I wish that I could celebrate Father’s Day with a full heart and an intact family, but I can’t.
We actually celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday because this Sunday my son’s dad is with his parents and my son is with my parents. We celebrated with a family outing to the aquarium and lunch out at Hard Rock Cafe. I stood back and took lots of pictures of my son and his dad together and, as I always do when my son is with his dad, took a back seat to the action. It really was a wonderful day for them. I know that my son and his dad both enjoyed themselves and that my son’s dad really appreciated it.
I am glad we celebrated last Sunday because I don’t think my heart would be in it this Sunday because reality has once again struck.
In an effort to keep my son’s dad informed about things going on with him, I told him about an incident where my two year old got a hold something he wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t expect the reaction I got.
He berated me about my parenting decisions, told me multiple times that I am a bad mother and informed me that I am doing a terrible job raising our son.
He yelled. He cursed. He made obscene gestures. There was a lot of “I am his father and you will not…”
I didn’t react. I remained clam but made it clear that he could not control me.
When he realized that I would not acquiesce to his treatment of me, he told me that he was going to “call the law.” I told him to go ahead and I went to play Play-Doh with my son.
He did, in fact, get on the phone. He called his mother. I didn’t hear all that he said, but I did hear him tell her that he wanted me “thrown in jail or a mental institution or something.”
I was shaking so much that I could hardly keep the Play-Doh in my hands, but I remained calm and explained to my son that daddy was upset, but that everything would be just fine.
At one point I tried to interject as he was saying something, but he pointed his finger at me and said something nasty. I calmly told him not to behave that way in front of our son. He said, “Well, come to the garage and I will berate you out there.” I didn’t go, but thankfully he did.
I have no idea how the rest of the conversation with his mother went. He returned and had calmed down some, but it didn’t make the evening any better.
In a couple of weeks my son and I will be spending the week with his parents. He will be there as well. Before he left my house he said to me, “I don’t want to fuss while we are at my parents.” I reminded him that I was not the one who was fussing. He said, “Well, it is because of your bad decision.” I told him that was his opinion. He pointed at me and said, “You are doing a terrible job raising our son.” I said, “Thank you.” He said, “You’re welcome,” turned around and left.
I am still raw from the experience.
I keep reminding myself that he is trying to hurt me in the way that he knows he will hurt me most – through words. I have to say that he is succeeding – those words have hurt me.
I keep reminding myself that this is his way of “paying me back” for splitting up our family. I can only imagine how bad it would be if we were still married.
I know that he would never treat me like this if other people were around. He would be mortified if other people knew he behaved like this. That is what is tough about situations like this – the public persona is so different from the reality behind closed doors.
Things like this happen from time to time. My son’s dad is not a bad man. He struggles with his own stuff and I try to keep it all in perspective. Episodes such as this one have happened in the past and I know there will be episodes in the future. I just continue to try to take the high road, feel secure in myself and know that I am doing a great job as a mother and in life.
Holidays are not always what Hallmark makes them out to be. If this is a hard Father’s Day for you, know that you aren’t alone.
Sarah Markley wrote a great post this week - Can You Handle the NOW?, which was the inspiration for this post.
I didn’t write this post to throw my son’s father under the bus – he is a good man who sometimes behaves badly.
I didn’t write this as a “poor me” post. I am blessed beyond measure. I know that this is my reality and that God has put me on this path for a reason.
I wrote about this because this is real. Things like this and exponentially worse happen in homes all over America.
It seems that most people write about how great life is and don’t deal with the now, but the now is part of the story. The now is important. The now needs to be shared with others for two reasons – so that others don’t feel so alone or so that others become more thankful of their own situation – or maybe a little of both.