With Great Responsibility, Comes Great JoyDawn Meehan
I’m raising my six children without any help from their father. That’s not the way I wanted it when we were going through the divorce process. In fact, the first thing I said to my lawyer is that I wanted my soon-to-be ex involved in the kids lives as much as possible. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t deal with everything and chose to remove himself entirely. Although it’s hard and demanding and takes every minute of every day and then some, I wouldn’t trade places with him for all the money in the world. At the end of the day, I can look myself in the mirror and (aside from the wrinkles and bags under my eyes) like what I see. I can go to bed confident in the knowledge that I’m doing everything I can for my family. And not only am I doing the right thing, but I love being a mom. It’s my dream job! It’s my favorite thing in the world! I couldn’t even begin to fathom walking away from it!
My kids’ father showed up for Lexi’s softball practice on Saturday. Well, for about half an hour of practice anyway. I can count on one hand the number of times he’s seen any of my kids in the last year and a half (other than the few times he ran into them while he was still working for the school district). And yet there he was without a care in the world, acting like nothing was amiss; the distant uncle who stops by when he’s in town and says “hi” and then leaves. No responsibilities. Just a moment of fun with the kids a couple times a year. And really, it’s not even “the kids”. It’s Lexi and Brooklyn and rarely Clayton. The older three want nothing to do with him.
I bite my tongue and grit my teeth for my kids’ sake, but I can’t even bring myself to look at his selfish face. The fake niceties from him make me want to throw up. The fact that he owes me about $8000 in child support and yet shows off the tattoo he just got makes me shake my head in amazement. But beyond the anger and disbelief in his actions, is a degree of pity. I mostly feel sorry for him because he’s the one missing out. He’s the one choosing the lonely path that leads to wasted years and regret.
In a way, it makes me thankful that I’m on my own with my kids. I mean, it would have been nice if my ex hadn’t gone off the deep end and we were able to effectively coparent, but since that isn’t an option, I’m kind of glad I don’t really have to deal with him. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to coparent with a less-than-cooperative ex-spouse. In that way, even though I don’t get a break and all the responsibility is on my shoulders, I have it much easier than those divorced parents who have to manage to get along with each other even though they couldn’t get along in marriage.
So, I’ll be the one arranging to get everyone to practice and I’ll be the one outside in the stinking cold for five and a half hours, watching them and cheering them on. I’ll be the one buying all their equipment and taking them to the ER when they break an arm (just thinking ahead. I mean, it’s bound to happen sooner or later.). I’ll be the one paying their regsitration fees and pitching in for the coach’s gift. I’ll be the one consoling them when they lose a game and I’ll be the one taking them out for ice cream to celebrate a job well done.
I’ll be the one enjoying every minute of their lives.
And guess what! I’ll be the one they thank when they win the Superbowl, World Series, Olympics (again, just thinking ahead here).