Calamity Jennye

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

damned if you do damned if you don't

So last night I had a bit of a meltdown. A crying on the couch all alone meltdown.

It's not like it's a revelation that I'm all alone...if I'm not with Esme these days I'm alone. And I feel very alone. And that was the breakdown. I know this is what everyone says in these circumstances but it's very true...this is not what I planned/envisioned for my life. I wanted to be married for a long time (and only once) I wanted to have multiple kids. I guess really when it comes right down to it that was all I had planned (not actually a lot to ask one would think).

Obviously I'm not immensely picky about where I live, I've been equally happy in hundred degree heat and 30 below. I've survived the jungles of New York and the forest of Northern Minnesota. I love the ocean and the mountains. As long as it's not Wisconsin or Indiana I've been pretty happy, really.

But last night it just hit me all over again, I'm where I would not choose to be, and my life is not where I want it to be. I left what I didn't want and ended up stuck in something I really didn't want.

So I had this horrible thought, maybe I just leave. Esme would be fine, really she might barely remember me, she would have her dad and his girlfriend, who I know love her. Maybe I just leave and start over again. And then it hit me...if I did that I WOULD DIE! Literally, I don't think I could stand to be without her, I barely make it the two days a week I am without her.

Really the important story here, that I haven't been able to tell yet,(you know it's big when I need processing time before sharing) is what prompted this breakdown...

Last Saturday (as I've already mentioned) was our friend Ella's 8th birthday. About a month ago her mom asked me to help chaperone the 6 girls at the pool portion of the party, she thought it would be helpful to have two adults keeping eyes on all those girls.  I said no problem, as I generally have fridays very free.
Our friends go to the pool every friday afternoon after school. And it just so happened that the week before the party my husband and his girlfriend took Esme to the pool on Friday. Alyssa filled filled me in on a bit of the pain of watching them playing, looking every bit the happy family...told me how glad she was I hadn't been there.
Then the next thursday she said "You know, you may not want to chaperone, what if they're at the pool again?"
"Well, dollar night at the pool is probably a pretty tempting cheap shower for two people who don't have running water." Said I "But I can't imagine they'll be there two weeks in a row, and I'm not altering my life for them...this was my town first. I'll be there."

So I was. And 20 minutes after we got there so did they. And it was painful. But not as much as I thought it would be. The happy, splashing family wasn't painful because I've been there, was there for years with this man and I know it's not real. I know he's not capable of real, that part just made me sad for the other woman, who doesn't know it yet.

The hard part came at the end. Esme did pretty good the whole time, aside from asking me to watch her do things every now and then she pretty much ignored me. Alyssa even commented on how odd it was that she already seemed to know the rules of a game so new to all of us.

But then, just as it was time to leave, when my husband had already left and Esme was still there with the girlfriend, she came over to give me a hug goodbye which quickly turned into the clinginess of a drowning child. "I don't want to leave mama, I want to stay with you. I won't leave you."

I peeled her fingers off, trying not to make eye contact with the girlfriend, attempting to keep her distance but clearly close enough to hear every word. I told Esme very seriously that she had to finish her time with daddy, I would see her later that night, she would still sleep at my house, everything would be fine. Then the girlfriend came and pulled her away.
Esme quickly darted away and jumped back in the she played on the steps, insisting that she wasn't leaving the girlfriend did what Alyssa assured me would come naturally to anyone who had observed even a minimal amount of my parenting:

"Esme Beverly, you need to start being a good listener right now!.."

Let me tell you it took every fiber of my being to not stand up on the deck of that pool and scream "I never want to hear my mother's name come out of your mouth to discipline my daughter, ever again."

That was what put me over the edge. You already made yourself right at home with my husband. My daughter has no idea why she shouldn't love you just as much as she always has. And now, now, as if that weren't enough you're going to throw out my dead mother's name as if you have every right to that too.

It was the first moment where I truly thought "This town is not big enough".

And so, last night I cried, sobbed actually, on the couch as I thought:
I can't possibly leave this town. But I can't possibly stay.
What is a girl to do?


  1. My heart breaks for you. Especially to have to actually see it happening. I'm surprised your thought wasn't to leave the town and TAKE her with you. You have every right!

  2. Every time I think of leaving I think about taking her with me. I guess this time I had to share because the thoughts were different. And the reality was so clear...I couldn't leave without her.
    It's just also weird to realize I don't want to take her from her dad. I really want her to have that relationship.
    I think it shocked me to realize how much I want her to have that relationship. So much that somewhere deep inside I would consider leaving her...for a split second, barely.
    Until the true reality came back to me.

  3. you should leave that town!! and take her! and find her a new dad!! a good one!! she'll be just fine.

    i tried to call you but your voice mailbox is not set up? is that right?

    much love, jess

  4. My heart is breaking for you-- to have to live through that moment. But you DID survive it and I can promise you as a mother and as a daughter that the bond between the two of you cannot be severed. Ever. By anyone. And you know what? The honor and devotion that you still show to your own mother in this post is proof enough that this is true. So stay strong and give yourself permission to leave town w/E -- and/or to feel how you feel, knowing that at the end of the day you have the love of the sweetest little girl in the world, and the support of all of us in cyberspace and real space who care about you so much.