Friday, May 22, 2009

Remembering my Dad

Today is “my day” - where my mom takes the kids all afternoon. And I did go to my Al-Anon meeting and a nice lunch with my office mates, but here I am on the computer searching for a bed and sheet set for my husband because I feel bad he has to sleep on the couch at the condo.

What is wrong with me?

He said he would have to get some furniture this weekend, and I said that was ok. But if he takes a bed, that means that I won’t have a bed. I have been sleeping with my son and daughter anyway, but still the idea of not having my own bed – a bed that I carefully picked out and spent months finding the right bedding for – seems terrible to me. I guess there are worse things.

Today, I drove by a school and saw a father dropping his daughter off. I see that every day at my kid’s school, but it was mid-day on the way to my meeting and the image stayed with me. The father was so playful and loving with his daughter – the way my dad used to be with me. He was laughing with her and then pulled her up onto his shoulders. It brought back a lot of memories and emotions in me.

My kids don’t have this with their dad, and it breaks my heart. I feel so sad for them. My dad comes every Sunday, but it’s not that same day-to-day bond that kids normally get with a dad that is really close to them and attune to their needs.

I can not remember a time when my husband has every taken the kids to school. I suppose, to be honest, he has offered a few times. But I never felt like he really wanted to do it, and it just seemed like it would be more work. He’s picked my son up from school a few times and taken him to lunch. But it has been because my son has asked to him. Usually multiple times.

There is no equality like I have seen with other families at the school, where the mom and dad help each other out. My husband doesn’t take them to birthday parties, or doctor appointments, or counseling, or taekwondo, dance, soccer – any of it. Everything is on me.

I have loved being with my children. It’s not that I don’t love doing all of this for them. I just feel sad that they don’t have that in both parents. I see the dads at practice and at school and I feel jealous. I feel a sort of longing for that level of commitment from their dad.

I remember once, at school, one of the mothers' asked me pointedly why she never sees my husband. We have been at the Montessori for nearly 3 full years now, so it was a valid question. Her husband is one of those dads who is there at least 40% of the time, doing his part. They both work. I felt a stabbing in my heart. It made me realize he should be there. It shouldn’t all be on me.

But when my husband has been using, I have always been scared to let him alone with the kids. I never want to take the risk of him driving with our kids in the car.

I remember once last year, he had been drinking and I went into the other room to put our daughter down for a nap. I shouldn’t have left our son alone with him I suppose, but I had no inkling that they would go anywhere. When I came out after getting her asleep, I could not find my son anywhere. I was panicked. My car was gone (his didn’t have any car seats even at that time). I called my husband in an absolute freaked-out rage and told him if he didn’t get home immediately, I would call the police.

It turned out he had driven down to the park with our son. The park is about 4 blocks away. Why he felt the need to get into a car with our son after drinking – to drive to a place he could have walked to, I will never know. Why he left without telling me, I can not understand.
Sometimes I just feel completely exhausted by all of this. I feel like I am trying to control my children’s safety and well being in a situation where I have absolutely no control.

I have tried to control everything in our life together. I think a lot of the reason I have stayed in this marriage is because I felt like I would have more control over my children. But the reality is I have no control over the actions of my husband. None. And it scares me to death.

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