Me or the kids...your choice" it would take less than a heartbeat's time for me to choose.
Why does there have to be a choice? I imagine that there are thousands, millions of people who have managed to find a happy medium. A balance. Surely in the Relationship Pyramid, there is room for two at the top.
Who knows...perhaps I am suffering from a big ass case of myopia, so mired in my role of mother that I can't see beyond it. And maybe this decision to put my kids before my libido or my other wants and needs will come back to haunt me, with a vengeance. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I can cross "kids resenting my lover/career/hobbies" off my list of things to obsessively worry about. Phew.