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Taz Let Loose

My daughter, Taz, is not one to let misbehavior go unchecked.  In high school, she insisted one of her teachers re-grade 300 midterm exams because the teacher had a mistake on her answer sheet.  The teacher only wanted to give the credit to Taz, but Taz insisted that wasn’t fair to everyone else and advocated (i.e. tormented) the teacher until she relented.

Taz called me over the weekend to let me know that she is making a surprise visit to my neck of the woods for 48 hours.  It’s for work and our time will be very limited.  That was one part of the call.

The next part was her telling me about the knock down, drag out brawl she had with her dad.  My Ex.  She was telling me in the context of her visit, my holiday trip and, well, she needed to vent to her mom.

Apparently my Ex sent a nasty, passive-aggressive text to her and her husband about not getting an invite to spend Christmas with them.  Taz’s hubby asked her if he should respond and Taz’s response was basically, “Hold my beer.”

Due to work issues (she’s on a nasty shift and is working about 80-100 hours a week – I have no idea how she does it, but that is a discussion for another day), she didn’t get back to her dad for a couple of days.  Plus she wanted to think about how to deal with him.  It did not go well.

Basically he tried guilting her about the fact she has not been home in four years.  Uh yeah, it’s called a medical residency and she does not get much time off for the holidays. He had no empathy for her work.  He compared it to his law practice.  Uh, no comparison.  She tried to explain that she has no control over her work.  He refused to comprehend that.  He had false facts in his arguments with her. Plus, get this, he can’t even come visit her for Christmas because his fiancee’s daughter is having a minor outpatient procedure a couple of days before Christmas, so they cannot travel.  His whole argument was over a moot point.

She ended up screaming at him that he was a “psycho” and needed to go back to counseling.  She felt awful because they have not fought like that since she was 17.  Don’t feel bad for him — he was yelling also.  I felt so bad for her.  I told her several things.  First, this was not her fault.  It sounds like he is regressing as he gets closer to a second marriage.  Oh boy….

I also told her about a huge fight I had with my mother when I was pregnant with Taz.  My mother expected to dictate the when, where, how of the holidays.  I was ready to start my own family traditions and she was just not having it.  We had a huge fight that resulted in me not only not spending Christmas with her, but not speaking to her for three months.  We finally started speaking about a month before Taz was born.  I told Taz that some parents are slow to understand and accept the changing dynamics of adult children.

My other insight was that she is very much like her father, which is why they clash so hard. Now I admire her fearlessness, however, since they both have no fear of a confrontation and when you combine it with his litigator’s thirst for the big win, it becomes a toxic combination.  Neither will back down if they feel they are right.  They used me as the intermediary during my marriage and it was not fun at all for me.

I think there is some serious shit going on with my Ex and his fiancee.  She still has a high school age daughter in the house, so he has to deal with that.  She has family, so his can no longer take precedent for all family gatherings. His priorities are not always coming first these days.  Or at least that is my guess.  They are planning a decent size wedding because my son mentioned that they were still looking for a venue.  From the way my son said it, it sounds like there is some friction.  I cringed.

My daughter felt bad about burdening me.  She did admit they fumbled the holiday announcement to him.  Apparently my son tactlessly mentioned it and then threw his sister under the bus.  Sigh.  My son is like me when it comes to dealing with my Ex — RUN AWAY!  Don’t confront him because he will go psycho. Although we have all learned that if you continue to stand up to him, he tends to subside.  In theory. Old habits die hard in all of us.

Of course, Dear Readers, you are all wondering if this is dampening my enthusiasm for my trip, right?  Let me reassure you that I am not dampened for a nano second.  This has absolutely nothing to do with me.  I am still thrilled.

I told Taz that I had told my son that we needed to show up prepared to entertain ourselves.  To that end, I have a long list of activities and have suggested that he come up with a few ideas or face the prospect of being dragged around by his mother.  LOL.  Taz outlined the plans they have put in place – Christmas Eve dinner at a nice restaurant and hanging out at their place on Christmas Day.  Lovely.  We determined that everyone will get one stocking stuffer gift for each person ($20 limit, thank you very much).

