I haven't been consistently blogging for obvious reasons. However, even in my latest blog entries, something was missing - my focus.
In the past, this blog has heavily focused on my Faith. I've gotten away from that as I struggled to navigate the various tsunamis that have come my way. However, it's time I start shifting the focus back where it belongs and that's on God, His Church, and my place in it.
One of the things that I've clung to throughout this mess has been the fact that God is the Master Cross-Stitcher.
What, not a Divine Title you hear too often? :)
I don't think it's canonically approved, but this particular analogy was shared with me as a child and it's been a favorite ever since.
Have any of you ever seen cross-stitch work? Here's a sample of one (courtesy of Real Life. Rich Life):
Nice, neat and organized, right?
Have you ever seen the BACK of one of these? Here's what the same image looks like from another angle:
Point is, God is in charge of the thread. He's able to see the pattern and where all the thread will eventually land itself. Us, looking up at His Work from below, only see a jumbled mess of things, maybe making out a letter or two as we gawk in wonder.
Eventually, when we make our way to Heaven, we'll be able to look back on the tapestry He wove for us and realize the brilliance and love that went into each stitch. All those gnarled pink mangles are hearts... all the lengths of blood red chord was to build us a home.
Trust that God has the perfect pattern for each of us. No matter how mangled you think it looks, remember that we just have a different perspective than He does. And thank Him for it. :)
Last night, my son had his final bowling tournament of the season. I'd originally wanted to go to cheer him on, but bowling is sacred time for him and his dad and I know it's important for them to bond.
They were a little later than usual coming home which wasn't a surprise. I figured they'd done an awards ceremony or something, and I wasn't disappointed. Vince came tearing into the house, full of excitement. I was upstairs in the shower (washing my hair, actually) and I could hear him barreling up the stairs. He threw open the bathroom door and pulled back the curtain (no concept of personal space... lol) and thrust his trophy into the shower.
"LOOK MOMMY!" he shouted. "I WON A GOLD TROPHY!"
I laughed and told him how proud I was of him. Then I said "Gimmie two minutes to finish up, dry off and get dressed and we'll go celebrate!"
So I dutifully rinsed, dried and dressed in the span of two minutes. When I hopped out of the bathroom, though, I noticed that Nate was crying. He'd been asleep when I got into the shower, so I assumed Vince's grand entrance woke him up. I didn't fault Vince for that given his excitement. However, I quickly noticed that John was nowhere to be found.
He couldn't possibly have left already, I thought. Vince is freaking out with excitement and there's just no way he would've left him like this knowing I was in the shower.
Oh Gina, what an optimistic idiot you are. Eventually I'll stop putting even the glimmer of faith in him, but last night was not that night.
I found Vince sitting on Nate's bed holding his trophy in one hand and a popsicle in the other. He said, "Mommy, you gotta get lots of pictures with me and my trophy!"
I smiled and said "Of course! But let's get you cleaned up first!" He was a mess of sweat and grape popsicle.
During his bath, I was texting John, angry that he'd just dropped off Vince without so much as a word of praise for his game. I also pointed out that courtesy of his thoughtlessness, Nate was now awake and crying. Not that any of this matters to him - he was off the clock! That's likely why he told Vince to tuck and roll at the door. He'd had to parent Vince all day, and it was after 8- high time he was able to unload him and get back to his life!
Anyway, during his bath, Vince kept getting me to confirm I'd take lots of pictures/videos of him with his trophy. I thought it was odd that he was being so insistent, especially because he knows I take pictures of everything. As he was getting dressed, I finally realized why. He had this fake smile plastered on his face... the one that means he's on the cusp of crying. I pulled him in for a hug and asked him why he was sad. Of course he responded with an even faker smile and said "I'm not sad! I'm happy!"
I prodded a bit further, and then he began to cry. Turns out John had rushed him out of the bowling alley and didn't take any pictures of Vince with his trophy.
