Since Josh came back for his extended winter break in mid-December and Ashley was off of school for the holidays, “The Battle of the Breakup” saw an increase in casualties as a result of the relentless and dangerous fighting on the home front.
Dick, in his self-appointed role as “Commander-in-Chief” was ruthless in his attacks. Of course, the targeted enemy in this scrimmage was me and his first recruit for this mission was our son.
As Josh’s first semester of his last year of college drew to a close and he was gearing up for three weeks of R & R, there was a change in his tone of voice and his demeanor whenever I spoke with him on the phone.
I knew he had mixed feelings about what would await him upon his arrival back at the homestead. While Ashley deals with the day in and day out drama that plays out here, Josh is far removed from the situation, both physically and emotionally.
During one of our conversations, he had expressed to me that as the day quickly approached when he would once again walk through our front door and into the line of fire, he was filled with apprehension, fear and anxiety over what would transpire during his visit.
His premonitions did not disappoint.
Dick wasted no time monopolizing all of Josh’s free moments, energy and loyalty, as he quickly and secretly filled up his social calendar personally, monetarily and emotionally.
Starting with securing prime seats at a Bulls game for the two of them and whisking Josh away almost as soon as he pulled up in the driveway that very first evening home- to paying for his trip to Vegas with his frat buddies at the end of break- Dick did everything in his power to make sure every micro-second of Josh’s life during his visit home revolved around him.
Of course, these perks weren’t offered out of the goodness of Dick’s heart and his intense and burning love for his only son. NO WAY!!!
In fact, there was a very high price to pay for all this attention, affection and indulgence.
So to speak, Josh had to sell his soul to the devil. In return for all that was bestowed upon him. He became Dick’s little puppet, being manipulated and coerced into treating me exactly the way his father did.
Josh was a good student, learned well and was rewarded handsomely for his accomplishments.
Every day when I would ask Josh if was going anywhere, he would tell me he didn’t know. As soon as Dick would walk in the door, the two would take off. Daily, they would go for lunch, out to dinner, to movies, shopping, etc. It was getting harder and harder to communicate with Josh and I began to wonder if he really was so brainwashed that he couldn’t see the situation for what it was.
Worse than that, I feared that when my son would get married and raise a family, he would become the spitting image of his father. I cringed at the thought of how miserable his life would turn out if he didn’t wake up, develop some backbone, think for himself and stand up to his papa.
Realistically, I knew it was too much to ask for now. Josh is in many ways still a child. He wants what he wants and will do whatever it takes to keep the good times rolling for himself. The kid is not stupid. He’s figured out early on that in order to maintain his father’s love, interest and financial support, he has to jump high, often and on a moment’s notice. Among all his other natural talents, Josh has proven to be quite the athlete!
All hell broke loose the Saturday prior to New Year’s Eve. That morning, I asked Josh if he was going anywhere for dinner. I wanted to spend some time with my son while he was in town! As usual, his answer was an abrupt, brash I don’t know. Later in the afternoon, I meandered into Josh’s room and again posed the same question, to which I received the same response. As soon as I stepped out of the doorway, Dick walked in and announced that he made dinner reservations for 7:00 pm.
That was all I had to hear. My blood began to boil. As Dick passed me in the hallway, he maniacally glared at me with a smirk on his mouth that reeked of Ha-Ha, what are you going to do about it? I win…you lose. I eyed Dick back with a poker-faced expression, walked back in, closed the door behind me and in a very controlled, soft-spoken, non-threatening manner asked Josh why he just lied to me.
Just like his father, he looked at me stone-faced and replied in a condescending tone that he didn’t know what I was talking about. It was simultaneously sickening and disgusting to look at the expression on his face and hear the words that were coming out of his mouth.
Had he not been my son whom I carried for nine months, sick as a dog for most of the duration of the pregnancy, labored for nearly two days to deliver him, nursed , nurtured, loved and cared for him with all my heart and soul and would have given my life for, I could have murdered him on the spot.
How dare he treat me this way! I told him how disappointed I was in how he was behaving and how he was choosing to speak to me. I reminded him that I am his mother and I deserve to be treated with respect. *At that moment the Saturday Night Live skit in which the mom repeatedly kept telling her son, I AM YOUR MOTHER, popped into my head.
I fervently continued…When I ask a question, I expect an honest answer from you, not some made-up BS that you mistakenly think I would accept. With that I left his room and went downstairs. He followed me to the next location and had the audacity to continue his diatribe with… I thought you were asking me what I was doing LATER tonight after dinner. I might get together with some friends, but I’m not sure what the plans are yet. You never specifically asked about where I will be eating. I told him to stop talking to me like I’m a moron because this treatment is totally unacceptable.
Amazingly, he has no problem opening up his mouth to me, but with Dick he becomes a wimp. Maybe I should take it as a compliment, that he feels totally comfortable expressing himself to me without worrying that I will withhold my love from him regardless of what he says.
For now I’ll hold on to this notion.