I also told Taz that if she needed to spend her precious free time on this whirlwind trip with her dad to straighten things out, I understand.  I would be seeing her soon anyway.  I said it would be great if she could come check out my new apartment, but I also completely understand that it was not in the cards.  Just wishful thinking on my part.

Right now I am on stand by.  Her plan is to stay with her sorority sister, a lovely, kind, funny young woman who is just the right breath of fresh air that Taz needs right now.  That’s more important.

But I have to say, the gossipy side of me is truly wondering WTF is going on with my Ex.  I think that all is not rosy between him and his fiancee, but I am just speculating and you know what happens when you assume…it makes an ass of U and ME.  Stay in my lane…that needs to be my 2020 mantra…stay in my lane….

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Photo by lee junda on Unsplash

Re-framing the Holidays

If you have read my blog over the years, you will know that since my separation and divorce six years ago, the holidays have been a bit fraught for me.  Geez, it’s hard to believe that my divorce was six years ago.  Wow, that’s a post for my Emancipation Day in April!

Anyway, back to the holidays.  Since I don’t have a strong family connection with my dad or my brother (I haven’t spoken to that Sack of Shit for years), the only family I am close to are my kids.  I don’t want to lean on them for every single holiday, so I need to re-frame what the holidays mean to me.

When my kids were growing up, the holidays were always about family.  My then-husband, the kids, the in-laws and extended family.  My Ex is one of 4 kids in a close-knit family.  We all lived close to one another for years.  The in-laws and extended family were close by also.  My kids grew up in a nurturing environment — just as I always wanted.

Once I divorced my husband, those family members are gone.  They included me very sporadically and reluctantly on a few occasions, but I knew not to depend upon them.  I realize that I have not released my married life view of the holidays being about family.  I need to do that.

I want to re-frame the holidays.  It is time because I will continue to be petulant about them until I can let go of my old ways.  Here is how I want to think about the holidays going forward:

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and reflective of all that I have.  As long as it involves turkey, I am fine.  It does not matter who or where I spend it (provided that there is turkey and pie). I have many things and people to be thankful for, so I will take the time to do so (with some stuffing and sweet potato casserole, please).  I want to channel peace, reflection and gratitude on Thanksgiving. Leftovers would be a bonus.

Christmas is going to be a time of pleasure and relaxation.  This year it will be spent with family, so I have to add in love and adventure since I will be visiting them.  Christmas is no longer tied to gifts.  I am not exchanging gifts with any of my loved ones this year.  That’s a first.  I am, however, sending my daughter a box of heirloom Christmas ornaments for her to use and keep. She is thrilled and excited to have them on her tree for this holiday. I am saving some for my son as well.

Christmas will be about being spiritual and appreciating the positivity in all of us. I love Christmas carols, the decorations, so I want to make sure I enjoy that.  It will also be about preparing for new beginnings which brings us to New Year’s.

New Year’s is all the cliches of new beginnings.  Out with the old and in with the new.  It’s the classic reset button.  New Year’s is about forgiving myself for past failed attempts and having the courage and optimism to start again.

It is quite easy to type these bold words and declaration of re-framing.  Now let’s see if I can truly take them to heart.  Can I stop my old, tired thinking and create a new reality of the holidays for myself?  I like to think “yes”.  I need to think about how I can create a small vision board that reminds me of these new holiday perceptions.

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Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

 

He’s Back!

My son is home safe and sound, but he is visiting for less than a week.  He is literally passing through to pick up his stuff and head off to grad school.

He is staying with his dad, which is fine with me.  His dad is living with his GF, now fiancee, in a large house (even larger than what we had when we were married).  My son will be more comfortable there because at least he won’t be sleeping on a camping cot.

But his dad is once again trying to plan everything and those plans don’t include me.  It leaves my son stuck in the middle.  Nobody handles any of this with any finesse and my feelings got hurt. Ugh.  That’s the short, non-ranting version.  But I don’t write this blog to spare readers from my rant, so here goes.

