Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Christmas Separated

December 18, 2008

Yeah, this is going to feel a bit weird.  This will be the first Christmas that I’m on my own…ever.

Girl Child is doing a stellar job of trying to support both her mom and me.  She is, admittedly, a bit conflicted about how best to do so.  I have tried to minimize pressure on her by suggesting that, “Christmas is not just a day, it’s a shared moment… whenever you and I can share that moment, that will be our Christmas.”  Which will likely mean that she’ll spend Christmas Day with her mom.  And, honestly?  I am good with that.  I’ve made a life choice to maximize my potential for happiness in the long run.  Yet, as said in the opening line, this will be a bit weird. 

Still, I want to try and have Christmas.  I may not be in the holiday mood (I’m not, really), but at least wanted some of the trappings to help me get there.

But… 

No trappings.  Other than a new ornament bought on a whim and some Santa placemats, I had nothing holiday-ish.

I had to go back home to [scary music swells] The Spouse and get some of the Christmas decorations. 

On the advice of many friends, I didn’t give her much warning of my intentions.  Rather, I called about an hour before I wanted to be there.  I knew that Daughter Person would be out that evening (getting her CPR certification, the little life saver).  This would avoid having that bit of extra emotional impact on hand.  I also knew The Spouse would be highly unlikely to be otherwise occupied [biting my tongue here to avoid saying “…sitting around doing not much of anything…” – – damn!  Said it anyway…] so I figured I could avoid some drama.  Surprised The Spouse with my request, but she said to come on over. 

One of the first things she asked, in a rather accusatory tone, when I got there was, “Did you tell Girl Child we were doing this?”  

I replied (I think gently), “No, I knew that she was at CPR class and thought this the best time.”

She countered, a bit vitriolic, “So, you were going to leave it to me to tell her?” 

[blink…blink…blink…]

<heavy sigh>   

No clue, but thought it best to let it go and not engage in a useless fuss.  I’m thinking that my refusal to rise to argue set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Dragged all the Christmas boxes down to the living room and started through them one by one.  Most of the non-ornament stuff we could easily split… stuff that was her family’s or given to her by her family and vice versa.  Then there was the stuff we bought together over the years.  Except in very few cases, those were equitably split. 

Then, the ornaments – – –

Oy!  This would be difficult.  Again, some were family.  I laid claim to my Mom’s ornaments right away.  The Spouse didn’t fuss.  Likewise, there were a couple from her family… yep, take ‘em. 

The rest?  I used a technique that worked out well when my siblings and I were splitting up mom’s stuff (albeit we were not at odds with each other).  Whatever was wanted by both of us was put on the dining room table [GnuKid’s hackles rise still that she got the dining room table… grrr].  Kid’s ornaments… ornaments with stories attached (e.g., the manatee ornament)… ornaments from places lived (e.g., a White House commemorating a job I held near Washington DC)… all on the table.  Then, deferring to her to take the first turn, we then went back and forth picking out favorites…

I thought there’d still be issues and tears, but it went amazingly well.  Okay, I did cheat some… whenever an ornament came out of the box and she expressed interest, I claimed interest too even if I hated the thing.  Figured she’d use a turn to claim it and that’d leave me more ornaments I really wanted to choose from.   

When done?  I got a lot more than expected.  Had to leave a few I really liked behind, but got some I truly wanted… including a crèche scene with Christmas Kangaroo…

There was one that neither of us wanted.  A spun fabric ornament with some sappy Hallmark verse on one side and on the other side?   “Couple’s First Christmas” 

I took it…not as one of my picks… just to get it out of sight.

So… what to do with it?  And, before you say it, I’m sure it would fit up there, but may need lubrication.

Some ideas I had or were given to me?   

          Hang it on the back of the tree, upside down (sort of like the international signal for distress by flying the flag upside down)

          Have a party and ceremoniously burn it

          Put it on e-Bay in hopes that there’s some poor couple out there who married the same year we did and are looking for “just the right remembrance” of their special day (just as I’m looking for “just the right forgetfulness”).

