Mountains and Molehills
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.
4/22/2017 10:35:02 am
Well of course he dislikes the idea of a trophy given for team participation. He's never going to get one in any context where you and Vince and Nate are involved, is he? :P
4/22/2017 07:27:38 pm
And as for the 'I didn't take pictures because I didn't want to 'reinforce his excitement'? Why wouldn't he want to reinforce his kid's excitement? What's going to happen if he does, exactly? A positive self image? A sense of pride in accomplishment and being part of a community (which is HUGE deal for someone on the spectrum) and realizing that you can win at games and life without coming in first? Learning how your very presence can and does make a difference to people, no matter whether you're perfect or not?
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