Separation Eve!

Tomorrow it will be exactly one year since AH and I officially split.  Whilst it was the 8th when he said, “nothing’s changed, nothing’s going to change”, we shared the same bed for another week or so, and didn’t tell the kids until the 22nd.

So that’s the day my heart broke a little.  Not for AH – he made the choice without ever acknowledging we BOTH had issues that needed addressing.  So he didn’t then, and still doesn’t, get my empathy.

But M11’s face crumbling as he heard the news split me in two.  At that stage, I told myself, they will never EVER be put through this again.

Thankfully, a year on, it’s not come to that.  I don’t miss him.  I definitely don’t regret not losing that extra child.  But I do regret that we couldn’t make it work.  That we didn’t have the strength required to stop being so stubborn and selfish.  My kids deserved better.

But, hell, I deserved better from a husband.  So as callous as this might be, the silver lining is that my kids won’t see a dysfunctional, toxic relationship between their parents and think that that’s ‘normal’.  No!  They are to know there’s much, much more!

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Busy weekend with Neighbours Day street party yesterday afternoon.  I love cul-de-sac living as kids rode on the street, while the adults mingled.  Having good people nearby alleviates some of the ill-feeling I have for being stuck here.  My parents arrive in 3 more sleeps which will help even more.

Day spent getting an allowance through our welfare system for firewood (there’s just not $740 sitting in my wallet at the moment).  HATED having to ask for help.  This will be paid back.  It’s the first time all year that I’ve been given state assistance and I shouldn’t be embarrassed; but it’s not my upbringing.  Cleaned the outside of my windows in readiness for Mum’s visit … now just the inside.

Had asked AH if he wanted all 3 kids on Wed, seeings I have them Thurs onwards for Easter (he’ll get them next year).  He texts he’s got a workshop so will only get back at 7 pm, so can he have them Tues.  This means M9 will miss out on his 1-on-1; and he cries when he hears this.  Having had late nights on Thurs, Fri and Sat, he blows this out of proportion and takes to hurting his sister.  Right about the time AH calls to say goodnight. M9 gives AH a half-truth so AH asks me if he can come meet him on the street.  I wouldn’t interfere on his night, and I’m not going to set a precedent by letting him do it tonight … especially when M9 hasn’t let AH know he started the fight and was bullying Ms6.  And this is to be rewarded with a visit from AH?!?!

Positives:

  1. firewood ordered;
  2. camping nearly organised; and
  3. a visit from a friend I haven’t seen for a while!

Day after the night before

First things first.  Go and apologise to neighbour for my outburst.  For letting things get to me so that I reacted.  Mutual apologies all round – she acknowledges she knows that [P] has done stuff to hurt me and didn’t mean for it sound that way.

I’m sick of being judged by people who don’t know the whole story … and don’t bother to educate themselves.  I have no issue if people don’t want to know my side, his or ANY side… so long as they don’t then comment.  Either to me or, even more cowardly, behind my back.

Anyway, we’d discussed last night going into town together today to a street festival.  We’re both still keen (yes, I may blow, but generally, if the other person is able to see my reason for getting upset and acknowledge it, then it’s history for me.  Sorry, but that acknowledgement is vital for me.  You don’t have to agree with my point of view, but it’s important to at least understand where I’m coming from).

Fun day in town with her and her 2 kids, Ms6 and another neighbour.  It’s a stunning day – the sun is back.

Boys are out on a fishing trip with AH.  In 2 days, we’ll have been officially separated for a year.   Him taking them out today is the first proper excursion he’s done (ie just him and them: no Grolsch; none of his mates; not organised by anyone else … he actually had the idea, bought the tickets, organised the date).  To date, he hasn’t even taken them to a park (they get told to go by themselves when they’re at Grolsch’s place, but no adults go with).

It was a major issues for me in our marriage:  once he finally finished studying, we were meant to start doing that ‘family’ stuff (part of the reason for moving to my home country of New Zealand is the accessibility and ease to do cheap, outdoors stuff).  What he actually did when he finished studying was … sleep … stay in bed, sleep … play on the tablet.  Never suggested a plan for the day.

