Too many thoughts, too little time.

Archive for September, 2012

Bad influences

This song came on the radio the other day, when my oldest informed me that he loved that song. I said, I liked it to, and I hoped they were watching the right people and learning the right things. My younger one piped up and said “Yeah mommy, we are. We are learning from Brad that you have to take care of your family. That you have to do a good job in school and get a good job. That you work hard and you can buy the things you want. And you don’t have to yell and scream all the time!” I asked the 8 yr old what he learned and he told me “We learned from daddy, that sometimes you will get fired for making one little mistake so why even bother trying to do a good job. And if you are in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, then you need to leave it and find a girl who will make you happy.” I should say here that their dad was fired from 10 jobs within 2 years. He had at least 4 girlfriends I know about while we still lived together, and in the 5 yrs he’s been gone, he’s lived with 5 different women, but moved 15 times. (At least)

I was mad. I told them, as calmly as I could that first of all, almost nobody gets fired for “one little mistake” and that if you are doing something you need to do your best, if you mess up you need to take responsibility for it and man up and take the consequence, and learn from it. I also told them that a relationship wouldn’t make them happy, if they loved a girl only for how happy she made them, then it was for the wrong reasons. That you can’t count on someone else making you happy, because people aren’t perfect, they will not always make you happy. I told them if they were dating a girl and found that she wasn’t right for them, then they should end the relationship, but, they shouldn’t live with every girl they meet, and if they are married, then it is their responsibility to go to their wife and say “we have a problem, will you help me fix it?” Not just replace the woman and think it was all better.

You know, I can accept most the unfairness of divorce. I can accept he doesn’t pay child support, and I deal with the fact he ignores the court order to provide them with health insurance. I have even come to terms with the fact he abused me, but the court still decided he was ok to have unsupervised visitation. However, I’m really struggling with the fact he is allowed to warp their minds with his bullshit. He is allowed to do these things that have lasting impact and I am allowed to do nothing to stop it. If they boys had a babysitter that taught them this garbage, or a teacher, everyone would support me changing that. But, he’s their dad, so, whatever he says is cool?

This is the same man who tried to take the kids from me based on the fact he THOUGHT the religion we were didn’t allow Christmas and he’s not ok with that, so, I shouldn’t have them. But I have to stand by silently while he tells them they don’t even have to try to do a good job at work? This is the same man who tried to take the kids from me on the basis of I didn’t feed them enough hamburger. Yes, I am serious. Nevermind the fact that for the last FIVE YEARS he has lived with women who already have kids and only a 2 bedroom apartment, or gotten his own one bedroom apartments. For FIVE YEARS our children have not had a bedroom or a bed when they visit their dad. Right now they sleep on an air mattress on the floor. You know who bought the air mattress? ME!

What I really want to tell the kids is the truth. I want to point out how stupid his advice is. He is THIRTY YEARS OLD. Why can he not manage to get his own place? Why can he not provide our kids with beds? He told them he’s buying another truck, so he will have two, one from driving every day and one for off roading. But he can’t buy them a freakin’ bed. Why can’t a 30 yr old keep a job? Why can’t he manage a relationship? I want to point out, that following Brad’s example = good job, money, 2 nice cars, 2 project cars, lots of travel, lots of fun things, a nice, new house, dinner out when you feel like it, museum memberships, good relationship, etc. Ex’s example=Sleeping on women’s couches until  you can convince them to have sex with you, then you are “in a relationship”, cars that leave you stranded all the time, being too broke for McDonalds. A long string of “true love” failed relationships, lots of yelling and fighting, being homeless, lots of run ins with the law, “vacations” that consist of driving an hour to the beach for the day then coming home. Oh, and not taking care of your children, so, you go to court for that as well.

