2/25/16

That Time I Got Sad in the Costco Parking Lot



Ahhh. Proximity can be a good thing, right?

I live in a suburb which sits literally on the edge of Minneapolis. I see the pretty, twinkly skyline when I drive to work (well, not now but after daylight savings time I will again). The city I live in is a mere stone's throw from just about anything we could want or need. There are Targets in all directions, Trader Joe's just up the highway, miles of beautiful walking/riding trails and so many restaurants I could eat out every day for the next decade and would still miss a few.

My ex-husband is also nearby. Less than three miles away, to be precise. This would be a good thing if circumstances were different. Let's say, for example, if the kids spent time with him. If he and I were one of those former-couples I so envy who are able to be something that resembles friends.

It would be a good thing if seeing him didn't make me sad.

Last night was one of my late nights at work. Every week I have two of them, days where I could potentially sleep in, where I can take the dog for a long walk in the morning or just get putzy stuff done around the house before heading out for the day.

As quitting time drew near, my thoughts turned to that place they often do: dinner. I'd taken some beef out of the freezer that morning, visions of tacos dancing through my mind. But as 6:15 crept up, the idea of standing in front of the stove, browning meat and warming up tortillas and chopping up lettuce and olives didn't sound so fun. You know what sounded like fun? Putting on pajamas, having a glass of wine and falling asleep on the couch. That sounded like heaven to me.

So, I decided to get a pizza from Costco. Easy peasy, right? The tacos could wait until the next night and I'd be that much closer to pajama time when I got home. Luckily for me, Costco is also just across the way and within fifteen minutes of leaving work I was all checked out and making a hasty exit, pizza in hand.

As I walked towards the exit, I saw a man trying to shove several large cartons into the back of his vehicle. I'd recognize the back of that head anywhere. It was: HIM (cue the Law and Order music right here). It was the man with whom I'd created four babies, the man who now spends approximately four hours a year with them. He was struggling, mightily, to get those unwieldy boxes into the back of his Jeep.

Now. What would you do? I think most sane people would have just waltzed on by with that pizza, not giving the guy in cool dad distressed jeans a second glance. Some people would have stopped and said hello!

Have we met? I am not most people. Here's what I did: I spun around like Kristi Effing Yamaguchi doing an icy pirouette and quickly surveyed my escape options. The only clear way was to go through the liquor store, which I did, clutching my pizza and averting my eyes. I did sneak a peek at the Jeep Stuffing Saga and saw a little one, bouncing excitedly inside the vehicle and then feisty Wife Version 2.0 getting out to help her hapless spouse. Part of me hoped whatever shiny new object they'd purchased wouldn't fit and when they tried to shut the door it would snap off and there they'd be, stuck forever at Costco with a broken door and a hyper kid.

Part of me, though, felt sad.

It wasn't the kind of sad you feel when you see a lost love and get all feely. Nor was it the sad one feels when seeing the person who took a giant dump all over them and then walked away. It wasn't even that icky, jealous sad. The one where you catch a glimpse of "what could have been"- where a lady might look at the janky car she drives, and the pizza purchased with a gift card from a stranger and wished she was the one playing car-Tetris with something bulky and expensive under the parking lot lights at Costco.

Nope. As I turned the key in the ignition and backed out of my parking spot, all I could think of was my kids. I thought of my 15 year old who missed his bus earlier this week and tried, over and over, to get a hold of his dad for a ride. No response, not even a follow up text or call to see what he needed.

I thought about my four children and what awesome, kick ass humans they've turned out to be. And how much they deserve more than just me. More than a tired cranky mom who brings home pizza at the end of a long day. I thought about how cool it would be if they had someone else they could call, could rely on, could just shoot the shit with as they unwound for the evening.

This is the kind of thing that happens to me every so often. And I'm always afraid to talk about it with anyone other than my friends for fear of being labeled as one of those "bitter bio moms" or "angry ex-wives". But I know there are others like me out there, living in these bizarro-world universes where you bump into someone you once shared a home, a bed...a life. Someone you once knew better than anyone else on the planet, and now they are nothing more than a harried-looking stranger in the Costco parking lot.

It's weird.