Now I am 120% sure John SAID he was proud of Vince. I'm even sure he high-fived him, hugged him and told him what a good job he did. But when you're super stoked that you got your FIRST TROPHY EVER for "winning third place" (which is what John told him because they came in third), it's probably confusing that you got rushed out of the place with nary a picture or celebration with the other teams.
I couldn't imagine John hadn't taken a picture. I thought Vince was mistaken. I texted John for clarification, and he flatly ignored me. That told me all I needed to know; he really had neglected to take any pictures of Vince with his trophy! No wonder Vince was so upset.
So after I calmed him down, we FaceTimed my mom. She made a big fuss over him and his trophy. Then we FaceTimed my MIL/FIL who ALSO made a big fuss over him. Finally, I did as promised and got a video of him showing off his trophy and score card which also made him feel really happy. He asked me if I'd post it online so everyone could see it. :) Of course I did!
I tucked him in and again told him how proud I was of him. Almost instantly, he was sound asleep and I was left trying to stifle the rage of a thousand burning suns.
This morning, when I confronted John, instead of taking ownership, he tried to turn it around on me saying that I had somehow caused Vince to get upset. And he'd gotten pictures of him bowling, so Vince should have "been fine" when he was dropped off.
Given the fact that the bowling alley is less than a minute from the house, it's not like Vince had much time to process what John had done before he bailed. But hey... what does logic have to do with anything here?
He kept repeating his oft-used phrase "You're making a mountain out of a molehill" and it was all I could do not to punch him square in the face. I clearly explained that his son was upset and crying last night, and he poo-poos it as a molehill?
While it might've seemed insignificant to John, IT WASN'T TO VINCE. This is something John can't seem to understand. He is incapable of grasping things from a vantage point outside his own, so why would it even occur to him that Vince might be hurt by rushing out and not taking photos?
Then, as if to defend himself, John explained that the trophy wasn't really for 3rd place at all. They had won 3rd place, but the trophy was a participation one that all the kids had gotten, so John specifically didn't WANT to get pictures because he didn't want to reinforce excitement for it.
Here's the problem with his (lack of) logic, though. He told Vince that his trophy was for 3rd place. So that's what Vince thought it was. That's what I thought it was (because John didn't bother to stick around to explain otherwise). You can't say it's one thing (an earned prize) but treat it like something else (a participation trophy to be ashamed of).
No wonder Vince felt so hurt last night. John hated the trophy and made it known by his actions that Vince shouldn't be proud of it, either. But because John had explained it to him as something special that SHOULD be celebrated, Vince was understandably hurt and confused.
Instead of recognizing that, John does what John normally does and blamed me for somehow stoking upset within Vince. Because that's what I do, people. I seek out opportunities to inflict emotional breakdowns on my son with the specific intention of pointing out to John what a terrible father he is.
*Rolls eyes again*
He's not a terrible father, but he can be a thoughtless one. I'm not going to stand by while Vince's feelings are crushed. I'm not just going to let his inability / unwillingness to communicate continue to steamroll over Vince without trying (vainly) to get him to understand the consequences of such childish behavior.
But yeah... it's all me making a mountain out of a molehill.
I swear... I really hope he grows up one day. As I told him last night, it takes a man to raise a man and he's got TWO. If he doesn't grow up for his own sake, he needs to for theirs.
Thanks to all you kind folks who keep checking in on me from time to time. It's so nice to see an e-mail from someone on the other side of the country who felt connected to my story in some form or another.
Anyway, I've been radio silent for a while because I didn't really have much to talk about. I knew the last few entries I'd written were full of anger and disgust, and I really didn't like that my blog had taken such a dark turn. But as a friend pointed out, it's the dark turn that will make the upswing that much brighter. So here I am again to embrace the path and hopefully share the pitfalls I've stumbled into so whoever comes after me can avoid them.
