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.