Luckily the blues only stayed a short time. I spewed out a boo-hoo text to a couple friends, removed my sensible school secretary outfit and in no time I was in my comfy place: pajamas, kids around me, dog and couch.

And you know what? They ate that pizza. The dog rested his head on various laps with a super hopeful look in his beggar eyes. We talked about our days and we laughed like we always do and I decided that while my kids really do deserve more, I am enough. I'm not perfect. I get sad sometimes and I'm definitely not mother of the year.

But...

I

am

enough.





36 comments:

  1. Excellent post and it could have been written by my daughter, except her louse of a first husband moved to CA with a new wife and NEVER sees his four kids. Now he has a new one, and I sincerely hope that he is a better father to that one then he is to his first four.

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    1. Hi Kenju :) Aughh I'm so sorry your daughter (and YOU) have to go through this. I'm with you though...as much as I can't stand what happened to MY kids, I hope his new ones never go through it. No child deserves that.

      Hugs to you and your daughter. Thank you so much for reading.

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  2. Yes! You are enough. I would say more than enough.

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    1. Thank you Beth. Darn it. I'm really trying, ha!!

      I appreciate you reading, and being here ♥

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  3. *hugs* I just love your writing and the way you express these complicated emotions. You ARE enough. I'm glad you had a good pizza night with your family.
    I watched Lilo and Stich yesterday with my kid and the quote toward the end was particularly touching this time around:
    "This is my family. I found it all own my own. It may be little, and broken...but it's still good. Yeah. Still good."

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    1. Aww thanks Jean, big huge hug back (but be careful I have a cold, ha!).

      Dammit I know EXACTLY which quote you're talking. Made me cry the first time I heard it, made me cry again right now. So good. That needs to be posted soon.

      Thank you so much for being here!

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  4. I truly want to get in their brains and take a look at what these kinds of people think. How is he feeling/thinking when getting texts from his kids? “Oh I don’t want to drive him right now I’ll just ignore his texts, yeah that’s what I’ll do!” does he feel entitled “I’m already paying child support, I don’t have to be a chaperone as well!” or do they justify themselves making excuses “I’m so so very very busy I don’t have time to take 10 seconds and text back sorry can’t right now? and secretary watching all of this how does she feel/think? If I married a man with previous kids and if I witness these things of him I am pretty sure my respect for him would start to fade fairly quickly and that nagging feeling I’d have that this man is CAPABLE of doing this to his very own kids of course he’ll be capable of doing it to mine/his as well even if he WAS the best dad of the year to them as of now to my/his kids. The child support being in her name too, EVEN if it was MY idea so we have more tax break or whatever the reason for that wouldn’t you want your husband to decline and say something like “No that’s wrong, I WANT to pay for their expenses, I can’t/don’t spend enough time with them as it is at least I can do is pay.” Instead did he say “Oh honey that’s a GREAT idea! Yeah let’s do that.” ?? I don’t know, if I was secretary and married to this jerk even at the moment I’m happy with him I think it’s a matter of time that I would lose all respect for him and end up leaving him. But then again I guess if she’s capable of sleeping with married men and breaking up his family I guess all she cares about is as long as he’s super dad to her own kids it really doesn’t matter huh?

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    1. I agree with the above poster. I read your blog and can't help but wonder what dad of the year and skankenstein are thinking. How do they justify it? And even MORE importantly how will they feel when you book is a best seller :)

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    2. If we're going to get into their brains, I'd suggest we arm ourselves with hazmat suits and a round of strong antibiotics, ha!!

      There's a good conversation happening over on my friend Chump Lady's site right now. A lot of us wonder how these people continue to live with themselves, knowing all they've done, all the lies, all the half-assed attempts at marriage/parenthood.

      They think they will be the exceptions, that's why. They've fooled themselves into thinking that what they did/continue to do is justified. It's not their fault. It's nothing they did. They were just the smart ones who figured things out and ran with it, leaving the other people behind to pick up the mess.

      I wouldn't want to be them. Not for all the pizza at Costco, not for all the martinis in the world. I'd hate myself.

      Thank you so so much for being here. And for the love and support.

