As we were riding down the road my daughter dropped the first hint. “Mom, that looks like the apartments my sister and her mom live in.” Grabbing the steering wheel firmly, I kept jamming to the music, trying desperately to block that comment out. I knew the only way she would have any clue about where her sister and my husband’s ex wife lived is if my husband had taken her there and I wasn’t ready to deal with that. I just wanted to have a peaceful, fun time with my girls. As we continued to ride down the road she began to talk about how she liked Golden Corral chocolate covered strawberries. And then she went on to say how her dad had taken her and her sister there after they hung out with her sister and mom at their apartment. In that instant, all of my energy and desire to just make this a great day for me and my girls drained from me. Looking straight ahead I was determined not to let the tears flow. And even though I knew the answer would pain me, I could not stop myself from asking, “did you just say that you had gone with your dad to your sister’s house to hang out with her and her mom?”
“Yes. And they have a dog…”
Turning my head to look out the driver’s door window, as my daughter went on and on about the details of their visit, because I could no longer stop the rush of emotion that took over me, I whispered, “wow, that really hurts.”
My husband and I had been together for the past ten years and were only separated for three months and he had decided to focus his energies on rebuilding his relationship with his first wife. The woman I watched him fight tirelessly with over the years and complain about how evil and mean she was. This was the one he ran to when I left.
Honestly, I probably should have seen it coming and I thought back to the exchange that he and I had a few weeks ago and everything suddenly became crystal clear. You see, a few weeks ago we had gone back and forth about his unwillingness to drive to Windsor to pick our daughter up for her visits with him. I reminded him that I watched him drive to Raleigh to pick his other children up and drive to Rocky Mount to drop them off for years. And, Windsor, is a much shorter distance, than Raleigh, by far, so I could not understand his insistence that I trek to Rich Square so that HE could spend time with his daughter. However, in an effort to “do the right thing” I would drop everything I was doing, jump in the car, and make the trek. On some occasions, I would take her all the way to Roanoke Rapids in order to make things convenient for him and my daughter. On the one occasion where I just refused to drive to Rich Square he did not come to get her and accused me of denying him his right to see her.
Well, when I reminded him of my observations, he snapped and told me not to bring his first wife and daughter’s into this! Stunned and confused by his reaction is an understatement. When had he become a champion for his first wife? While his reaction was a blow to my psyche, I knew at some point I had to face reality! His disdain for me was strong. And, with that realization I added another lock on my heart.
Driving down the road with my girls I thought back to that exchange and the last ten years. When I encouraged him throughout our relationship to talk to his ex wife he refused. When I tried to build a relationship with his ex-wife she acted as though I didn’t exist. And, she never acknowledged our daughter’s presence or existence as a sister to her children. In fact, on her daughter’s recent financial aid application she only listed my husband as having two children, theirs. Now, within three months of me being out of the picture, they were carrying on as though the ten years between us never existed. And as if that wasn’t enough, they decided that my daughter was going to be a part of their reunification process. “Wow, that really hurts.”
Unfortunately, none of my supporters were very sympathetic when I turned to them. Quite frankly they were all shocked that I was surprised by these most recent events. Needless to say there was no sympathy party for Tonza. When I told my mom, she simply responded, “I’m not surprised at all” and proceeded to ask me about some t-shirts she was trying to sell for me. My friends kept asking me what the hell was going on with me and why couldn’t I find that fight I had in the courtroom when it came to dealing with him. What would it take for me to realize he would steam roll over me to get what he wanted? And sometimes this “we are the world” attitude just wasn’t realistic.
Well, actually, it went more like, “Tonza, put your damn big panties on and get your head out of the clouds!!!!”
I grappled with my feelings and emotions about this recent turn of events throughout the day and night, and even, shed a few more tears. Tears are my way of cleansing the soul. And, while I am still blown away, I know that I will not let this latest stab define, or, defeat me.
I woke up, with my daughter’s surrounding me in our hotel room, and heard God’s whispers to DIG DEEPER in my quest for peace, love, and happiness.
Peace and Love