As Bobcat said, I know where my family is, there's just someone else there doing it. It's been that way since I moved out. I relocated, and another woman has been there every time I go to see my kids.
It's reminding me of how the actor playing Darren on "Bewitched" changed with no explanation. It's like I punched out and she punched in to take over laundry, dishes, serving dinner at the table and making home repairs.
Like it's not bad enough there's another woman involved at all. And has been involved for a very long time. I get to show up twice a week and be reminded that someone else took over my family after I fucked it up so badly. Not that I made the mess all by myself, but that's another story.
I've been having a lot of mixed emotions about my situation the last several weeks. I don't want to be jealous of my ex and everything she's given him and my children, but I am.
The kids went to visit their paternal grandparents for two weeks. When I arrived to pick them up after they'd returned, I saw that all the house windows had been replaced with dual pane jobbers. Something I'd wanted for a long time, but we'd never had the funds to make that happen.
So, here I am, working 9 to 11 hours a day, on my feet, in a kitchen which leaves me tired all the time. I miss my kids desperately and I'm too tired to play with them when I see them during the week. I see them 6 hours a week when they don't spend the weekend with me but they're with their dad's girlfriend all day when school is out.
She took them shopping for birthday gifts for their dad, but they didn't even know it was my birthday until I told them the morning of.
I've been summarily dismissed.
I was at work today, filling rice bowls and thinking about how much Christmas is going to suck this year. My kids are going to get some extravagant gift from her and their dad, while I'll be giving them something inexpensive or something I made. They'll hug their new mom, tell her she's the best and shrug off the sad little stuff they got from me.
And all of a sudden, I had the very clear understanding of why some parents choose to move away and do the long-distance parent thing. It hurts so much to see them with someone else. If I relocated, there wouldn't be anymore back and forthing. They could be in one place all week long. They wouldn't have to tell their friends "I have to go to my mom's now." or "I can't sleep over I'm going to my mom's tonight." They wouldn't have to listen to me tell them I can't afford to get them earbuds or another Xbox game.
(I'm going to interject with a confession. I almost didn't move here. I almost stayed in California with my children. I realized last week that I should have listened to my instincts and stayed on the west coast. This entire venture was doomed from the start. Making that admission to myself was incredibly difficult.)
Then my mind wandered off into thinking about the possibility of just leaving them to have their family and I wouldn't have to watch. I wouldn't have to be reminded of my massive failure.
So, on my break, I took to Facebook and said "I'm
having a particularly difficult time dealing with the divorce today.
It's one of those days where I wonder if it wouldn't be easier if I
removed my self from the picture. Then they could be a family but I
wouldn't have to watch."
There was an outpouring of wonderful comments, messages and texts from many people in my life, for which I am very, very grateful. It brought me back into a better head space and I was able to go along with my afternoon with my children. They brought a couple of friends with them to my place. We had a nice swim and a nice dinner and a generally nice time.
My son still asks to go "home", when he gets tired. They'll come stay with me this weekend for the first time in almost a month (the trip to see their grandparents ate up two of my weekend and then the four of them went to an anime convention in San Antonio the weekend after they got back) and I know I'll have to deal with that.
I'm still very sad, but I'm getting myself prepared to be hopeful.