He’s gone…

What is a mother without her child? Miserable, that’s what.
It all started when The Ex bought MonoBoy the car the first week of January. Remember his reaction to a discussion about insurance and vowing that he would see to it that I would pay for whatever sin he assumed I committed?
He’s kept his word. Slowly over the past few months, and then all at once, I lost my son to him. The first big shift I remember was the wisdom teeth. We agreed on a date for MonoBoy’s surgery, but he “forgot” that conversation and planned a family trip to the lake. MonoBoy was furious with me that he would miss a trip to the lake. Forget the fact that the lake house has been in his family 150 years, and they’ve only gone twice in seven years. Forget that we planned the surgery two months in advance. I was to blame and I battled the two of them for two weeks. And MonoBoy’s first words to me after surgery were “I hate you.”
About a month later, another fun trip was planned and MonoBoy skipped a basketball tournament to go. Never mind the fact that his dad was actually the assistant coach, there was fun to be had. The trip included golf, and that seemed to spark a new interest and a new bond. Soon MonoBoy started spending the night at his dad’s for early golf adventures with his step-brothers. He quit basketball and somehow, it was portrayed that he no longer enjoyed it and he only played as a sense of obligation to me.
For a while he was in and out, but now he is gone. Completely. He doesn’t visit or check in. The last time he spent time with me was on our shopping trip for his brother’s birthday. For the first time in his life, I didn’t sign all of his school forms. I didnt get to tell him he looks nice in the new clothes I bought for this first week of school.
His dad now has a job and a wife that we like and a stable life. It’s new and exciting for MonoBoy to have what he has always dreamed of. A dad that can provide for him. A dad that can actually father him.
I get that this is probably a healthy thing for a teenage boy. Perhaps he can leave behind his depression and start to flourish in school, instead of isolating himself and sabotaging his grades. These are my hopes for him.
I just thought that I would be a part of it. He’s my baby. I have been there for every part of his life. From the colic to the sports to the girlfriend problems. I have been there telling him how wonderful he is and how much he means to me. But he’s gone. He doesn’t need that from me and none of it matters anymore. To him.
I know that I have to let him go and experience this. I won’t breath a word to him about how I feel. I won’t make him feel guilty or feel responsible for me in any way. I will suffer in silence. But I am REALLY suffering. I can hardly breath at all.
Friends tell me that it’s temporary. My Ex hasn’t made a permanent change. Things are going well for him, so he is able to play this part. Eventually the monster will surface because it’s who he is. I don’t know. I remember the monster that he was and the things that he did, but I also remember the guy that I met and married, and I suspect that he’s acting much more like that guy right now. 
And that guy is holding true to his word. Not just the vow he made in January, but the one he made during the divorce when I repossessed the truck (he first time). He promised me that one day he would be back on top and he would be looking down on me and laughing. 
I believe that he is because he has always enjoyed my pain. And this is a far greater pain than I could ever imagine. They say that having a child is like watching a piece of your heart walk around outside your body. And now my heart is broken.
(I typed this into my phone through tear-soaked eyes. It’s raw. It’s real. I won’t go back and proofread. I apologize.)

MonoBoy will babysit

Last night The Ex called MonoBoy to ask him to stay at his house tonight to “babysit” his stepbrothers (two boys – a high school freshman and a 7th grader).  He and his wife are going to the Rodeo in the Big City and need someone to watch her kids because they will get home late (*cough* *drunk* *cough*).

But hold up just a minute.

Let’s rewind a few years to the beginning of this relationship when my kids were both in middle school (one in 7th grade and one in 8th grade).  Because The Ex was in the phase of his relationship where he tries to prove that he is an awesome dad, he insisted on having his scheduled time, despite pleas from MonoBoy to stay home because of his mono.  The had just moved into a two-story house in a new neighborhood.  His furniture consisted of lawn chairs and blow-up mattresses.  (Why furnish something that you will be evicted from before the six-month mark?)  The house was nice, but didn’t yet hold the comforts of home.

One night during visitation, the happy new couple decided to attend a local fundraising event.  An annual event that we used to attend during our marriage.  An event that served free alcohol and often resulted in me being drug to a variety of bars after the event ended.  Fun for him, not so much for me.

