I told my college kid how I felt the other day. It wasn’t easy, but it had to be said. We’ve always had an incredibly honest relationship. The unconditional love is there so at times, we’ve been more honest than most mom/kid relationships. It’s grown since the divorce and it’s been a good thing to have. Sometimes it’s tricky when someone calls you out, but there’s a deeper connection when you bond even more because of it. So that’s why I was so honest below.
Here’s the backdrop: You see, he could have come home this past weekend when his brother did because they had a small university break. Instead, he kept putting me off everyday saying he’d let me know when he was coming. And he never came. Instead we texted, talked on the phone occasionally and then yesterday, he face-timed me for over an hour which was great! But that’s all normal for us.
And I’m good with that, although I did miss him being here since I was cooking all their favorite foods since college food apparently, in their gourmet opinion, stinks. LOL
But he was caught between the girlfriend and me (Mom) and I would never be like my ex mother-in-law, so I didn’t push him about coming home. Until last night.
So their father calls, first time in 10 days that he reaches out to the kids at all. He tells them both that he’s coming home next weekend and that he could come up to college to take them to dinner, but he’d prefer they drive home and stay with him and his parents. Now mind you, my older kid’s biggest complaint was that he didn’t want to drive home to only turn around the next day to go back up to college (it’s less than 2 hrs away). And I understood.
UNTIL…That same kid calls me last night to tell me his absent dad will be here next weekend and he’s coming home because he feels guilty that his dad lives so far away and he’s making the effort to see them. And in my head, I snapped. I couldn’t help myself. I tried counting to 10 but it didn’t work. I tried biting my tongue but I couldn’t hold off.
“So you mean to tell me that because Dad is coming home next weekend that you’re going to drive home for one night?”
“Yeah, because Mom, he’s making the effort and we haven’t seen him in more than 3 weeks.”
“He said he’d take you out to dinner so you didn’t have to drive home to see him and his parents.”
“I know, but I feel guilty that he’s driving so far to see us.”
Silence. Because I want to scream. Maybe it hit a nerve and I’m overly sensitive. Maybe there’s some weird competition in my head that my former husband is winning. Maybe I’m just tired of the All Hail Daddy syndrome because I’m here. I do everything and the kids know it, but if their Dad makes the least bit of effort, he’s regaled. Maybe that’s what comes out of being an absent father? The joy when he chooses to see them even after weeks of being dismissive, absent and disconnected? And meanwhile, here I am, sending money and favorite foods. I have driven up and back (in the same day!) on numerous occasions in order to bring them something or help or just take them out to eat. I’m on call whenever they need me…I’m attentive, loving, helpful and I feel like I just got shit on.
“So you’re driving all that way for one night stay to see Dad?” The sarcasm was barely veiled. I couldn’t help myself.
“Mom are you trying to make me feel guilty because I didn’t come home this weekend?”
“Guilty? No. I’m just trying to understand what the difference is. Neither your girlfriend nor roommate are there now, but you still aren’t coming back home because it’s too long of a drive for an overnight visit. Is it that you don’t want to come home?”
I knew I stepped over the line and in hindsight, I wish I’d kept my mouth shut but I was on it now. I wanted him to hear what he was saying to me which was “it’s too long of a drive for an overnight but yet, when Dad summons him home, he runs.”
“Mom it’s not like that and you know it.”
“I’m sorry honey, but I just have to ask. Because I’ll be honest. My feelings are hurt. You complain about your Dad all the time, that he never contacts you, etc. And suddenly, when he does, you run. And here I am, always Mom, always here and yet, you complain that the trip is too long for an overnight visit, because you’d have to pack up your computer and stuff, but you’ll do it for Dad. I just don’t get it. It makes me feel sad.”
“Mom, I love you. I’m sorry. This weekend just got away from me. When I’m with Dad next weekend, I’ll make sure to see you.”
“Ok. And I love you too.”
We got of the phone and I was hurt. I’ll be honest. It stunk and I felt badly on so many levels. And I haven’t reached out to him again because I don’t know what else to say.