Another weekend has passed us by, and what should have been a memorable weekend enjoying my daughters 7th birthday was memorable for a host of other reasons, some which have definitely not been enjoyable.
Before I go on, I would like to put it out there that what I am about to write would usually stay in my journal and not go onto my blog, however the calls and messages I have received this weekend have made me decide to tell my side of the story. So my Sunday night writing this week will unfortunately not be the usual reminiscing about the good times, tonight’s story feels somewhat tainted by the unfortunate events that stole much of my time.
I am not sure where to begin, so I will just write as is comes.
My wife and I are separated but not yet divorced. We have been living apart now for close on two years. We have both moved on with our lives. I have found a wonderful caring partner that has accepted us into her life and my entire family has accepted her and we have been living together for 8 months now. My spouse (ex-wife / soon to be ex-wife?) is also in a relationship with someone that I get on fairly well with and both my children have a good relationship with him. It is a win / win situation for me. Well it could be, unfortunately life does not always play out all hunky dory as we have all experienced from time to time.
So roll on this weekend, it is my daughters 7th birthday and plans are all underway. As per the Family Advocate report the arrangement is that on a weekend that the children are with me they get to spend three hours with their mom on the day on their birthday. We had arranged by mutual agreement that I would drop my daughter at 9am at her mom’s place and collect her again at 12. So off we go and I do the drop and get asked to come in to see the presents opened which I politely decline, yet my daughter and her mom both insist that I come in to see the presents being opened and I so I did.
I left the house and took a quick drive past the beach, before I had even arrived at the beach my phone rang and it was my daughter, her words to me were.
“Hello Daddy, can Mommy come to my party.” Instantly my body froze, we had already been through this and had the discussion. So I replied: “You know we spoke about this at Guido’s and I am sorry but the answer is no.” She then replied: “But mommy really wants to come.” My response was simple and truthful: “You know that mommy doesn’t like Aunty Tania and I am not having fighting at your birthday party, it is your birthday party and you can enjoy it with your friends that are coming.” To which the replay was: “Ok Dad…………………Mom just wants to come see me open my presents then” So I replied: “No.” And that was the end of the conversation. Or so I thought.
Let me take you back a bit to when the party was first planned and how it came about to be at our home. The Family Advocate report was just released and my wife and I had come to an agreement on the living arrangements based on that report. My wife decided that we should have a family meeting with just herself me and the two children which I agreed to. We met at Guido’s and discussed the new living arrangements and gave each of the kids a color coded calendar showing which days would be with me and which days they would spend with their mom. Then the topic of my daughter’s birthday came up and her mom asked her where she would like to have her party. My son came up with various suggestions like the local play center and the school hall. My daughter however chose to have her birthday at home with Tania and I. Her mom then told her that if the party is at dad’s house mom will not go, and that did not change my daughter’s mind. Her mom then said that she will then do something special for her on the day of her birthday as she will have time with her.
Further to that conversation the Family Advocate report is very clear on exactly how the birthdays and religious holidays are spent. Birthdays work as follows:
3.2.8 In the event that the children’s’ birthday falls on a day when a party is not exercising contact to the children, the children will be entitled to spend 3 hours of their birthday with such party, in the event that such birthday falls on a weekend, alternately half the available afterschool time.
Without going into the reasons (which would be a whole different post) the report was written after a lengthy investigation, and there would be or should I say is a very good reason why this specific paragraph is included.
Anyway I digress, back to the weekend.
This was not something I was planning on, my wife has on occasion been very hostile towards Tania. So much so that following an exchange of telephonic messages late last year, my wife’s attorney wrote me a letter stating that it will be in everyone’s best interest if my wife and Tania do not communicate with each other.
What was I to do now? I had thought that as adults my wife and I were quite clear on this. We had planned the party weeks in advance and now a few hours before the party my wife gets my daughter to call and I have to say No to what on the surface seems like a perfectly reasonable request. I was beside myself. Why now? Why wait till today? What are you trying to do to me?