So YAY!  One year on.  He’s stepped up!  He’s doing what he said he would.

Shame it’s too late for us.  But hopefully it’s the start of him being a more pro-active father to his kids.

I got Ms6 back at 12 today.  She tells me she ‘fooled me about being in bed’ last night.  She wasn’t.  Grolsch and Sputnik were at AH’s (seriously!  Can you not have one day without them and just enjoy the company of your children?!).  Apparently she went to bed after the call.  So only ½-an-hour later than agreed time.

Speaking with a friend today at the streef festival, it’s the whole *choosing your battles* scenario.  Is poor sleeping while on his shift worth getting so worked up about?!

BBQ with other neighbours once we got back from town.  Ms6 came with but extremely shy and clingy; bordering on rude at times (her manners have disappeared).  She melts down at home.  Big time!  A 45-minute stand-off where she refuses to apologise or go to bed.  Tells me she wants to live with Daddy all the time and she won’t call me and she won’t miss me.  After a mock call to [well, anyone], she lets me know she doesn’t want that.  Eventually, I’m able to calm her down.  Within 5 minutes, she’s in the land of nod.

I call the boys at 9 pm to see if they’re off the boat.  They’re driving home so won’t be getting to bed until 9.30.  They’ve loved the experience, which is great.  Definitely now want to find a wealthy man with a boat … for my boys obviously 🙂

Positives:

  1. Apologising and moving on;
  2. delicious BBQ with neighbours; and
  3. catching up with good friend, albeit briefly.

Crazy! I just might be.

I just flipped out.  Lost it completely!

Great night with the neighbours, but at the end of it, the hostess (that I’d worked with on the school’s 2013 and 2014 Xmas carnival (taking it from a $3k to a $22k profit) was telling me how awesome AH’s-ex-colleague’s-missus was, and the school needed more people like her.   Apparently “10 more parents like [P] would be great”.

I should have shut up.  I should have let it slide over. But I didn’t.  I heard praise for the woman who’d gone behind my back and told others to ‘watch out for me’ and ‘my dramas’ … who’d also made a year-on-year LOSS for the school.  She took charge of inflatables (blow-up, cheap toys that all the kids buy).  Her day job is within 500m of the supplier who would do a deal.  Yet she made LESS this year than last.  How could that happen … on the most popular, reliable stall?!  She knew that P and I had issues (her words), but she brought it up and expected me to take it!

The hostess has no idea what P has done behind my back. Unfortunately, the person who P did the most badmouthing to leaves 15 mins before this conversation starts.  Why didn’t I just leave?  Why do I have to fight my point?!  Why can’t I just let it go?!

Re-re-wind: 19:32 and the kids haven’t called me so I call AH’s mobile.  It rings out.  Try again and Ms6 picks up.  Apparently she’s in bed.  Hurrah!  M9 and M11 aren’t home as … well, she doesn’t know.  She erroneously hangs-up (as she often does) so I leave it a bit so she can call me back.  However, I know he tells them that I need to call them so he doesn’t have to pay for the call and when I try a few minutes later, it’s engaged.

I want to leave here so bad.  I want to move closer to my real home.  This place holds nothing for me.  NOTHING!  Small-minded idiots who, instead of trying to see the other side, are happy to cast judgement.  I’m done with it.

I don’t know why I feel the need to argue and cement my version of events.  Whose opinion actually matters that much?  But I would love to get away from small-minded, opinionated community to start again where people don’t know me or my history.   Where I haven’t had to forge a network.  Where I can just turn up without being AH’s ex or the feisty woman who organised the carnival/etc.  Where I can just blend into the surroundings and be left alone without judgement.

Coz I feel as though I’m dying a little here every day.

Where’d you come from, Thurs?!

Changeover day.  REALLY?!  How can it have come so quick?!

Feeling half-full of cold so would love to spend the day in bed.  Kids take themselves off to school letting me NOT have to rush into the day.

