All posts by Jayson Langley

It’s a Fight

Maybe it’s not a fight but everyday at home (before I left) was a struggle to be happy instead of depressed.

I was walking in the mall today (so not me) and walked by this couple. As I approached, though I only glanced, I could actually feel the tension. As I got to the closest point as I passed them he lashed out at her. Of course it was something petty to me and even petty to him (im guessing) but the tension and aggrevation is what was all too familiar.

It was, I am happy to say, a reminder of what was… What used to be me. Don’t get me wrong, I almost never yelled and certainly not at my wife or in public but I have a good idea of those feelings.

Leaving my house is a process, ups and down, mostly downs as it relates to my kids and its really hard on many levels. That couple in the mall reminded me about why the process is necessary.

While I wish they didn’t have it, I thank them for the reminder. Life is too short, fight the fights that are worth fighting. When you can’t fix it, despite best efforts… consider real change.

I left May 28th. It’s been just over two months now.

Earthquake…

What are you afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen to you? With the exception of a loved one getting really hurt, job loss, is the most devastating thing that could happen to me. To me, its worse than death and the foundation of an explanation as to why is within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and my history. Well, that is where I am, thus the ‘earthquake’. I lost my job just over a month ago. I was provided a good severance package so I still have a good income but now my job is some sort of a nightmare. My full-time job is getting a full-time job.

Ok, so Maslow recognized that there are levels to your needs. In short, first you need ‘Physiological’ needs. These are things like: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep. If you have those, you can work on achieving the next level, “Safety” needs. These are: security of body, employment, resources, etc. IF you can get that, the next level is ‘Love/Belonging’ which covers friendship and family. When you have that you get to the ‘esteem’ level where you build self-esteem confidence, etc. Ultimately you want to get to the final level which is ‘self-actualization’. Sounds like a video game to me but a hell of a difficult one as we all know. You might have bits and pieces of the different levels but supposedly it won’t all be complete until you have all of them within the various levels. Each level builds the foundation to the next.

I pride myself in my work. I’m passionate about it, it makes me happy, and it addresses ‘Maslow’s’ Safety need. I expand my ‘safety need’ to include the needs of my family. My need to provide for them.  Without this level complete, which is provided by MONEY and thusly my job, very little else matters. It obvious and undeniable that I can pay little attention to anything else in this type of situation. The only thing positive that was born of being unemployed for me is the temporary escape cycling provides during these times.

The fact that I lost my job 8 days after I left my wife is crazy. Living separate makes the fact that its been 5 weeks and she does not know almost ideal. I have no intention of telling her… when I get a new job I will simply let her know I got a new job. Telling her would do nothing more than make the situation worse as she is unable to help resolve the situation.  I had been unemployed before and I was a defeated mess. I did the job search thing, it was during the recession and got nowhere. Did the entrepreneurial thing out of desperation and lost more money than I can stomach to think about. It wasn’t that I’m not an entrepreneur at heart, its simply because you do stupid shit when you are desperate. I was desperate to ensure the safety and security of my family.

While I am not ‘desperate’ quite yet, I am certainly constantly fighting fears that I am not going to find a new full-time job before my severance package runs out which as I write this is 44 days, 10 hours, and 56 minutes away. I probably spend equal time between actually working to find a job and worrying about it. Can’t avoid it, can’t control it.

The bottom line here is that I am doing all I can to preserve the safety and security of my daughters. They are going through enough without having to worry about daddy not having a job. Be rest assured, they will never know I lost my job. I will fight to the end for the ability to tell them I left my old employer and have a new and better job. You know how people talk about ‘the light at the end of the tunnel?’ Well is really like a water well that I am at the bottom of looking up and seeing the light.  With a ton of different meanings, only the light at the end of the tunnel matters… just got to climb my way out. Will I is yet to be determined. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Slumber Party II…

Its July 4th weekend, 2013. Saturday night and the second slumber party was planned. The holiday weekend went pretty good. Went to the house and spend the 4th with my girls and my ‘x’. Originally we planned to just hang out all day, eating and playing games. Lara the ten year old thought it would be a good idea to goto the beach so we did. There were no real issues other than the ‘elephant in the room’ but its was good.

Friday night into Saturday I was on my own. It was like a vacation for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. Saturday afternoon I went to the house. I would be spending some time at the house and then taking the two girls to my house for a slumber party (sleepover).  I could feel the tension as I walked in. Lorraine did not do well last slumber party. The idea of being separated from the kids overnight was difficult. She said she had cried all night.  The reality of the fact we are separated is difficult. The knowledge that I don’t want to be with her is difficult and it showed. We started talking as the kids went upstairs. She still does not think I had a valid reason for leaving. All her friends thinks I am cheating on her and I left for ‘another woman’. An amazing person clarified things for me and it makes perfect sense.

