Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's Hard to Breathe Sometimes

Quite often I invite my son's dad to join us in activities that take place on "my" time. This is because I know the kiddo likes it when Daddy comes along, and sometimes because I feel a tiny bit sorry for my son's dad. An example of this is my inviting him to join us in trick-or-treating this past Halloween, and my inviting him to come to certain community center activities that the kiddo and I do on "my" time. My son's dad does not invite me to activities that take place on "his" time.

Occasionally I bring the kiddo to the mall so he can have lunch with his dad. This usually occurs during weeks in which the kiddo is with me for six days straight (about once a month -- usually the kiddo sees his dad every weekend and has one midweek overnight). I eat lunch with them, but I buy my own food and the conversation usually centers around my son as he holds forth on video games, and we let the kiddo go nuts in the pet store afterward. My point is that I don't spend a lot of time talking with my son's dad himself; he's more of a presence that I don't have to deal with directly.

I like to think I'm a nice person, but I wonder if I'm just a schmuck.

Yesterday we met my son's dad for lunch and the subject of the kiddo's golf lessons came up. My son's dad asked if I'd like to come along sometime and see the kiddo learn to golf. I said sure.

So today he emailed me and invited me to come this weekend. Oh, and he mentioned that his girlfriend will be there.

I am not ready for this, and I told him so. He said he knew that. (I knew that he knew...) I said since he knew that, his invitation was empty and unkind...and a disappointment...but not a surprise. And I declined his worthless invitation because he disrespects my feelings...and I told him so.

Not that it matters to him. I'm trying to get into a pattern of saying what I need to say and letting go of the expectation that he'll take any of it to heart. It's less crazy-making that way. Wannabe zen.

Honestly, I'm not exactly surprised. Yet...I'm angry. Why am I angry, if I'm not surprised? I don't exactly know.

Maybe it has to do with my wishing the girlfriend weren't real. Or with my wish that my son's dad wouldn't try to thrust her in my face. Or with his historical tendency to decide what I need to be working on.

Maybe I wish I were married, or at least dating someone. I have a feeling it would be a whole lot easier to face the girlfriend if I had someone on my arm, too. I wonder if I could rent a guy for this purpose.

Only half-kidding there. How sad.

Maybe I want to stop inviting my son's dad on outings with us. I was trying hard to be a big person about all this, but how many inches does a person give before too many yards have been taken? Before she's no longer smart or kind or generous or compassionate...and just a doormat? I kept telling myself that when my son is grown up he'll realize the sacrifices I made for him...or that if he didn't realize, at least I'd know I'd done the right thing by inviting his dad along on outings regardless of his lack of reciprocation.

My son loves having both of us with him. He doesn't understand why we can't do that all the time.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here, but I do know I don't like the way I'm feeling today.

I have a hunch the only way to get over it is to go through it.

But I don't have to like it.