Had asked them to call me this evening on AH’s phone – that way it fits in with HIM.  They call at 18:52: all in good form.  Sputnik is coming round to babysit so that AH can go off to his netball.  Am happy that he’s not taking them out into the cold this week. Yet a part of me wishes he’d tell the team ‘sorry guys, I want to make the most of my time with the kids.  Can you get someone else to play?’.  But that’s my standard, not his and I have to be happy that he’s heard what I’ve said about getting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour and is doing something about that.  For that, I am grateful.

Had to speak to him as it’s Green Day at school tomorrow (in celebration of St Paddy’s Day and an Irish teacher we lost to cancer 3 years ago).  There’s been notices for weeks that have gone to him, as it’s on his day.  Weeks!  Ms6 asked me to bring her green top to Daddy’s.  I’m already in my pj’s so that’s not going to happen but he can pick it up on his way to netball – I’ll leave it in the letterbox for him.  Put in green tops and pants for the boys too, as they’ve nothing there (though I put green t-shirts in a bag on Tuesday for him to have at his, but M9 can’t see them in their room).

Remind AH that we agreed in mediation to get them into bed by certain times.  It’s already past the time Ms6 is meant to be in bed yet she’s not even in her pj’s.  M11 wants to talk to me again but AH is saying no, he has to go.  As he doesn’t have a landline, his mobile is the only contact I have to the kids and he’s trying to get it off them.  Buttons pushed!  “Don’t make them end their contact with me”.  He lets M11 get back on the line to ask for what he wanted.  Within a minute, we’re all done.

Speaking with M11 and writing that post re Grolsch and Sputnik has made the whole issue play on my mind.  I feel flat.  My mind works overtime trying to establish if I have a right to still feel aggrieved, or if I’m the manipulator here, etc etc.  I hate that it still eats at me.  I hate that I let it.  Found this meme tonight and think, on top of “I choose happy”, this needs to be my mantra:

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Because I have so much to appreciate … and if I can release the past, what comes next is going to be phenomenal!

Positives:

  1. Getting Easter eggs for the kids sorted for next week;
  2. watching ‘Still Alice’ and realising how bloody lucky I am; and
  3. turning down an invite from Dorrie to go out for St Paddy’s.  As fun as it would’ve been, I’ve got to rein the spending in.  Proud of myself for saying ‘no’.

Winter is coming

… and today hit home.  The wind’s picked up and a nasty southerly comes straight up from the Antarctic.  Still can’t comprehend that my parents, who only live a 6-hour drive north, basked in the sun in 26° heat, while I contemplated my lack of firewood in a chilly 16°.

Today was a good day.  Only contact with AH was both of us agreeing to do something for the other regarding drop-offs.  He has a 2-day work course in April … on his 2 days with the kids (one of them is a teacher-only day and, as it’s the start of the holidays, I need to get as many work hours in as possible).  I would like Ms6 dropped to mine early on Saturday so that we can go into a street festival in town.  Compromise!  That’s a nice change 🙂

He rings the kids to say goodnight.  He’s at Tuatara, a local brewery, having pizza with Grolsch & Sputnik.  When they said their goodnights on Monday, he was at the pub with his ex-colleague.  So this week, he’s kid-free 3/7 days (1/7: he has 1 kid, 3/7: 2 or more) … and he’s at the pub/dining out for 2 of them.  This person who has no money.  And the audacity to keep pointing the finger at my drinking.  Yet, on top of the consumption away from home, his weekly recycling bin looks like this …

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2x bottles of white wine, dozen Becks, 2x 500ml Ukrainian beer

Ms6 begs me in the morning to come with them to school.  I’ve realised over the past 2 days that, by not doing what I’ve done for the past 7 years, ie walking them to school, I’ve gained an hour.  I mentioned it to another mum the other day: it’s a quandry.  Having been lucky enough to have been a stay-at-home-mum for 10 years, I can’t yet move into the “full-time-mum” category.

And, to make up for that, I work my arse off for shortened hours as I appreciate how lucky I am to have a part-time, local job; and I volunteer to help in the kids’ classrooms as I don’t work full-time so I should.  I bake in the evening to ensure nutritious snacks that aren’t filled with palm oil because I have to ensure the longevity of the planet for my kids.  Right?!

