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….
Photo by lee junda on Unsplash