 

Brighter Glimmers

August 31, 2008

(N.B.:  This post was written under the influence of a very fine Irish Whiskey [Jameson’s]… this is on the advice of a very good friend who suggested my words would come easier if my mind was lubricated with libation).

I write this as a purge of my own experience of the events of yesterday, so I can better remember.  Also, I’m thinking someone somewhere may see this as being an example of hope in a similar situation they may be going through.

I hesitate to be hopeful myself, but find it difficult not to consider the glimmer of hope brightening for a more amicable settlement with The Wife.  This was based on an emotionally draining, but positive sit-down with her yesterday to see if we could actually negotiate who gets what.

Anticipating the meeting with fear of a very negative emotional event, I nonetheless decided to apply some of my training as a facilitator and approached the meeting from a systematic and logical perspective.  I started off stating my goals and objectives for the sit-down (and, no, the goal was not “GnuKid wants to keep from throttling you when you go off to inane conclusions about impossibilities”).

Actually, my first goal was to make her feel more comfortable that her financial state after the Divorce would not leave her scraping the worms off the sidewalk for her supper.  My second goal was that we could, as stated in an earlier post, avoid buying our lawyers new BMWs.

Discussions went fairly well, albeit with quite a few bumps.  I forced myself to fully listen to her questions without wanting to yell at her to grow a brain.  Fairly successful there, too.  At no time did I blurt out that she’s been a life sucking vampire draining me of happiness and joy in my life.  Aren’t you proud of me?

And the hopeful news was that was actually semi-agreeable to the concessions I made.  She repeated that this was all too confusing for her and she wanted to walk it by her lawyer (GnuKid’s blood runs cold and a bit of vomit rises in his throat).  But… for the moment… she seemed willing to negotiate.

At the end?  I thanked her for her patience in listening to me and being open about her fears and concerns.  She thanked me as well, then (admittedly a bit surprisingly to me) asked if it would be too uncomfortable for me to give her a hug.  Wow… of course, I did so.  There was hope…

…there IS hope…

My Sister

June 27, 2008

I am emotionally detached from my sister. She seems more like a distant third aunt twice removed, than a sister. Some of that is because she was already a teenager when i showed up as an “oops” child. The rest of the reason? I’m not sure.

There are other things through my life which made me feel detached from her, but the defining moment in my relationship with sis was when my niece, my sister’s only child, got married a few years back. Two events lay etched in my mind—

The first event pissed me off more than it should have, so I’m admitting to some over-sensitivity. Having struggled with being overweight all my life… and at this point in time weighing the most I ever did… I was nonetheless shocked by what happened. After the wedding, when the eleventy-seven pictures were being taken, it was time for the pictures of the bride’s uncles and mom. My sister, always the fussy organizer, was trying to get my brother and me in just the right place for the photo. Just before the picture was taken, she looked at me again and said, none too quietly,

Sister: “Don’t worry, GnuKid, the photographer can photoshop out your double chins.”

Now… smile for the picture, GnuKid. Good thing I’m an actor.

That event teed me up for the quickly following second, which my Boy Child shared with me after the pictures and just before the reception.

It was a small wedding which seemed to have many details left to the last. There were no ushers planned for, so my Boy Child was ‘volunteered’ for duty 10 minutes before the ceremony. A quick instruction was sufficient for him—seat the groom’s family on the right, the bride’s on the left, and ‘leave the first two rows for immediate family, including my sister’s siblings’. After all were seated (the Boy dutifully seating me in the second row), the last in were to be parents of the bride and groom. When my sister came to the door to be escorted in, there was a panicked exchange with Boy Child—

Sister: “What’s GnuKid doing sitting in the second row? That’s for immediate family! You have to re-seat him! Wait… [pause]… that’s right… he’s my brother… he’s my brother… he’s my brother…”.

Funny? Yeah, I can see the humor. But after a life of feeling so distant from her, this just sealed that feeling.

But, she’s family. Do I love her? Yeah… Do I like her? Well… no.