Around 10:00pm, the boys called me from the front lawn, refusing to go back into the house.  Their walkie-talkies had picked up interference, and in their minds, it was straight out of a horror movie.  I went to the house, walked up the stairs, retrieved the walkie-talkies and turned them off.  I looked in the closets to assure them that no one was hiding and waiting to get them.

It wasn’t enough.  They begged to come home.  I contacted my attorney, but he said that unless they were in immediate danger, I could not remove them from the home without risk of contempt charges.  I encouraged them to call their father to ask him to come home.  I asked them to let me call him, but they refused because they didn’t want him to know that they called me.  He would be furious.

So I settled with parking my car one street over and letting them call me whenever they were scared.  Which was about every five minutes.  Finally, a little after 1:00am, I decided that enough was enough, and I was going to take my chances with the police and contempt charges, and bring my children home to get some sleep.  As I pulled around the corner, the happy, tipsy couple was arriving at the house.  Without a care in the world, since they apparently thought it was appropriate to leave my boys alone in an unfamiliar setting while they drank the night away “for charity.”

What’s changed now?  It was okay to leave kids unsupervised and scared then, but not okay now?  I guess they learned their lesson?  At the expense of my children?   Heaven forbid that HER children suffer in the safety of their own home that they are familiar and comfortable in!  And did anyone ask my opinion about leaving my teenager in charge of other kids over night?  I mean, he’s been in trouble for breaking the rules how many times over the past two months?  But, hey, let’s put him in charge of a kid that’s just a year younger and goes to the same high school.

Of course, part of me wonders if this is just another excuse to get MonoBoy to spend the night at his house.  MonoBoy did tell LoverBoy that dear-old-dad said that he could come too, if he wanted.  That’s so sweet and personal it gave me chills.  I was just so surprised when he passed on the “offer.”  Besides it being an afterthought, tonight he will be in the starting lineup of his Varsity soccer game.  His first official Varsity start.  Guess Daddy-o won’t see it.

And neither will his brother, since he will be babysitting.

Donuts make it all better

This morning I drug MonoBoy to talk to a counselor.  I do mean “drug.”  I didn’t tell him about the appointment initially because who wants to hear complaining for an entire month?  Instead, I broke the news this morning when he was already in the car.  There was a moment that I feared he might bail out of the moving vehicle.  To say that he wasn’t happy is like saying that water is wet.  Duh.

He actually REFUSED to get out of the car when we arrived at the office.  Exasperated, I headed on up to the office because by that time, I needed the counseling session myself.  Eventually, he emerged from the car (purely out of guilt) and came into the office.  We chatted very briefly with the counselor together, and it really seemed to go along fine.  Although I doubt that he will ever return on his own fruition.

I had visited with the guy during MonoBoy’s standoff and told him that he was struggling with depression, gave him my opinion of the causes, and admitted that within the past week, MonoBoy had started opening up about the issues and showing great strides toward improvement.  Later during our joint discussion, he asked MonoBoy, “On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate your level of self-esteem with ten being the highest?”

“Four.”

I wanted to burst into tears.  How in the world could this be?  Is it genetic?  God knows that I have self-esteem around that range, but this kid is good at EVERYTHING.  He should be riding high on the self-esteem cloud of Level Ten.

You know immediately where my self-esteem sends my mind.  I HAVE FAILED AS A MOTHER.  Then my mind reflects on all of those addiction shows where the addict says, “It all started when my parents separated when I was nine.  I was using crystal meth by the time I was sixteen.”  Heck, even the chick on TLC’s “Love, Lust, or Run” blamed her outlandish dress on her parents divorce.

Hello! Outlandish dressing?  MonoBoy was sitting next to me in jeans with holes in the knees and a hoodie covered by my old denim jacket from the Michael Jackson era.  Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

The good news is that three Dunkin’ Donuts later, MonoBoy was speaking to me again.  Yes, donuts make it all better.  Just ask my big butt.

 

Whore Island

You know, you think you’ve evolved and healed from the past until that one day when are selling wristbands at a ballpark and you see a horse-faced girl walk up.  Suddenly, your heart starts to race and the world starts to spin out of control and you have to lean on the wall behind your for support.  Am I going to throw up?  Pass out?  Jump on top of her and choke her?

