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.