I met the girlfriend last week. John was dating this girl before we'd even gotten divorced. I've known about her from the gate and really had no inclination to have any dealings with her. John, however, has a desperate need to "prove" how mature he is, so he pushed for me to meet her since he now wants her meeting the boys.
*Rolls eyes* Right. 'Cause I really have any need or desire to meet myself from 12 years ago.
But again, John insisted. He kept saying he didn't want to do things like his cousin because he was just so much more mature than him (when you feel the need to keep stressing how much you've matured, you probably still haven't done so). So fine. I figured I'd meet her and give the poor kid a chance to ask me questions that might save her some grief down the line. As I said to John, I wasn't at all worried about how she'd be with the kids. After all, John's got a type, and that type would be perfectly fine interacting with Vince and Nate (likely better than him if we're being honest).
So meet her I did. Huge pitfall, people. The meeting went exactly as you would expect a meeting like this to go - annoyingly.
I got to the diner and she shoved her hand across the table in a very nervous, overly-happy "Nice to meet you!" I responded "Yeah. Hi. Nice to meet you, too." in my best "Honey, slow your roll, you're coming on like a kidnapped child from Candy Land looking for his next hit from Lord Licorice" voice.
The waitress came by to take orders. I asked for decaf coffee and nothing else. John waved her away because they'd already had their drinks. I pointed out that his girlfriend was clearly ready to order food, but the waitress had already moved on. The girlfriend just shrugged her shoulders and said "It's no big deal."
Oh Lord. If that isn't a perfect analogy for life with John. He didn't want anything, so why would it even cross his mind that someone else might want something?
But hey, I knew where she was coming from. She was trying to put on a brave face and be the mature, sensible adult in a situation that was at least 10 layers of confusion over her head. She was already adept at excusing thoughtless behavior and she likely didn't even realize she was doing it. I felt bad in that moment, because again... looking at yourself 12 years in the past and being able to do nothing to stop the disappointment hurtling your way... it's not fun.
When I asked John to get things rolling with exactly why he wanted to meet (to supposedly go over ground rules re: her interaction with the kids), he put up resistance which is typical of John in awkward situations. Besides, I wasn't there to vet her nor was I there to go over "ground rules." I was there to give her the chance to ask questions about the guy she was entangled with - the guy I spent more than 12 years in a relationship with. I was there to make sure she understood my expectations for her involvement with my children. And I was there to point out my support of their marriage should she be foolish enough to make the same mistake as me.
She didn't have a single question! LoL. For someone studying journalism, you'd think she'd be a little more prepared, but given the subject matter, it makes sense. I mean, ignorance is bliss. Besides, to her, I'm just the ex. Bitter, jaded and I'm sure the reason for every failed moment in the marriage. She knows John... he's amazing. What more does she need to know than that? Three fiancees and a broken marriage couldn't possibly be an indication that there's something inherently wrong with him, right?
I honestly wanted to take her hand from across the table at one point and say "Run." It was right after she said she wanted to have her first child in about 3 years.
Guys, FIRST CHILD. That was the exact phrase she used. You know what that implies? More than one kid. Exactly what I wrote about in my entry before I'd even met the girl. She's so young. And when I brought up the vasectomy John had casually mentioned, he got indignant as if I could have somehow taken that out of context.
She did try to walk the statement back a bit by saying "I'd like to have one and see how it goes from there." I shook my head and didn't even bother helping her follow her logic. What's the point? She'd just hop off the train before getting to "So what happens if you like being a mom and want another, especially given John's well-documented disdain for more?"
This is seriously so sad to me. I wouldn't wish what John did to me and my children on anyone... not even the girl who thought it'd be a good idea to pursue a married man with a pregnant wife.
But she's staring down the barrel and legitimately has no idea. Or worse, she thinks she can change his mind when the time comes.
So yeah - pitfall. Meeting the new girl, feeling nothing but pity for what she's going to endure (likely years down the line), and doing your best not to punch the common denominator in the face for his part in all of it.
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