Look, her friends were mostly blind-sided when I left. By believing that I cheated on Lorraine takes the blame for this failure off Lorraine, off me, and onto this magical, mysterious, and ultimately imaginary  ‘third party’. Its quite neat and clean actually, which should tell you that the answer is too simple. Too easy, and ultimately wrong.

Temptation is everywhere. Think about your day, your week. Tell me that there isn’t ‘that person’ that you would want  to <lets be civil here> “sleep with” in your life. You can lie to yourself but don’t bother saying it out loud cause there IS someone. What’s keeping you? Love your spouse? Happy? Dedicated? Feel heard, respected, and content in your homelike? Yes? THAT is what is ultimately a shield against all that temptation. Its like your immune system… when its down, you will get sick (no pun intended). I’ll tell you what I told Lorraine… I left because of what happened between us, not for some piece of ass… I value my family much more than that.

Now back to the slumber party.  Nicole wanted to stay home to take care of her mom but in the end, decided to ‘come with’. As the multiple bags were packed (really? this was for one night?, lol) I quietly put them in the car to minimize drama.  They finally got everything together and we were on our way.

We went to Friendlies for dinner and got that out of the way. It was late when we got to the apartment and I quickly turned on the lights. As we walked in they immediately commented that the apartment did not smell anymore. Last time there had been a ton of rain and the apartment smelled a bit musty. I told them how hard I worked to make the smell go away to make them feel more comfortable.   We put away the bags into the bedroom and got settled.

The rest of the evening, as short as it was was about making sure their experience at the apartment was as nice and fun as possible. Do you know why you love your favorite beer? Its because of the experiences you had with it, not necessarily about the actual taste. I happen to love Guinness and probably most of the reason is because of parties I went to where that is what I had.  Tangent alert! anyway, I want them to associate visiting the apartment with good feelings.

We played games, watched a movie, and had a quick snack along the way. When it was bedtime, I tried to make everything fun, even a little pillow fight. Before we went to bed, we sat on the floor and had a quick ‘talk’.

The family therapist has repeatedly told me that great communication is key in minimizing the effects of the ‘divorce event’ on the girls. In a positive way, I got them to sit on the floor in a mini-circle and asked them how they are feeling. It was late and they were tired but they did not say much. I was not discouraged, I used it as an opportunity to reinforce the message. I told them that they should not hide their feelings, they can tell me anything, even if it is to tell me they are mad at me.  Lara was quick to say it… ‘dad, i’m mad at you’. I told her that was ok and she had every reason to be mad at me. I asked if she was mad but also loved me and she said she did. Putting those two emotions together makes it more acceptable and ultimately I told her that if she is mad and she loves me then we can always talk about it and work it out.

Nicole had nothing to say but that has been normal for her. I find it harder to get to her and I have to focus on her a bit more going forward. She tends not to say anything and then she lashes out. The challenge with that is that she tends to be very direct and VERY accurate. She might be too smart for MY own good.

Ultimately we went to bed after the little talk feeling better. I slept on the couch and woke up the next morning to Lara sitting on the other couch playing with her iPAD. It was a quick slumber party but it certainly served its purpose. I asked them on the way home if they had a good time. They told me they had a great time and it was so much better than the first time AND the apartment did not smell !  Thank goodness.

Getting My Apartment

In thinking about leaving my wife I always thought of my two daughters and my need to ensure that they have all the things they need. I always thought to myself that I will live in a hovel, some terrible place so that I can still afford to keep them in the nice house, in the nice neighborhood and same school.

While that’s still true, them having a nice place and having a decent place to live for me are not mutually exclusive goals. Add the fact that it is better for THEM and me to have a nice place to live and I had to figure it out.

It took weeks but I found a one-bedroom coop rental literally five miles from the house. I lucked out for a change and it had just been completely redone. Everything is new! The carpets, the paint, the kitchen, everything! The appliances had never been used, the dishwasher had some samples in it !

I did not sign the lease until the day after I left. While I knew what I was going to do no matter what was said on the day I left, I think it was better “for the record” that I did not do it until the next day. I stayed on a friends couch that first night.

I had nothing. No furniture, no plates, nothing. The only thing I had were all the clothes I filled my car with on the day I left… before the kids came home.

I think it was really important that the kids know where I am, that I’m safe, and that they belong there too. On the day I moved in the kids were at school. I went to CostCo during the day and somewhat stocked the kitchen. I got 2-3 key items that they liked and put them prominently in the fridge and in the cabinets. I out their pictures on the walls and their art work on the fridge. I called the house and invited them over.

I went to the house and out everyone in the car… Including the new “x”. I drove them over and we all went inside for a tour. I pointed out their food… Their drinks… Their pictures and art. When we got to my room, I went out of my way to tell them it was not my room, it was theirs… And this is their place too.