I pulled my car over and cried, I cannot handle this today. It is not fair to put me on the spot and make me be the bad guy and tell my daughter whom I love so dearly that her mom cannot come to the party.
I could have said yes sure mom can come.
But the fact remains; this is a question that should have been dealt with days if not weeks ago. Had the party been at a neutral place and not at our home, then sure mom can come. This is our home, our little piece of sanctuary in our small town where everyone seems to have an opinion about everything. My safe space. The hour was far too late my decision would stand.
There is a history of this type of behavior and it affects the children really badly. For some reason as of yet unknown to me the general feeling I get from the comments and phone calls is that are made by people who know of the situation is that only a mother can provide for her daughter, only a mother has the right to certain things. Well if that is the way it should be, I am very proud to say that in this I feel the entire world is wrong and that a father is as capable in virtually every aspect whether the child is a boy or a girl. I will be the one who goes against the system; I will be the one that proves to the world that dads can fulfill the role they take on the moment their child is conceived. However I cannot claim to have started a movement or stepped out on behalf of all the men on the planet. The fact is it is widely accepted that children need positive and loving input from both their moms and their dads to grow up with a healthy outlook at life. Dad’s all over the world have stood up and been counted. In fact in our little town we live in there are a hell of a lot of dads who make stereotypical dad look like a complete failure. We all know who they are and we all see the amount of time they invest in their children. That doesn’t for one minute mean that the mothers are absent or no good. The mothers are just as involved and committed to being the best person they can be for the sake of their children.
I was told, and I received a letter stating that I may not take my own daughter to her graduation as it is something special for a mother. (One needs to bear in mind at the time I had far less time with the children over a month and I was asked to sacrifice another night because the graduation fell on a weeknight when the children were with me.) I took my daughter to her graduation, when we arrived I had her go say hello to her mom and her mom’s boyfriend and his parents. My daughter had 15 people rock up to watch her graduate, which is a sign of a child that has an abundance of love in her life. Some children only have one parent arrive for their graduation; my daughter had 14 which included both her parents. What is the fight about? Where are the adults here?
Then the first day of my daughters new school career. Once again the current living arrangements at the time dictated that the children would be with me. The old living arrangements were entrenched by then and we were waiting for the Family Advocates report to see if this needed to be amended. The children never arrived at my house on the night that they were supposed to. Another lawyer’s letter stating that as it is the first night of school it is a very important day and the child has to be with her mom, or something along those lines peppered with legal jargon. My attorney questioned why there was suddenly a change in a set and stable living arrangement, to which he got a similar response along with a comment about how I took my daughter to her graduation and now, I must just deal with the fact that even though it is a night the children are supposed to be with their dad they will stay an extra night because this is a special occasion. My attorney told me to just avoid the fight and let things be which I did. I do not have the energy to keep this up and were it not for the children I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago as I find this whole matter very time consuming, distracting and completely void of any positive energy.
So with this flavor of the entire divorce process the whole situation could have been solved with proper communication right from the start. It is no good saying one thing and then changing your mind midway just before the kickoff. That is not fair on any of the people concerned.
The other major concern for people living in our wonderful little town is that I am still married to my wife but living with another women. It must me a miracle that I have not been struck down by some vengeful god or that the woman I am living in sin with has not been stoned yet. I guess that one day once everyone has judged me here on earth and I pass on to the other side I will have to pay for my sins. My only defense to the Big Man will be the truth. I will tell him that I lived a full life, that I did not read my bible, that I sinned and lived with another woman before I was married to her, I even made love to her before we were married, and the worst part of it was that actually in the country we lived in at the time I was still legally married to my wife as my divorce was still not finalized two years down the line. I guess when God hears that he will send me straight to hell to go visit my friends that I sinned with. I do understand if any of you reading this choose not to hang out with me on the off chance you end up banished to hell. No hard feelings, I might even have access to the internet there and I will Facebook you all with warnings how bad the place really is. I don’t think the bible does it justice, I bet it is much worse down there. Wow I can’t believe I just wrote all that and I do not have the urge to drop to my knees and repent. I guess it is too late for my soul; surely I should have some guilt about living in sin…
Ok, I check, nope, no guilt, not one iota, I guess my situation is far worse than I suspected.
