Saturday was the one-year anniversary of my wife abandoning and alienating the kids from me. She’ll never know what it feels like to have your family snatched from you and unsure the next time you’ll hear, much less hug your own children again. BoyGeeding’s birthday is actually Wednesday, but it was celebrated with a handful of his friends at Medieval Times on Saturday. My ex actually allowed me to be part of the experience, provided that I help split the costs. Even though her apartment is on the way to the event, she preferred I drive myself. Upon seeing me she greeted me with a smile and cheerfully asked how was I doing. Well, it was cold, so I simply told her, “Cold.” But my inner monologue added, “But not as cold as your heart and I don’t know why you are taking me to court again when we can simply talk things out and find some middle ground.”
When you arrive at Medieval Times, you have a choice of two entrances, but both take you to an area to take a group picture. What went through my mind was that the photo they snapped of us all together was the first one I was in with my ex in over a year.
As we entered the arena, we both navigated to sit at polar opposite sides of the row we sat in. The birthday boy sat next to his mother and I sat next to my daughter, with BoyGeeding’s friends in the middle. I noticed he was crying and later learned he wanted to sit next to me. I told him I would have been happy to, but I thought he’d rather sit next to his friends. And, I told him, his voice, thoughts, and opinions are valid and matter, so speak up and let us know when you want something we can accommodate. If we don’t know, we can’t help.
This is my fourth or fifth trip to Medieval Times, and I’m alway most impressed with the falcon and falconer.
While I was thankful to not be alienated from my sons’s birthday event like last year, it feels weird trying to parent when your children are not legally under your possession. For instance, if my son or daughter wanted to show me something, I first had to ask their mother’s permission to see if it was okay that I take the kids to a certain area inside the venue.
I had a handful of friends send me encouraging texts regarding the sad anniversary of the date. They have no idea how much that meant to me. I was tempted to text my ex-MIL (and ex-wife) and tell her I will always remember this as the day she helped break apart a family (instead of keeping one together) and alienated a loving father from his children. Man, they love to talk the talk when it comes to the Christian faith, but do little to walk the walk. Don’t get me wrong, I have a plank in my eye. I know that. My heart is heavy and calloused, but I’m still trying to make thigns right.
Both kids whispered in my ear that even though they were having fun, they were thinking about what happened a year ago and were still confused as to why we aren’t a family and why was their mother’s first choice was divorce and not counseling or anything else. Hey, me too. But I tell them no matter what, you continue to love and respect your mother.
The next morning, I was planning to go to church, which was having a big family reunion. Well, I forgot to charge my car from the trip to Medieval Times from the day before, so I had to stream it online. But I needed to charge it so I could pick up my kids. At mediation, the one thing I could get my ex to agree to was that I could have the kids every Super Bowl Sunday starting at noon. I’m really glad this worked out, as I have many warm memories of watching the Super Bowl and bonding with my father. But at the same time, I never thought I would be robbed of spending those special moments with my kids, especially with my son, regarding sporting events. This came to mind recently watching a video the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted of the moment when the game-winning field goal was made and Bengal fans knew they were going to the Super Bowl. Because of our possession schedule, should the Mavs, Stars, Rangers, or Cowboys, we’re not going to be able to watch the entire series together. My ex would refuse to compromise and find some middle ground, like my son watching the game with me and me returning him to his mother’s.
This was the first Super Bowl in 20 years I watched without the person who was my wife. We were just dating when we watched the first one together. Interestingly enough, the first Super Bowl we spent together as a married couple was when Tampa Bay went to their first. And, the last one we watched together as a married couple was Tampa made their second Super Bowl appearance.
Originally, my ex stated she was going to bring the kids to my rent house, but later contacted me through our court mandated messaging app that I would need to pick them up at her place. It’s funny reading her messages. She never gives me an option or suggests or ask if I would be okay with something. She just bluntly tells me what to do. I pretty much have to accept it, it’s easier than rocking the boat or threatening alienation again.
When I arrived at her apartment and parked, she walked out. I noticed she was wearing something new, and out of politeness, told her I like her new dress. She immediately and coldly corrected me it was a skirt and not a dress. To be honest, the leather skirt looked like cheap vinyl, but I was just trying to extend an olive branch.
As we left her apartment, the kids let me know about the church they visited. DaughterGeeding told me it felt weird listening to the pastor preach about love (Valentine’s Day literally around the corner) and five things spouses should continually do for their significant other to maintain a strong marriage. It included stuff like prioritizing and affirming the other by letting them know how proud you are of them. DaughterGeeding told me she noticed her mother never or rarely did those five things for me when we were married, but I consistently did those things for her. She also wondered what her mother must have been thinking during the sermon. I told her she should always feel open speaking to her mother about anything, and that no matter what, continue to love and respect her and do what she can to understand her perception of things. Internally, I was thinking about how I deserved to be loved and respected. But to me, I just accepted those were weaknesses my wife had, and part of love is accepting those weaknesses and work on being a better communicator. Here I was thinking I was doing a good job of being a direct communicator and, from her perspective, I was being a narcissist. I’ll never understand why she couldn’t tell me I needed to add a little sugar of soften up my message.
If I knew my ex would at least talk to her family about not telling our children and others that I physically hurt her, I probably would be less open about my thoughts.
Tom Brady said the following at his retirement press conference, “And lastly to my wife, Gisele, and my children, Jack, Benny and Vivi. You are my inspiration. Our family is my greatest achievement.” My family was my greatest achievement, and I was so proud. Now, the breakup of my family is my greatest failure, and it’s not something I think I’ll ever let go.
Anytime I see the word “radar” I’m taken back to Mrs. Andrews fourth grade glass and her teaching a small group of us what a palindrome was. I also recall one of my friends sitting at the table had a name that was a palindrome, but can’t remember the name of that friend.
I’m encouraged to see a lot of electric vehicle commercials last night. This means they are becoming more mainstream and we should see more EV charging stations.
That halftime show and Dr. Evil GM commercial sure made me feel like I was taken back in time by about 20 years.
One problem with having the Super Bowl on the West Coast is that their is still sunlight for the halftime show. I’ve seen documentaries talking about how that has been an issue for other halftime performances because they needed the darkness for all the lighting special effects.