I had no furniture… Not a chair in sight. The only thing I had was an air mattress I got from the house that I ended up sleeping on for a week. Did I mention it had a hole in it? Good times.

We all sat (including the x) in the living room on the floor. We joked and laughed a bit while my younger one did cartwheels.

Mission accomplished, they know where I live and that they belong there too. Baby steps.

Is the dust settling?

It’s Saturday, June 22. I left the house on May 28 so its been a little bit short of a month. Had a great time ‘out’ last night, I will be busy doing chores all day today and I’m thinking about tomorrow.

I don’t think I have anything to do. While my guess is that something will come up I can’t help but wonder about being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like being alone. I used to be so happy to get some time alone. Maybe it is because that was by choice and this is not? I am positive I am not sure if that is it. I do have choices…. I could visit my sister in the Bronx or I could spend the day with the kids and my x.

The problem with spending time with the kids and my x is… what’s the point? If I’m gonna spend all my time with them, why be separated? I know what your thinking and its true… I did not leave my kids, I only left my wife so why don’t you just take them for the day? Im not sure that is a good idea.

Lorraine is not ready to spend the day apart from them. When I had a ‘slumber party’ at my apartment for the first time, she cried all night. It was the worst night of her life so she told me. While I am not into the ‘drama of it all’… I certainly understand that it was difficult… it was for all of us. As a result, I will find something else to do.

The point is… I have basically had the same family structure/routine, etc. for all these years and it is time to branch out. Time to try new things, mix things up, and rebuild a life. It is what I have waited YEARS to do and I am excited to get started.

Update ( let’s pretend you want to know)

Going cycling in am tomorrow. Thinking about setting a crazy goal. The Hampton’s? 231 ? Not sure. Going east is probably safer but we will see. It might also be a good time to see the new “fast an furious” movie and pick up a few items for the apartment now that I got new furniture. Oops… Haven’t mentioned much about the whole “setting up my apartment” thing. Title of my next post? Maybe a good idea.

My first Father’s Day as a single father of two…

Nothing is easy that is certain but I was thinking the first father’s day after I left my house/left my wife would certainly be quite difficult. It was not only a difficult time but the agenda also included a tradition of visiting her grandfather now 98 years old. Lara (10) and Nicole (8) had been sleeping in their mom’s bed since I left… 2 weeks ago, I am living in a one-bedroom apartment just 5 miles away but it might has well been 500 miles.

On fathers day morning, I kept thinking to myself ways to make it as easy for them as possible. The end result was that I would show up before they wake up and wait in the living room. How can I just ‘walk in’ and do that as everyone in the house sleeps? Not really sure but Lorraine (is she my ex or my separated wife or whatever she is called) has been working hard to make things as easy as possible on everyone most of the time.

As I sat their on the couch in silence listening for the stir of awakening kids, I played games on my iPhone. It was odd to say the least. As they woke up I went upstairs. It did not feel awkward, it felt almost normal… THAT is what made it messed up. The only thing that i did not do is sit on the bed or wait upstairs as everyone got dressed for the day. I did stop by my x-office at the top of the stairs just to poke around for a few minutes.

The kids LOVE ‘big breakfast’. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, and especially BACON. They don’t have more than two slices but they sure do love it. Anyway, it went well. We cleaned up and ready to face the next step… going to her family’s house (mom’s side).

What would you expect from doing this? Think about it… they all know (except for grandpa who’s 98) that I left the house. Big mistake? Tag team bitching out sessions? Worse?  I came somewhat prepared… I had enough money in my pocket to grab a cab or catch a train back to my car.

In the end, the fact that they are a dysfunctional, non-confrontational, avoid the elephant in the room type of family paid off for the first time since I met them which was over 20 years ago. The only one missing, Ann, had to work. At the end of the day I joked to Ann’s mom that I missed her… I said I actually expected her to punch me out. Her mom said she had no doubt she would have. Somehow I found comfort in that. Ann and I always had that big brother/little sister banter.

When we got back to the house, the girls gave me some fathers day cards and gifts. The handmade items are taped to refrigerator door at the apartment. The trinkets are scattered all around the apartment as well so they see them when they visit.

Before the day drew to a close we played Wii. We seem to play Wii almost everytime I spend more than a couple of hours with them. It seems that it is a way to transition back to whatever reality this is. I quickly learned that letting the kids win help as i’m walking out the door. They are excited about their victory so they are less sad as I leave.

Father’s day turned out to be ok… ideal? certainly not but what in this life is? I’ll skip the blatant opportunity for a cheezy cliché at this point. Bottom line? It is a difficult time but you can get through it, just roll with the punches.