Yesterday I came in from work and took a nap. I try not to do this, but Ezra was at his dad’s last night and so I could and I did. It was a three hour nap. You can either judge me for being lazy or just be jealous. I really don’t care. I was tired. Jay was really sweet and lay down with me for a few minutes and then he came in later once he finished working and woke me so I did not miss Ezra’s call.
Every night Ezra calls the parent he is not spending the night with at 9p. It is really nice. I enjoy talking to him and hearing his little voice even when he is obviously not in the mood to talk….which is most nights. He would rather turn the phone into an imaginary spaceship and fly it over his head. But it is a good habit to instill and I can usually get a few words in and questions answered. If it is obvious to me that he is simply not going to talk, I end the conversation. On those nights he is just waiting for you to say bye so he can “hit the red button.” I am not offended. He is 3.
Ezra’s dad, on the other hand is a highly offendable person. He is always looking for slights against him and when you are always looking for them, you always find them. Having raised another child, I understand that your kids can inadvertently hurt your feelings. They do not mean to, but on occasion they can. So I try to be sensitive to Ezra’s dad’s feelings (for ease, from here on out, I will call him Jack. It is not his name, although it is close enough). Unfortunately, it is not humanly possible for me to be as sensitive as he apparently needs me to be. It was not possible for me to be sensitive enough when we were married. A divorce did not help.
Last night the conversation started out the same as it always does with Ezra. I answer the phone and happily he screams into it, “MOMMY!!!” I know it is coming, so I either turn down the volume or hold the phone a foot away from my ear. The very next thing out of his little mouth was, “I wanna talk to Jay!” Followed by, “I NOT you best friend, Mommy.” Thanks for that, kiddo. I only grew you for 40 weeks and gave birth to you after 12 hours of labor. I talked to him and told him it made me sad that I was not his best friend and he changed it to, “No, I AM you best friend.” I told him that made me happy. And then he wanted to talk to Jay again. And again. Jay and Ezra talked for all of 30 seconds (Jay is not big on talking on the phone – even to 3 year olds). He said goodnight and a couple of other things and gave the phone back to me. Ezra asked for Jay a couple of more times before I hung up, but I told him he would be back home tomorrow and could talk to Jay all he wanted then and I said goodnight. Now, this is not the first time this has happened. Jay has talked to Ezra at bedtime several times before. But it always makes me nervous…and you are about to see why.
In addition to Jack being sensitive, he is also possessive. During the entire divorce I don’t think he referred to Ezra by name once, it was always “my son.” Like I would forget he fathered the kid or something. And as if Ezra were less my son than his. Well, as I mentioned, I grew him for nine months and gave birth to him, so I am pretty sure I have a bit of a claim to him as well. Once Jack found out I was living with Jay there was quite a backlash – just like I knew there would be. I would not have been surprised if he had peed on the kid before sending him home with me.
When I told Jack Jay and I were getting married, I was sure there would be another backlash. I did it one day when he came by our house to get Ezra. There was no way he was going to yell and curse at me with Jay there. And he didn’t. He was nice. He was congratulatory. He was supportive. But he is spiteful so I knew it would come eventually.
Last night after I hung up the phone with Ezra the text messages started. I was not really surprised. It happens occasionally and I never know when or why. He told me how much he appreciated my gross inconsideration, but it was really what he had come to expect from me. Once again I had completely ignored and invalidated his feelings. I had no clue what he was referring to. Although I knew I would regret it, I asked what he was talking about. Then I got a tirade about me being so inconsiderate of his feelings by letting Jay say good night to Ezra punctuated in between him berating me for getting married, the timeline of my relationship (which he does not even know because I did not tell him when I started seeing Jay – would you?), my not allowing him to meet and get to know Jay (this fight dates back to last September that he still hasn’t let it go), and my overwhelming inconsiderateness in allowing Jay to say goodnight to Ezra.
The texts were long. They were sarcastic. There was a lot of thanking me for living down to the expectations he has come to expect from me. They were just mean. And they were non-stop for a good hour. If I did not reply then I would get a text that said something like, “Oh, and now you don’t even bother to respond. Typical.” The post Dear A$$hole was written after a particularly nasty exchange from him one night. There is no right answer and there is no way to shut him up. He just goes on and on and on. And the more rational you are to him, the madder and more irrational he becomes. When he is drinking (and in the evenings – in my experience – he usually is) he gets exponentially worse. It is maddening.
I do not like to fight. I will give in to someone to avoid it almost every time. Once you have gotten my dander up, though, I am all on. If I have to fight, I will win. And, although Jack can be caustic, spiteful and mean, he has nothing on me verbally if I decide to take him on. I usually don’t, though. It is easier just to let it slide and walk away. I try to be diplomatic and I try not to hurt his feelings, but it is like trying to swim without getting wet. It cannot be done.
I must say that after dealing with him I have a greater appreciation for men and what they have to deal with. Once after hearing an argument or reading a text, Jay looked at me and asked, “Is he a girl or what?!” And that is exactly what it is like. The argument is never about what it is about. And he never, ever forgets an argument or a slight. I have had arguments with him where he has brought up stuff my daughter did to “disrespect” him when she was 13. He has huffed and puffed around the house before banging cabinets until I finally asked what is wrong and I swear on my life he would look at me and venomously say, “Nothing!” I dropped it after that, taking him at his word and, let me tell you, there are echoes of his sarcastic screams still reverberating throughout the universe. I was apparently supposed to know what was wrong. Read tea leaves or something, I don’t know.
Last night it was not about Jay saying goodnight to Ezra. It was about me getting married in 10 days. As the date approaches Jack will alternate in between being helpful (he has emailed me today offering to keep Ezra extra time next week since he “knows I will be busy with the wedding”) and being irrationally angry. He wants to be nice about it. The part of him that is a mature adult wants to be big and magnanimous about it, even if it is only to show how big a person he is. But the spiteful part of him cannot stand that I am getting married and he is still without a relationship. If he were dating someone seriously, he would be happy and not care about this. But he is not. I swear, I can always tell when he is happy and getting laid. He does not do this kind of thing then – or at least not as much.
Last night while I was trying to get him to shut the hell up and get off my phone, I told him that I was trying to be sensitive, but that his jealousy was something he would need to work on and deal with himself. I told him Jay was cognizant of his feelings and we both take them into consideration as much as we can. I told him I would never force a conversation with Jay on Ezra and only do it when Ezra is insistent. I told him he should appreciate that Jay is they type of man that Ezra is close with. And blah, blah, friggin blah….
And then I looked at all the bullshit I just wrote and asked Jay if this is how guys feel when they are talking a nutty emotionally irrational girl off a ledge. He said “oh, yeah – that is it exactly.” I was searching for the right words, trying not to offend, trying to be a diplomatic as possible, trying not to cause things to escalate and above all trying to extricate myself from this shit.
You know what I really wanted to say? Get the hell over it you jealous, spiteful, asshole. You are lonely and you don’t like that I have moved on. Deal with it. And I must admit that I had to stop myself from offering to send him all my pads and tampons. I am not using them right now and he obviously needs them. He might have gone apoplectic over that one. And would be a bit mean, though, now wouldn’t it? But one of these days, Alice, one of these days!