After this latest incident, my body was called into and admonished to stay in “high alert” mode for potential attacks.
Unfortunately, as I was quickly discovering, this would be the new status quo for a very long time.
The “enemy” was a constant in my home and in my life. Under the circumstances as they were, he was able to pounce whenever he felt the whim to spew out more of his poisonous venom. As the tension continued to escalate in our house, it was becoming crystal clear that these assaults would become more frequent, personal and vengeful.
A few days after Dick unloaded his Graduation Weekend agenda on me, I happened to drive past a country club in my neighborhood. As I was motoring by, the sign outside the facility promoting upcoming events caught my eye.
In big bold letters, an announcement for Mother’s Day Brunch appeared. With everything going on in my life, I completely forgot about that upcoming holiday. I checked the date, did a double take and then my stomach lurched up to my throat.
Mother’s Day was the day following Josh’s graduation. That’s the day we would be returning back from the festivities. That was also the day that Dick decided he would be driving Ashley home and spending the time with her.
Absolutely, positively NOT!!!
Dick had every intention of screwing me over!
At that point, I was majorly pissed off. He had so much damn nerve.
It was only a month earlier that we met with the mediator. With her, we set up a holiday schedule to abide by while we were separated, but still not divorced. The parameters outlined in that agreement stated that Ashley would spend Mother’s Day with me and Father’s Day with her dad.
Yet, Dick went blatantly against that and planned on being with Ashley on MY holiday. How dare he be so bold, brazen and beastly. Knowing him as well as I did, I realized that he felt if I were stupid enough not to notice, then he would do what he wanted and he would deserve to get away with it. If I would call him on it after the fact, then he would say, “That’s your problem. You should have spoken up sooner.”
So I needed to orchestrate a tactic that would cause him to reveal himself as the conniving piece of crap that he was while I avoided getting sucked into his ploy and losing control.
Later that evening, when Dick and Ashley were both home, I sweetly told Dick that there was something I needed to discuss with him. With Ashley in earshot, I explained that he must not have been aware that Mother’s Day was the day that he planned on driving back home from the graduation with Ashley, otherwise I was sure he would not have suggested it.
*That was definitely an Academy Award winning performance, if I must have said so myself.
I continued on that we would have to reverse the driving order: Ashley would go with him and come home with me. He acquiesced and went to Ashley’s room and announced to her that there would be a change of plans. The two of them would take his mom out for Mother’s Day the week before graduation, since Ashley would be spending the day with me and they wouldn’t be able to see his mom that day.
So that was what was going on here…
Dick not only wanted to keep Ashley from being with me on Mother’s Day, he was planning on the two of them celebrating with his mom.
WHAT A MAJOR MOTHER F%&*ER!!!
Boy, was I glad I was able to get that out.
It’s just not healthy to keep those things bottled up inside.
When Dick came home from work the next day, he was in a dither.
He approached me and told me that he needed to speak with me.
*Never a good sign!
Dick then proceeded to inform me that he had a long talk with Josh earlier in the day.
Apparently Dick was caught completely off guard by the email. I couldn’t figure out why! For some strange reason, he was shocked that Ashley and I were planning to attend Josh’s graduation.
Honestly, did he really think I wouldn’t be at my only son’s college graduation?
Truth be told, I knew that was exactly what he thought, hoped and prayed for. Then he could gloat and tell everyone what a horrible mom I was for missing such an important occasion and how he was the parent extraordinaire.
When the reality set in that Ashley and I were going, the conversation convoluted down a new twisted path.
Dick made it clear that Ashley was not staying both nights in the hotel with me; nor would she be driving with me in both directions.
As he put it, “You are not taking precedence over her. She will spend equal time with both of us. You will take her to the university and she will spend Friday night in the hotel with you. Then she will spend Saturday night in the hotel with me and I will drive her home on Sunday.”
On top of that, he declared that he made it clear to Josh and now he was doing the same with me (so there would be no misunderstanding at the graduation), that he would pay for his and the kids’ meals and I would have to pay for my own.
There was no way that he would cover any of my expenses. How I would pay for the weekend would be my problem. He was not giving me a dime.
Without missing an opportunity to throw in yet another dig, he finished his diatribe with, “Go get a job like everyone else and quit mooching off of me.”
Then he walked away. As usual, there was no discussion. This was what he wanted and this was how it was going to be.
I was in a state of shock and totally livid.
What I just heard was completely incomprehensible. How could he be such a nasty, completely deranged SOB?
Attempting to soothe my wounded soul, I imagined running after him, grabbing him by his neck and strangling the living daylights out of him. To finish him off, I pictured myself beating him, relentlessly pounding out all the pain he inflicted on me throughout our long, bitter marriage. Then I would watch him die a slow, painful death.
Wait! What was I thinking???
I quickly came back to my senses. An image of me spending the rest of my life in jail flashed before my eyes. Not only was he not worth destroying my future over, but drab, shapeless prison jumpsuits wouldn’t do a thing for my figure. So I quickly banished those ideas from my mind.
Well… I didn’t actually eradicate those concepts from psyche.
I just chose to file them away until I could deal with the situation in a more mature and loving manner.
I received an email from Josh.
After opening it up, the first thing that caught my eye was that Dick received a copy too. Before I delved into the contents of the correspondence, I was suddenly struck by the miracle of modern technology.
It was absolutely mind-boggling to think that a child could communicate with his mom and dad simultaneously without actually conversing with each one, and on top of that, both parents would be aware that the other was included in the discussion. The three of us could chat without ever having to look each other in the eye, be in the same room or respond when addressed.
How remarkable was that?
Okay, I totally digressed here. I realize that this wasn’t something most people would contemplate upon receiving a letter from their child.
However, being in the middle of a nasty divorce, I definitely was impressed by the significance, irony and beauty of this.
So, getting back to the email, Josh informed us that his graduation weekend was swiftly approaching. He took the liberty of making reservations for the four of us at several restaurants; one for Friday night, (the evening before graduation) another for lunch following the commencement ceremonies on Saturday morning and the third for dinner on Saturday night.
He made it clear that he wanted our family to all be together for this major milestone in his life.
Since he had to leave a deposit at all of the establishments, he needed both of us to let him know as soon as possible if these plans would work for us. If not, he would have to make adjustments right away. After all, his money was as stake here.
Josh didn’t want to be on the losing end of anything else in his life, especially cash.
Did I mention that he was majoring in Finance and Operations…and that he was in the Honors program at the Business School?
Immediately I responded to Josh that he could count Ashley and me in. I said how happy I was that he made the arrangements and his sister and I were looking forward to the festivities. I thanked him for taking care of the plans and how excited I was for his upcoming graduation. Not wanting to go overboard, I held back from including a few lyrics from “Sunrise Sunset.” Is this the little boy I carried…
In addition to being immensely proud of Josh for taking charge of and handling everything on his own, I was secretly relieved that he did so.
Since “the War” broke out, I wondered, worried and writhed about how this momentous occasion would play itself out. As far as I was concerned, that should have been a time for a ceasefire. For our kids’ sake, and in everyone’s best interest, Dick and I needed to put down our weapons, call a temporary truce, show a united front and be civil and friendly during Graduation weekend.
Afterward, when we would once again be renewed, refreshed and revitalized, we could resume combat. Yes, this made perfect sense.
For the first time in a long time, a feeling of euphoria came over me. I was thrilled that in spite of the turmoil we were all living with, Josh would have what he deeply desired and deserved: celebrating his college graduation with his family — all together peacefully and joyously for what would be probably one of the last times — if not THE last time.
Unfortunately, that thought and fantasy died quickly.