I really hope they are both smart enough to realize Brad’s example is the one to follow.But, I still hate that ex is allowed to be such a bad influence and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I can’t even talk to him, because he truly believes what he says. He believes I have been the source of all his problems for the last 10 yrs. Even though, he’s been gone for 5, and if I’m such a bad person, then how come I’m coming out ahead. I don’t impact his life anymore at all, so, shouldn’t he start crawling out of the hole I supposedly pushed him in? 5 yrs should be enough time for a start.

Never Forget

I know this site will be flooded with posts about this today, but I’m adding mine anyway.

Today, for school, and history with the boys, I told them about what happened on this date eleven years ago. I couldn’t get through it without crying. Just every time I opened my mouth, I cried more. It’s amazing how something like this can move you. It’s been over a decade, I didn’t know anyone involved…and still, I’m crying.

You hear how everyone remembers where they were when the planes hit. I was in the shower. I was 16 and had just gotten home from running. I got in the shower, my mom burst through the door, and said “get out, now! We’re under attack!” I remember, very clearly, thinking “What the hell?” as I tried to rinse the soap out of my hair. She said a plane had hit the WTC. I know how to fly a plane, I know things go wrong, so, I said “well, it’s tragic but, attack?  How do you know it wasn’t an accident?” She was standing at the doorway…watching tv from there, and she screamed. And yelled “yes, I’m sure, the second one just hit!” I stood in her bedroom, mesmerized, crying, in nothing but a towel, soap still running out of my hair, for the next few hours. I couldn’t move, I didn’t want to miss anything, I was scared to miss anything. I didn’t get dressed until I saw the time lapsed images of the planes leaving the sky.

Even now, I get chills watching that video.

At the time, I wanted nothing more in life than to be a military fighter pilot. But, that day took quite a bit of wind out of my sails. If this happened again, I didn’t think I could shoot down Americans. I didn’t think I could kill 300 innocent people even if it meant saving 3,000. People going to work, families on vacation…and if this sort of thing happened again, the fighter pilots are supposed to take them down. And now, thinking about it…my husband is on a plane 4+ times a week. My kids are on a plane quite often. I know I couldn’t do it now. At 16, I thought maybe I could. Now I know I couldn’t.

It’s amazing how much can change in just a few minutes. The WTC buildings left the skyline, almost 3,000 people died in moments. Hundreds of men and women who went to work for a routine day that day were honored in funerals days and weeks later as heroes. In just moments the kiss goodbye at the gate was lost and traded for a drop off at the door and dozens of instances of procedures put into place to make us feel safer, but don’t do much. And, yes, every time I step onto a plane, I think about the fact a downed radio system may get me killed by our own military, but luckily, everyone now knows my 7 yr old doesn’t have a bomb in his work boots. A few moments completely changed travel for Americans. It made terrorism a word in the everyday language, and allowed parts of the Constitution to be practically thrown away. It was a horrible, sad, and scary day, that did exactly as intended. It sparked terror in the lives of almost everyone in the United States, and even other parts of the world…and has for the last decade.

Brad asked me today when I thought 9/11 would be declared a national holiday. Honestly, I don’t think it ever will be. Pearl Harbor was about the same scope. Americans attacked on their own soil. Thousands dead. Completely unsuspecting. A national tragedy that brought the country together. And, it’s faded or fading from people’s memory. 2 yrs ago, at the college, they had a moment of silence on December 7. When it was over, a group standing next to me asked what it was for. Another time,  on September 11, the professor asked where everyone was on Sept 11. A lot of people, my age and older remembered, things like “at work” or “at school” or “the dr with my son who just broke his arm”. Then, they asked a younger kid. He said he had no idea. He was only 6 or so when it happened. He remembered his parents very upset, but he couldn’t understand why. Even at 17. They didn’t know anybody there. It sucked, but he didn’t understand the people still crying.

It occurred to me, this is just history. To my kids, it won’t hold much more significance than Pearl Harbor, that won’t hold any more significance than the Civil War or the War of 1812. Yup…that sucked. What date again? I need to know it for the test! They will never understand getting goosebumps as you walk past that crater in the ground. They don’t know they are missing anything by not being allowed to watch daddy’s plane take off. It doesn’t seem odd to them that they aren’t allowed out of the car in the one spot at the airport, by the fence, where you can watch the flights.