I wonder why I do not feel guilty about living with my twin flame whilst still legally married. My contract is still valid even though I chose not to be party to that contract the day I walked out of the house my wife and I were living in.
I was reading one of my old journals this afternoon and I read about the week that I left the house. For the first time in a long time I did not feel alone as I had living with my wife. In my journal I wrote that I was expecting to feel sad, alone, filled with regret. Yet I felt a sense of joy returning, surrounded by my family, my parents, my brother, my gran and uncle and aunts rallied around me with their support. They saw the demise of the marriage and they did everything in their power to help me keep it together. I couldn’t carry on though. I had spoken to my wife, written her letters and eventually written an ultimatum says that should she not arrive home again after been out I will pack a bag a leave, well needless to say I was out the house in less than a week with my soon to be ex- wife saying that she didn’t think I was serious.
I was accused of having affairs. In truth I did have an affair. It was with the lady I now live with. We exchanged letters via Skype, and possibly the odd email. Definitely though Skype was our preferred method of communication. Finally I had found someone who would listen to me, someone who actually heard what I was saying. I don’t recall exactly how long the chats went on. Tania tried her best to break it off and I was insistent though. Eventually our letters started to get more personal and finally they crossed the line. I was having an affair via my keyboard over Skype. I was sharing my heart with someone who was not my wife. (After we cut ties I researched emotional affairs and found that they were real and that they caused a lot of damage.) I tried to make right and cut all ties with Tania, it was a difficult time, however for well over a year Tania and I did not talk. We did not even greet each other. In fact Tania was rightfully very very hostile whenever she saw me. I had led her on and she had got hurt. After I had left my wife and finally found a place of my own, I happened to bump into Tania one night whilst she was out with her daughter. I greeted her and her daughter and they left soon after. About a week or so later I finally manned up and called her and apologized for all the hurt I had caused. Over the next few weeks we started communicating again and the rest I guess is love.
Well my story has taken on a direction that I did not see. It was supposed to be a blog about how I struggled to maintain focus on my daughter’s birthday party and I ended up with admitting to an affair I had whilst married. I guess that is just how I write, always unpredictable much the same as my art. I start with one drawing and it ends up completely different, taking on a life of its own. I love writing and drawing. I also love our morning mindful meditations that Tania and I do. It brings a certain calmness to my life that at the moment is very very full of things I would rather not have to deal with, yet I know that without facing them head on I will have to eventually face these challenges. I would rather just tackle them head on right now and keep looking forward.
So, to those of you that have made it this far. Pick up a stone and join the mob if you so wish, you are free to judge me as you please. This is the authentic me, this is how I live my life. I know that I make some very silly choices (if I didn’t I wouldn’t be in this situation right now) But life has been good to me and blessed me with people that love me and care for me and see me for who I am with all my faults. They are the ones that offer gentle advice without judging. They are the ones that know there are always 2 sides to a story even when I am the narrator. These are my everyday hero’s, and I am pretty sure that not a single one of them would have read this as they are the very people getting along with their own lives. They know that we all have difficulties as they live in the moment. They care deeply for other people and provide words of love and encouragement even when the chips are down. They also know that each of us is on our own journey and our choices have let us to the life we are currently experiencing, and whether from the outside that looks good or bad, they are unattached as if is a choice that is brought on as a direct result of our previous actions. These are the people who look closely at themselves and teach me to do the same thing with my life.
So I will end tonight’s brief little thought of the day. Tomorrow I will wake up, watch the sun come up with my son as we do when he is here with me and we will discuss what we hope the new day will hold for us. We will talk about the fun things we did this weekend and leave each other’s company with a blessing spoken between us.
May you all have a wonderful week, filled with love, hope and a healthy dose of understanding.