Parallels

Normally I think a post through in my head a little before I write it, although sometimes things just have to come out and I purge.  I’ve been hiding from this one a little though, and I don’t want to, so I’m forcing myself to write, so I can come back and see it later.

It’s interesting though.  I was talking to someone this weekend (this is totally unrelated to what I want to write about) and they had an experience.  They have a mountain house and they only go there from time-to-time on random weekends.  There’s a neighbor there who is older and who’s wife died several years ago.  So whenever they go up, they check in on the guy, see how he’s doing, take him to lunch, help with chores he can’t do, etc.  He has said multiple times that he’s ready to die and wants to be with his wife.  This last time when my friend was up there, they thought it was odd because he didn’t come out to say hi like he normally does, they didn’t see him puttering around at all during day.  That evening they went over and noticed that the house was all closed up, the blinds were closed, etc.  It all looked abnormal.  They can clearly remember thinking to themselves “Shit.  He’s dead in there.” and then it’s like they completely blocked that from their mind.  They just went on with their life like normal.  Didn’t think about it again.  A week later they got a call from the guy’s daughter that he had in fact died.  And so the whole situation is pressing on them, how were they so able to completely block that out of their mind?  Why didn’t they call the cops or something when they had that thought?  For them to shy away from something so unpleasant is out of character for them.

I can feel this story that I’m avoiding want to slip through like that, I can feel my brain wanting to ignore it so I don’t have to think about it.

Now, with all that build up…  prepare to be disappointed!

I’ve told the story about thinking back to my childhood last year and forcing myself to remember some details that I’d forgotten.  Forgotten might be the wrong word, just purposely never, ever revisited or acknowledged until last year.  But once I did, I could see the details, clear as day.  And feel some of the pain again.

One of the ones that jumped out at me first was remembering being in trouble, and chasing my mom down the hall, trying to grab onto her and get her to look down at me, to acknowledge me.  She’s the queen of silent treatments so she’d pretend we didn’t exist.  I remember her putting her hand on my forehead and pushing me away and me getting all jumbled up and falling, then picking myself up and running into the garage after her.  She got into the car, looked over at me like she was going to say something, then shoved me in the chest so I stumbled back, hit the wall of the garage and fell down, and closed the door and drove away.

She’s still my mom, so I’d prefer to be able to tuck that memory away again.

I was thinking about the holidays coming up a week or two ago and the realization that I’d be “alone” this Christmas hit me.  I’ll have The Boy for some of the day, but he’ll be with his mom the rest of the time.  We alternate every year, one of us has Christmas Eve/Christmas morning with him, the other has Christmas afternoon/the day after.  I’m not sure which way it goes this year, but I’ll have half the day alone.  I’m not dating anyone seriously right now so there’s no one to get excited about shopping for, to decorate the house with, to go out and enjoy the season with.  The thought is kind of worse than the reality, it’s a sucky and had me bummed for a couple days.

When I was getting divorced, my ex was supposed to move out of the house on Dec 1st.  She screwed up her money situation and couldn’t make it happen, so asked if she could stay in the house until 1 Jan.  I agreed, and we talked about having a last “good Christmas” since she was going to be there anyways.  We weren’t going to try to pretend be a couple in love, but we were supposed to spend the day together as a family for The Boy, try not to snipe, and just try and be happy.  Open presents, watch Christmas movies, eat Chinese food.  We could do it.

That was the plan at least.  But she’d been dating the new guy for a long time by this point and was excited to have a Christmas with him.  So as soon as the presents were open, she was in the bathroom making herself look pretty and then was out the door.  The boy and I were out in the yard, playing with one of his new toys and as soon as he saw her come out of the house all made up he started chasing her, asking her where she was going.  It was easier for her to ignore him than answer his questions, or acknowledge me for that matter, so there my son was, chasing her down the sidewalk and driveway, pleading for her attention, begging her to stay home with him and play.  And there she went, ignoring him, pushing him away so she could get into the car.  At some point my brain kicked in and I went over and got him, so he didn’t have to suffer having his own mom knock him off his feet, but it was tough, watching her drive away, ignoring his pleas.

The divorce was a reality by that point.  I’d accepted it, but that was still a knife to the heart.  Watching her take off like that, leaving him, and honestly me, behind to go to her new boyfriend’s place.  l put on a brave face but that was probably some of the loneliest I’ve ever felt, trying to distract and entertain my son that day, getting him to bedtime without the realization or too much conscious thought that his mom wasn’t coming home that night.

Because I was thinking about Christmas and feeling down last week it naturally came up in conversation with someone, and I was telling them that story, talking about how craptastic that was for her to do to The Boy.  And while talking, it was like there was movie projector magic going on in my head, and I was able to see the two different scenes, first side by side then slowly merging together in my head of us both chasing our moms, crying, snot bubbles coming out of our noses, begging for them to turn around and come back.

My kid is tough.  I know, knew even then, that he was putting on a brave face the rest of that day too.  He was trying to protect me as much as I was trying to protect him.  And now, I know how much that event from my childhood impacted me, especially when layered on top of so many other things.  And honestly, now I’m aware that my ex-wife pulling out of the driveway like that impacted me too, although I’m not entirely sure how, or how much.  But now it seems like I can remember that I called out to her a time or two as well, a question in my voice as I called her name.  And she didn’t look back at me either as she hustled to her car.

I’m not entirely sure what to do.  My son is different than me, his reaction to things are different, his experiences are different.  But I know how much that bothered me, I’m not sure if it is going to screw him and his future relationships up.  Maybe it was a non-issue for him.  Maybe I’m just projecting a lot of my crap onto him.  It’s tough.  But I hope I can help him through this if he needs it.

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