I don’t know that my long rambling post really has a point. I’m just talking, trying to express myself, away from the kids, who got upset, because they couldn’t understand why mommy was crying. Mommy was crying for everything that was lost that day. Things that they never even knew existed.

It’s No Big Deal…Or Is It?

Brad and I have a sort of rule in our relationship. The phrase “It’s no big deal” isn’t allowed. I’m sure when I first told him I hated that phrase, he thought it was, well, no big deal. But, it was/is a big deal to me.

“It’s no big deal” is dismissive. It shuts down coversation. It puts the upset person on the defensive All things that I’ve never heard as being conductive to a good relationship. It is not really a good answer for anything.

If Brad comes to me and says “I am really upset that you did XYZ.” and my immediate response is “I don’t see what the big deal is”, than what is the harm in me giving in and taking care of the problem the way he would like. If I go to him and say “I’m tired of you always picking where we eat for dinner. I feel like you don’t care what I want.” he has two choices, 1. Listen to me, think about why he never lets me pick what’s for dinner, try to understand that it makes me feel bad, and be more careful next time to make sure he at least gets my opinion. Or, 2. He can say “it’s just dinner, it’s no big deal.” which doesn’t fix the problem, makes me feel worse, makes me upset and start trying to defend myself, reenforces the idea that my feelings and opinions don’t matter. If it is really, truely, not any big deal, than why can’t he let me pick sometimes? This is not an issue we have had, and it is obviously oversimplified, but it makes my point.

Could this backfire? Could this be bad? I suppose, in a relationship where one person is controlling or manipulative, it could be. Someone who was controlling could claim EVERYTTHING is a big deal, or they could demand their spouse have no friends at all, because it was a big deal to them. I  can see this not working for them, but, I certainly hope, the person being controlled would be able to explain why it is a big deal to have friends. Obvviously, not everything will work for everyone, but, it’s been a good rule of thumb for us. This is an issue that has been on my mind, partially because after I explained a situation to Brad, he told me what a good rule he thought it was.

I recently saw a former friend post 4 facebook stauses in a row…all talking about her friend, and he is just a friend and his wife is a psycho jealous old woman and their friendship is “no big deal” and she can just get over it.

Really? If it is no big deal, if there isn’t anything there, if ALL they do is discuss the old days in high school, and his wife is seriously upset about it, then, why can’t this woman drop it? Obviously it is a big deal to the wife. If it is no big deal for former friend, than what is the big deal with leaving the guy alone? Former friend continued on, trying to get all her friends to comment, and boy, did they. Things like “whatever, that’s so stupid”, “men and women can be friends!”, “jealous bitch”, “what, doesn’t she trust her own husband?”, and “maybe if she wasn’t so controlling she wouldn’t be worried he was out looking”.

Funny thing about marriage, nobody knows completely what is going on except the people in it. So, maybe the wife doesn’t trust her husband, and maybe she has a good reason. Maybe she knows her husband can’t be just friends. Maybe she is “controlling” because he’s shown with any freedom, that he will do something wrong.

I just wanted so badly to reply “If it’s no big deal, than get out of their relationship and their problems.” I didn’t, but, I feel more and more like I am the odd one out. I would not be comfortable knowing I was causing issues in the marriage of someone I considered “a very good friend”.

I realize banning the phrase “it’s no big deal” might be a bit much. But, if you find yourself tempted to say it, please think about it. Is it really no big deal? Then why can’t you do something else? Are you saying it to be dismissive of the other person? Because you know you don’t really have a good reason to continue, or because you know they’ve made a valid point? Are you putting them on the defensive because you know you don’t really have a defense? If it does matter to you, then please, explain, talk, reason, negotiate, compromise, but please don’t use “it’s no big deal” as a polite “shut up”.

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