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    3. Yes, yes, yes!! I'll never understand how the new partners can be so accepting of their new partners treating their kids like shit. I don't care how cool I thought you were when we met, you don't have a relationship with your kids? Deal breaker, you're out.

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    4. I super agree with the above poster. Right on!!!

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  5. I feel you. My children's father is only involved when it makes him look good. My 17 y/o was in the hospital last week (psych) and during a family meeting, she finally worked up the courage to confront her father about the seriously big issues that are between them and he completely discounted everything she said. It was like watching a playground ball deflate. I don't think I have ever witnessed something as heartbreaking as that. She deserves so much better.

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    1. I went through the same thing when my daughter was 15. She got up and left the family meeting because she was so upset. Now she is 19 and has no relationship with her father at all. He was there for her graduation, because it made him look good to be the father of the valedictorian.
      I honestly don't know how they do it, and how their new partner accepts that.

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    2. I didn't know Molly was Valedictorian! What a gal!!! And you made her!!

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    3. Oh my gawd. Melissa! Perfect imagery. I've seen my kids deflate like that too and you're right. It's the absolute worst. And they do deserve better, dammit :(

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    4. Staci, this is so sad. I can't remember...did your ex remarry?? What's with these women? It's so unappealing to me, a man who has willingly disconnects with his kids. SUCH A TURNOFF!

      And P.S. Gail! Molly wasn't valedictorian, ha!! Staci's girl was ♥

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  6. I love this post. Love it so much it hurts. I know that sadness. I see it in my younger son's eyes when his dad cancels on him (again) or doesn't answer his calls/texts or offer rides and he lives (just like your ex-loser) only three miles away. Thankfully I don't see it in my older son's eyes any more since he is away at college, but I know he still feels it...that knowledge that the other person who was present at your birth does not value you above themselves (or even above their affair partner/spouse and her offspring). It is doubly hard when you have boys. I love them with all my heart and soul, but I can't teach them how to be men. That is a job for their dad and sadly he finds that job too much of a bother to be a priority. ((Hugs)) You are doing all you can to be all that you can for them. They know that and it's enough. It has to be...

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  7. My ex sees our children for about 48 hours a month total. Doesn't ever call them in between his two 24 hour stints. Your post made me cry. I hope I'm enough for these two amazing little humans.

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  8. God, your ex is such a friggin douchebag, I can't handle it.

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  9. I would like to applaud you for taking a shitty ass situation and kicking its ass. YOU are a rockstar.

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  10. I know that pain all too well...
    Reproducing with a fucktard is never ending pain...
    My kids see my ex regurlaly, their millionaire dad takes them to a different luxury resort every weekend, gets them expensive presents overtime they step foot on his house, and the icing on the cake, they love the other woman he married, the one he cheated with and abandoned the kids for... Nothing hurts me more than seeing my kids be a family with the asshole and the whore...
    I'm the bad guy, the one who makes them do homework, go to sleep at a reasonable hour, the one who holds the accountable for their actions...who never lets them eat all the candy they want...
    After I ate all the shit sandwiches so they could have a family...it kills me...
    so EVERY SINGLE day i wished he just walked out and never seen my kids again... i'm not trying to say you situation is good, IT SUCKS, every kid should have a present father...
    it just sucks that there's never an alternative that the pain is tolerable...
    I think you are doing a tremendous job raising your kids and they'll always appreciate you for it!
    You doing all you can: your part!
    Keep up the good work!

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  11. In a way, I'm one of the lucky ones. Ex is good to his kids, takes all his visitation time and pays his child support on time (even if he is a bit of a hard ass on them) But yeah - I try to support myself on child support and the salary i took when i was just a "support spouse". I drive a 18 year old car and i struggle all the time, all the time. My ex remarried (yes, her), makes about 3 times what i do, new house, new cars (yes plural), even has a pool. Sigh. It's so hard not to feel envious and less than and all of those things. Then he tells the kids to ask if i know how I'm going to pay for "my half" of college. (I don't, i just don't) I just try to make it through. I remember how much better my relationship is with my kids and how much better I LIKE myself. The money is just going to have to work its way out. Anyhow, HUGS and I feel the sadness myself.