Who’d have thought being a stay-at-home-mum was so bloody difficult?!

Positives:

  1. M9’s teacher running after me today to chat about him.  She picked up that something was going on and wanted to discuss it.  I’ve had other teachers face-to-face who’ve refused to acknowledge that something was amiss, yet she RAN to catch me and bring it up!
  2. M11, after pre-bed reading, wanting to learn more about why me and AH split.  Given the chats over the past couple of nights, said it wasn’t the time now.  Reinforced the message that there’s always ‘3 sides’ when it comes to feelinghomers;
  3. the gingernut biscuits I made once the kids were in bed tonight.  Amazed there’s any left because, when they were warm … mmmm …

Out-laws …

This evening, M11 asks to continue our chat from last night … thankfully, not the wet dream one, but he wants to know what else my brother-in-law has done.  Another blogger recently asked for background to understand this, so what the hell … let’s get it down.  Spoiler alert!  It’s long!

Background

AH’s mother died from cancer when AH was 10 and brother (time for a name … Grolsch, me thinks (he likes beer and this is a Dutch one .. linking to his yarpie upbringing) – anyway, Grolsch was only 5.

During our marriage, I always thought Grolsch was the needy one and demanded AH’s attention and time.  Only once we were close to splitting, did I realise I was wrong.

So, what’s he done?

The first time AH and I went to Cape Town, we went for a wedding.  Not yet engaged and loved up.  Marriage had been discussed so it was a chance to meet his family.  Should’ve been a romantic trip, yet it wasn’t.

Beautiful, sunny weather and AH’s dad had a pool so I made the most of that.  Would’ve been nice if AH joined me.  But he didn’t.  As him and Grolsch spent a large amount of the days playing PlayStation.  Alarm bells rung … I ignored them.   Viewed it as he doesn’t see his brother often, he needed that.  We actually got engaged on our last night there.

Wedding was in Cape Town a year later.  At that stage, AH and I were living together in a one-bed flat in London.  One month after our wedding, Grolsch arrives for his OE.  There was no question .. of course, he’d stay with us when he got there.  On the pull-out sofa downstairs (open plan room, less than 25 m²).  Because he’d be getting a job and finding his own flat and wouldn’t be there for long, would he!  Wouldn’t he?!

Well, 6 weeks later, he hasn’t found a job or a flat (doesn’t even appear to be looking).  Our flat is small.  There’s one tiny, windowless bathroom.  And Grolsch needs to empty his bowels TWICE every morning .. before I’ve brushed my teeth to go to work!  I kid you not.  He was clockwork … and unless I brushed my teeth before I even woke up, I could never beat him in there!  The fights with AH started.  He wasn’t in any rush to get his brother out.  1 MONTH MARRIED!!

The rib-breaking happened while he was still living with us (broke a few in a bearhug).  Not bitter about that as it was an accident and he didn’t know his own strength, but what gets me is when all 3 of us went to the hospital the next day when I couldn’t breathe, after they’d done an ECG and confirmed it wasn’t a heart attack, there was going to be a long wait in emergency.  AH got itchy after about ½-an-hr and asked if he and Grolsch had to stay.  ‘No, of course not, husband-of-less-than-2-months.  Go.  Have fun with your brother’.  And he did.  I had to get a mini-cab after midnight having sat in ER by myself all that time.  Ding-ding-ding!  Alarm bells.

Mostly, I remember the rest of our co-residing in London as good times.  He didn’t encroach on our lives too much.  AH didn’t insist on involving him in every second of ours.  M11 came along and pretty much took over.

Fast-forward to NZ, Xmas 2013.  Grolsch and Sputnik come for a holiday.  I get them from Auckland airport and they come stay at my parent’s, until AH can get away from work a day or so later.  It’s all fine (though she is dull, dull, DULL [not drinking as she’d had an episode where she’d woken up covered in blood with no idea what had gone on the night before].  A fairly typical overly-confident, all-knowing white-African ‘princess’).  I’d planned a roadtrip to show them some of my beautiful country.

