Secretary Goes To College
Molly sent me a text this morning:
Dad just texted me. He's coming here tonight. With her.
Remember when I wrote about the never ending hurts of divorce? Texts like this are part and parcel, baby. Now, this wasn't a big hurt. Not even a medium sized one. It was more like a mosquito bite.
I played it cool, texting back Yay! Free dinner! or something along those lines. Because tell me what college student doesn't welcome a meal that
a: doesn't cost them anything, and
b: doesn't come from the dining hall
I felt happy for my daughter that she'd be getting a good dinner. I felt uneasy for her because I know how uncomfortable she is around her dad, and the stepmother only makes her feel more uncomfortable.
And yes, I felt bitter. Bitter that now he shows up, almost a month later. Rides in on his white horse and takes her out to dinner, his sweet new family in tow. Where was he when she was crying when the university's website crashed as she was in the middle of filling out her application? Where was he when we filled out that God-forsaken FAFSA? Where was he at her high school graduation? Where was he when we were running around town a month ago, spending a small fortune on things like mattress covers and closet organizers and string lights?
Don't get me started on what I felt when she sent me a text later that said All three of them are here. They wanted to see my dorm room. Bitter would have been welcome. Because what I felt was a sick, quiet rage. The first thought in my head? How dare she?? Really, though, Secretary visiting my girl? She has no right to traipse into my daughter's dorm room, the dorm room I helped her furnish and set up. How dare she go there and play the role of College Mom, visiting her girl on campus and bringing a grocery bag full of ramen like someone who gives an actual shit?
I know I should be over this, I know this kind of knee-jerk "angry ex-wife" reaction is symptomatic of someone who hasn't truly accepted everything that's happened. And that's probably true. I'm a big talker about "moving on" but when it's all flayed open and laid bare in the light of day, it's painfully obvious that not all of me has moved on.
And that's okay. I'm showing myself some grace here, some forgiveness. My feelings are valid, even if they are unfounded and immature. I'm going to let them roll in, like a vengeful, sad tide. And then let them roll back out from whence they came. Back into that odd, roiling sea of feelings.
I'm going to remind myself, for the millionth time, that none of this is about me. That it's a good thing, having a dad who is alive and who sometimes acts like a father. I'm going to keep these icky thoughts and this twinging anger to myself, and the next time Molly and I text or Face Time I'll ask how dinner was and tell her that I hope she had a good time (and that I hope she ordered steak). I'll tell her that I love her and that I can't wait to see her next weekend, and when we're done I'll feel proud of myself for not being a shrew and for keeping a lid on the stinky hurts that once again hit me out of the blue.
And I might even laugh a little, thinking about one last text she sent me this afternoon:
Seriously? I hate ramen.
I love that girl.
Posted by the_happy_hausfrau at 6:03 PM