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  12. Another excellent, gut-wrenching post. Brutally honest and superbly written. I just love you and I'm sorry for your pain.

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  13. I feel your pain. I'm sad when I see my ex and do everything I can to avoid him because I'm embarrassed. He is homeless and living in the streets. He pays nothing because he doesn't have a job. He recently appeared at my daughters' high school and my older daughter refused to see him. My youngest hurts to see her father like that and I hurt so bad for her when she confessed while crying a week ago that she slipped him a blanket because he was cold. I have no idea what goes on in his brain.

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  14. Divine Ms Hausfrau, please don't ever worry that your kids are missing out. You are loving them every minute of every day and that is a priceless gift. Today is my birthday. My ex dropped me and our kids like a bad habit to marry his 22 years younger ap. Our financial situation is far different from what it used to be but as birthday gifts I received a wonderful online album of family photos and a beautiful original guitar song written by my 14 year old son. I've been bursting with happiness all day. Moral of my story, the most precious gift one person can give to another is their time and attention. Your kids can count on you to be there and that is more than enough. Your ex is missing something fundamental in the core of his being that allows him to degrade his children. You are all better off without him. Celebrate your beautiful, happy family. Your kids will grow up knowing what is important in life. Kids aren't stupid.

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  15. Mama, you are the best and I love you.
    That is all.
    Love,
    A mama going thru the exact same pile of stinky bs.

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  16. You have no idea how much I needed your post today. My ex is living with the new girlfriend and her toddler in a picturesque seaside town posting sickening happy snaps with his parents. Meanwhile he hasn't talked to our kids in over a month (my babies are 4, 5 and 10) and hasn't paid his child support since Christmas.
    After picking up a screw in my tyre and realising what a huge hole it was going to blow in my budget, having to cancel movie night (rent a movie and buy grocery store treats) to cover it I can't help but feel a little blue over the idea that the money he is withholding could help out a whole lot. But I am enough. No one will go hungry, I already have treats in the house they just aren't "special" treats they picked themselves and Netflix will come to the rescue. Just like you I'm not perfect but I am enough.

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  17. I feel like Not Enough every single day.

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  18. Yes, all the single parents out there, doing their best, putting their kids first, getting tired but never tired enough to give up....you are enough.

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  19. I am the daughter of a nasty divorced couple. Still so bad, my parents won't both come to their grandchildren's birthday parties if the other will be there. I lived with each of my parents at different times growing up - while feeling that whatever parent I wasn't living with - ditched me. It wasn't an easy childhood - but it was mine. I tell you this, because now as an adult, I see much more clearly. I know that when my mother met me at the park with a happy meal when I was in high school, it was not just for "old times sake" - it was all she could afford. I know now that when my mother put 10 bucks in my Valentines day card when I was in college - she went without. She sacrificed for us in ways that she will never share - because she did what she thought was best for her children. As an adult - I make it my mission to spoil her rotten. Not just with material things, but with time, help with her home, and praises of thank yous. You may not realize right now, but you are building strong amazing children who will be resilient. They will stand tall during the tough times in their life, because that is the example you have set. But when all is said and done, they will KNOW that they were loved...and that is the greatest gift of all.

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    1. What a wonderful, thoughtful daughter!

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  20. I am laying in bed crying as I stumble across your blog. My eight year old son is laying next to me and Im going through a nasty divorce with a person I never in a million years thought would betray me. Im 33, all of my friends are just starting out blissfully welcoming their first babies or new husbands and then there is me. I cant tell you what a life saver you are to me tonight. thank you.
    From one Jenny to another.

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  21. I stumbled across your blog as I lay in bed with my eight year old son snuggled next to me. I am in the process of a divorce with someone who I thought would never betray me. Im 33 and my friends are all welcoming new babies or husbands in pure bliss and then there is me. I just wanted to say thank you, for making me feel like Im not alone. I feel like my world fell apart and a part of me died. Tonight I smiled and laughed and felt the exact things you blog about, so thank you again.

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  22. Really lovedon't this. I came across your post about the day he left on Momastery. My husband of 17 years just left and my 6 kids. Completely went MIA after he dumped us at my parents.

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