I had made arrangements to have my son’s car taken to a repair shop that is owned by a friend of the Hunter.  This way the car could be thoroughly inspected before my son embarks on his long trek to school.  That repair shop is very close to where my Ex lives.  I set it up so my son could pick up the car a day or two after he arrives.

My son arrived late at night, so I didn’t go the airport thinking we could all get together for lunch the next day.  I had even texted that to his dad.  Somehow that all seemed to go sideways for a spell.  My Ex wanted to take him to do fun activities and things that didn’t include me.

It finally got straightened out, as I sat at the mechanic’s getting new tires.  My son really needs to manage both of us better.  Now I have to wait about 48 hours before I see him again.  I hate taking turns.  I hate when my Ex tries to monopolize him.  I feel like a second-class parent.  My son needs to be more assertive with his dad.  I know he just landed and what not, but really?  There were going to be no plans for me to see him the first day he returned from a YEAR away?

It all sorted itself out and the three of us grabbed a quick lunch.  I got to hear some about my son’s most recent adventures.  I heard recent news of the Ex and his family.  I just have to take a deep breath and relax.  My poor son is dealing with jet lag, culture shock and two very demanding parents.  OK, OK, I get it….grudgingly.

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My Son is the rope in this Tug-of-War…LOL    Photo by Darinka Kievskaya on Unsplash

 

My Beach Read

My beach read for my recent trip was “The Naked Truth” by Leslie Morgan.  That damn bitch wrote my book.  Actually she wrote the Hollywood version of my book.

She’s doing the newly divorced 50ish woman re-discovering her sexuality with a flair that only privileged white women can do.  That’s my snarky side peeking out.

Leslie is a beautiful, fit, successful writer with two homes.  That hussy was living the dream — my dream — in her memoir.  OK, enough of my green-eyed monster.  Give me a minute and let me tuck my monster away….

OK, I’m back.  Leslie was right on point.  Her pain, her honesty, her humor but mostly her blinding candor made this book a great read for me.  It reminds me that women in our 50’s with an empty (or nearly empty) nest really need to spend some time discovering and uncovering ourselves (pun intended).

No spoilers.  If you have a chance to grab the book, you’ll spend some time with someone who automatically feels like a friend.  Here are some of my favorite quotes – no spoilers, I promise.

“I was crazy about men now the way Lyon had loved each of his high school hookups.  Including me.  Each of the men in my life was a chip of self-worth, helping me rebuild myself”

“Ever ask yourself what are you really looking for, honey?  Sometimes it seems like you’re willing to pay an awfully steep price in order to feel loved.  That’s what you always say about your first marriage — that the definition of an abuse victim is someone who pays too high a ransom in exchange for love.”    This one hit home for me.

Sara (this is her therapist) had warned me to be careful.  She cautioned that the first serious relationship following a divorce can be more intense than the marriage itself, because after a divorce, you are raw and broken and filled with hope that the next time, you’re going to find lasting love to make up for the love you lost.”  Damn, did that ring true.

“You know it sounds to me like Jake (her boyfriend) is your burn ointment.  Your sexual healing after years of Marty’s (her Ex) sabotage.  But that doesn’t mean he’s your soul mate.  Each man you date now is a building block for your self-esteem.  Not the foundation.  Don’t confuse the two.”  Damn, I need her therapist.  That woman is worth her weight in gold.

“Withholding emotion is a form of manipulation.”  Yeah, I may be guilty of this…

“Part of this journey was, obviously, that I had to learn and re-learn that the way I allowed men to treat me was up to me, and only me. I had to thread a particularly challenging needle:  to find validation from men in my life without completely giving myself over to them.”  Yep, still working on that.

“You grew up in an alcoholic home.  Fundamentally, this means that the people who loved you, who were supposed to take care of you, didn’t protect you.  It’s why you are so independent, and yet paradoxically susceptible to abuse and manipulation by those closest to you.”   This was a biggie for me.  My family wasn’t necessarily an alcoholic home, but it was dysfunctional.  Something to ponder further.

Anyway, buy Leslie’s book.  We divorced nymphomaniacs need to stick together.

Naked Truth

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