Yep, you guessed it.  It was HER, Ms. Greener Pastures.  The one that he cheated on me with.  And then subsequently cheated on her.  Because sometimes karma really does get it right.

Luckily, Horse-Face spotted me prior to getting to our table and consciously decided to buy her wristband from one of the other sellers.  That’s probably a good thing because I might have been tempted to quote Will Ferrell in Anchorman:

Whore Island

Nope, no evolving happening over here.  Not today.

(Side Note:  I also got to see the girl he cheated on her with AND my former best friend who thinks they are both A-Okay.  THIS TOWN AND THIS BALLPARK ARE TOO SMALL!!!  Also, it’s no surprise that neither of my boys play baseball anymore.)

Deliverance

You might be wondering where The Ex has been since MonoBoy’s return.  You know he’s always lurking somewhere.  To an outsider, it might appear that he is actually making progress and living a normal, healthy life.  Really making an effort for his kids.

He goes to church on Sundays.  TO CHURCH!  And it doesn’t burn down, if you can imagine.  (Ummm, hello?  Big Guy?  What the heck, dude?)  I can’t tell you the number of times I pleaded with him to go to church.  I even succeeded a few times, but regretted it almost each and every time.  It would end up that the boys and I would be sitting in the car in the driveway, waiting and waiting, as the start time for the service grew near.  We were ALWAYS late.  And he was always griping the entire way there.  I got tired of waiting and left him a couple of times.

He’s holding down his job and wearing new clothes.  He even paid off his old bounced checks to our hair stylist and started getting regular haircuts again, where he tells her stories about the boys and his involvement with them.

He has made an effort to make it to the boys’ sporting events, even sitting in the cold to watch soccer.  AAU Basketball is about to begin and MonoBoy informed me that his dad is going to be the Assistant Coach.  Wow, right?  He must have even reformed his racist ways.

Suckers.  I can’t believe you bought that outward BS.  He put on this dog-and-pony show with that horse-faced girl that he left me for.  Oh sure, it’s absolutely killing me that he is running around looking all legitimate around town.  ABSOLUTELY KILLING ME, do you hear?

But I occasionally get a phone call that reminds me who he is.  Like just last weekend, after AAU tryouts, he called me and asked if there was something going on with MonoBoy that he didn’t know about.  You wanna be more specific?

You know how I have an ongoing debate about what to tell him and whether or not it will later bite me in the butt.  With sharp teeth.  But since he was asking, I decided that I should tell.  I told him that MonoBoy seemed to be struggling with depression.  I said that the girlfriend was an issue and that he had lost focus on school and basketball and that his grades were suffering.  He’s dressing differently and wants to run away to New York for fashion design instead of going to college.  I even told him that I have scheduled an appointment for him to talk to a counselor.

He asked me the counselor’s name and where I had found him.  I told him that he was referred by their former counselor.  “Their what?  What kind of shit is this?  I didn’t know about a former counselor.”  And here we go, I thought.

But Bambi was in the background, so he refrained from starting a fight.  (Did I mention how much I prefer having her around?  You would be AMAZED at the difference in our conversations when she is within earshot.)  He asked the guy’s name again and repeated it for her benefit.  She must have given him the thumbs up because he said, “Yeah, yeah, I think I’ve heard of that guy.  Well, I think that I should talk to him before the appointment to tell him what’s going on.”

Oh?  And just what would you say?

Y’all, as he spoke about the change in MonoBoy and the underlying cause of the change, I envisioned him sitting in a white robe while his buddies burned a cross in the background.  He said that MonoBoy just needs to give up basketball and switch to baseball with the normal folk.  He used many colorful explanations of the root cause of the problems.  And he thinks that if MonoBoy lived with him for about six months, he could really straighten him out.  In fact, he wishes that he could kidnap him for a month this summer.  He’ll dress him in jeans and boots and take him out into the woods with a couple of his country buddies.

What is this Deliverance?  (I considered adding the movie clip of the famous “Squeal Like a Pig” scene, but I thought it would be in poor taste.)