We do a German Xmas so on Xmas Eve, I take the kids out to see if Santa has come, letting AH know quite obviously that this is the time Santa delivers presents (I’d put them behind the couch so it was as easy as could be).  Him and Grolsch were giggling but AH acknowledged he’d heard.  Or so I thought.  Get back in with VERY excited children … yet Santa’s presents are definitely not under the tree.  I manage to smuggle them out unseen.  We’re all ready to open presents … well the kids and my family are … but AH, Grolsch and Sputnik have disappeared.  They’d realised they hadn’t got a present for my brother and his wife – who’d bought one for them – so they go off to wrap a bottle of duty-free grog.  Strangely, it took 3 of them to do it!

Get back to our house and our oven breaks.  Have a built-in one in the garage so I buy a unit for it to go in and start putting it together.  Grolsch and Sputnik are talking of emigrating here so AH decides to take them for a drive to show them our area and the surrounds.  Despite me saying I wouldn’t want them moving this close.  I couldn’t hold a piece of the unit and drill at the same time so ended up breaking a dowel.  When AH gets back, get him to help … but we have to stop as Grolsch is screaming about a spider on the front door.  A small, normal spider.  AH stops helping me to SAVE his brother.  Why couldn’t it wait … if it had to be done at all!

Rest of the trip was fine but not sad to see her go especially.  Not someone I want to be spending weekends with.

Steps are taken to start the emigration process.  The thing is, AH chooses not to tell me what’s going on.  He decides that I have a problem with Grolsch, so it’s better to not speak of him.  Problem with that is, whenever we went out, other people would ask him what was happening  … and that’s when I’d hear.  WTH!  I should have never had heard these things second-hand.  I should’ve been told by AH as soon as he heard.  And I let him know that – by withholding information, it was detrimental.

Their visa applications are approved.  Grolsch finds work about 45 mins away from us.  I can handle that – close enough for catch-ups; far enough not to do it every week.  Sputnik will only look for work when she gets here.  I ask AH whether he’d let Grolsch know it would be good to not move too close to here … we’re not in a good place at this stage.  He said he hasn’t passed that on “as that would be influencing him and I’d asked him to let Grolsch make his own path” so I asked if it would be ok if I put it to Grolsch.  AH has no issue.

I send a nice message through FB.  He sends a friendly one back (and this is the moment I realised it was AH who puts Grolsch on such a pedestal; not the other way around).  He agrees that he won’t move close by and he understands why.

Then AH ends the marriage.  Grolsch’s words to AH when he hears we’ve split:  “I’m not surprised”.  Wow!

AH and I decided we’d take a one-bed flat when we split, the kids would stay in the house and us 2 would move between (nesting arrangement).  AH chose a less than ideal flat, in a less than salubrious area, which was the greatest distance away from this house.  Why?  It had 2-bedrooms and, with Grolsch and Sputnik coming, it would be a roof over their heads.  Our kids were meant to have rotating, weekly 1-on-1 with AH at the rental … yet while Grolsch & Sputnik were there, he never even asked if they would come.  So not only has he put his brother above me, he actually put him above the kids.

G&S found a flat.  Despite Grolsch’s promise to not move here, they rent 2 km from my front door.  Then, between the 3 of these supposed adults, they decide to terminate the 2-bed rental, and AH can move in to their box-room.  He’d still come to this house for his nights with the kids … and I’d have to find somewhere else to go!  Jaysus!  Who the hell thinks that’s ok?!

 

AH knows all these things but he’s (THEY’VE!) refused to acknowledge or validate them in any way.  Would that make a difference?  I don’t know.  But I can’t or won’t ever be able to say that Grolsch does not hold some accountability here.  Yes, it’s AH who chose to put him above me … but to go back on his word and give us some much-needed space … to be part of the plan that tried to evict me for 2-nights a week … to never make any contact with me to get the other side of the story … !!!

I don’t know how to let this go.  I appreciate that not forgiving is stopping me move forward, not them.  I get that!  I don’t know what the feeling is that underlies all this … and why I hold onto it.  But I need to find a way to release it.  I need to learn how to do this:

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