Again With The Spawning

"I hate him." 

This is what my daughter said to me, after returning home from an afternoon birthday party with Big Daddy's extended family. 

It had been momentous occasion, from my perspective, because all four of my kids had gone. For the first time since May, I'd had the house entirely to myself. Two and a half hours of me time. It took all of my self control to not dance around in my underwear and an oxford while lip syncing to Bob Seger...instead I did crazy things like enjoy the silence and read entire chapters in a book.

Obviously, in my daughter's eyes, it was momentous for entirely different reasons.

As I've blathered on about before, the relationship between the kids and their father has been sporadic. With my daughter, it's been basically non-existent for the past few years. She's said, many times, how she has no interest in her father. How she has no desire to spend time with him, and even less than no desire to be around his wife and their child. 

So when she left for the party, along with her three brothers, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, of course, because it meant a little bit of much-needed solitude for me, but it also meant that maybe, just maybe, she was taking those difficult first steps towards repairing the father/daughter relationship (and we won't get into how strange it is that she's the one who is making the effort, right?). After all, she is almost 20 now and about to leave for her second year of college. It's never too late to build bridges and I've always encouraged my kids to keep an open mind, and heart, where their dad is concerned.

I knew something was up the minute they filed back in after the party. The boys were their usual selves; making a beeline towards the fridge, on their phones making plans for the evening and giving each other brotherly crap. 

But not my girl. I always, always know when she needs to vent. Instead of heading back to her nest as she usually does, she'll hover. Just like she did when she was little and something was bothering her, she stood near me, not saying anything. Yes, kind of creepy but look at the poor girl's family tree.

That's when she said it. "I hate him." She just blurted it out, no prefacing statement, no decorative words hung on the branches of the sentence. Just that. I hate him.

My internal dialogue? It was something like this:

Why does she look so sad?
Did someone say something bad to her?
Did he ignore her? 
Did that twit say something to her?
Why would she hate him? Will she ever not hate him? 
Why is he such a dick?

The external talk? It was just this:


She said it quietly. 

"Mom, they're having another baby." 

That was it. The good news, at least for me, was how much I didn't care. The first time they spawned, and one of the kids let it slip, it hurt. My mind spiraled back to the time he was toying with the idea of coming back to me, to our home. He'd been gone for a year, living with his then-girlfriend and I'd been trying with all my might to woo him back. 

How can I convince you to come back? To stay?

He'd looked at me and I could see him weighing the pros and the cons. I could practically envision his Plus/Minus columns, the Should I Stay or Should I Go theme song playing quietly in the background. Then, he spoke.

"No more kids." That was it. The one and only requirement. And I made sure there would be no more kids...at least, none for me.

So yeah. When that first baby was announced, it stung. The reality of what he'd really meant to say that day finally sank in. "No more kids" he'd said, but what he should have added was: "with you."

This time, however, zero stings. Donald Trump running for President hurts me more than this news ever could. 

My ex reproducing doesn't faze me. You want to make more babies? Go for it. Go on with your bad Tony Randall self, Big Daddy. Keep coating those deviled eggs with baby batter until the well runs dry. You want to be the 70 year old dino at your kid's high school graduation? CONGRATS. I'll be over here enjoying going to movies at the spur of the moment, taking naps and not smelling diapers. Oh yeah, and also, being a parent to your first four attempts at fatherhood. Mazel tov, mother effer.

The ex reproducing DOES bother someone, though. My daughter. 

And that does faze me, friends. 

Because an almost 20-year old woman shouldn't be feeling weird about her dad and his sow's ear/silk purse wife making yet another child. Because it cut me, deep, when she whispered so quietly it was almost inaudible, "at least it's another boy". 

She has found the saddest silver lining, ever, in this grotesque situation. 

She's still his girl. His only girl, so far. 

I didn't know what to say to her. Do you make light of it? Do you commiserate? What does a mom do when her baby is hurting?

I hugged her. And not only did she let me hug her...she hugged me back.

That'll do. For all of us, I hope. 

That'll do.


  1. I can't comment on Facebook because I'm "friends" with my dad. I'm not sure if my dad has had more kids with his new wife. He lives in another country and doesn't tell us this stuff. We only found out he remarried because someone posted his wedding pictures and tagged him....like I say, he does at least give me good stories to tell at parties.. I guess I'm lucky because my parents didn't divorce until we were all adults, but I read your blog and I know it would have been like this for us. My dad liked the idea of children more than actual children...I hurt so much for your daughter right now. Just let her know she isn't alone.

  2. This made me cry.

    That picture at the top, though.

  3. Ouch. Your daughter's pain hurts my heart.
    I was at a wedding a few weeks ago, precious people. Dad decided a few years ago to have an affair with a woman younger than his oldest daughter (the one getting married that day). He was there, the other woman was not. Mom and adult kids making the best of the situation -- much like you and yours -- but oh, the pain of rejection! All because he couldn't keep it in his pants. SMH

  4. Damn it!! I just typed a long-ass response.

    This post touches my heart hard! I am 48 years old, and still struggle with the same issues with my father. I am struggling with it this very day, actually.

    I pray that your daughter can hold onto YOU, as you are clearly her rock. I had my mom for that, as well, but since she passed away 7 years ago, I don't have that.

    I pray that your daughter is able to let go of the bad feelings. It breaks my heart.

    Please give her a hug from a kindred spirit in NH. He doesn't deserve her.

  5. *HUGS*
    She is loved and she is valued. I hope that she can know in her heart how much she is worth - especially when her Dad doesn't show it like he should.

  6. I'm so sorry she's feeling so much pain - it's completely understandable. One of the pleasures of getting older is realizing that basically there is no changing grown ass adults - mostly they are going to do what they are going to do and where you have control is in your reaction to them. But God, i remember my twenties and I was so sensitive to every nuance, every slight - I really don't think our hormones settle the way they are supposed to by 16. She's lucky to have a mama like you - she'll be okay.

  7. Bless her heart! This just broke my heart! Poor girl. What is it with some people that they can't realize that their actions and in-actions can really hurt the people they are supposed to love?

  8. I know you don't speak badly of your ex, which is a good example for your children, but I can do it for you. He is an ass. I hope your daughter comes to realize that he is not worthy of her pain, that he is not emotionally mature enough to understand that he is causing her pain. She needs to accept him as he is, or let him go. My heart hurts for her, as it hurt for my daughter when she went through the same thing.

  9. "'No more kids' he'd said, but what he should have added was: 'with you.'"

    I am so feeling this today.

  10. I've been where your daughter is and guess what.....she has you, she can survive quite nicely without him. You can't pretend what you don't feel. He's been a sorry ass father so why should she feel warm fuzzies about him? Someday his regrets will be many. Maturity will change how she feels and then he will be worthy OR not. With a strong Mother like you guarding her back she's a winner.....Keep it up Jenny, you and your daughter are loved......PS...Karma will bite him in the butt when she picks one of her brothers to give her away.

  11. I'm not so sure he meant "...with you". From my experience, the new, childless woman wears him down until he says yes to procreate with her. After all, it's only fair with all the sacrifices she's made for him. Plus, if she left then what the hell would he do? And finally, it legitimizes their relationship and his decision to leave. See how happy we are! See I like kids! I like responsibility! I'm not a fucktard!


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