Life with Teenagers

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a little love

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“You sure you like the tree?” I ask nobody in particular as I set down my plate at the table. The new Christmas tree is adorned with a multitude of white lights and a few ornaments I stole from my ex’s stash. “Come over with your ornament box,” I pleaded to him in my cellphone the day before as I was snapping the three prelit pieces of plastic splendor together in my new living room. “Hey, I watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas with the boys this year and I really enjoyed it,” my ex replied with enthusiasm. I was focused on bending my tree’s wire branches into position. “Uh huh… so I think there are some I want and you’re not using them, right? And come over now if you can, I want your opinion,” I said. I clipped the cellphone shut, plugged in the cord, and stood back to get a better view.

The glow of the tree’s millionth mini light bulb gave it an overall neon look, less like the “faintly-reminiscent-of-snow covered” look it had in the Big Lots store. It was now looking even more fake than I thought.

“Mom, the tree is fine. At least you got a tree. I can’t believe you were thinking of skipping it. You can’t have Christmas without a tree,” says the younger teen walking past me with his plate of food in his hand. Across the table, the tea light candles shimmer in the new mercury glass holders and cast a glow on my partners face as she nods in agreement. It’s dusk outside on a mild December day and the horizon glows pink in the spaces between the pine trees in the far back yard. Two boxwood wreaths in each window, designed to match the ones from the page I tore out of the Olive and Cocoa catalog, hang from a red grosgrain ribbon. A green blinking triangle starts to form in the very corner of my eye, and I try to pretend I don’t really see the artificialness of the tree.

The younger teen plops himself down at the head of the long rectangular table and puts his plate down on the mat just as I’m sliding it into place. This is the room where my partner has traditionally hosted large dinner parties and holidays and the three of us now look slightly lost. We are crowded over at one end of the table, a large plate of italian sausage and white beans before us, the place settings flanked by cloth napkins, and the table center studded with three small flickering candles.

“Do you think you added enough olives to this, mom?” asks the younger teen creating a brown cone-shaped pile on the edge of his plate.

This recipe has olives and capers to give it that salty taste,” I say to him. “You like the rest of it though, right? You are eating the escarole right now.”

“Hey! what about me?” asks the older teen now emerging from the basement and sniffing out the smells of dinner wafting from the kitchen stove.

“Go get yourself a plate,” I say to him. “But I”m not sure you will like it.”

“Mom, can we order the IPad now? I can show you the one I want,” says the younger teen.

“Hey, I left my Christmas list on the table too, did you see it, Mom?” asks the older teen.

“Do you like the tree?” I ask him as he sits at the table beside me.

Without looking up from his plate he says, “It’s great. Nice tree.”

“Should I put it in an envelope and send it to Santa?” ribs my partner directing her fork toward the older teen across the table.”

“Yah? you think you’re funny, huh J dog? And you over there, son, don’t say anything or I’ll hurt you,” he says, looking at his younger brother.

I tune out the flurry of Christmas list conversation and remember my mom’s text message to me as I walked the aisles of the Big Lots store days before. “I can’t believe you are shopping at Big Lots, you have changed.”

And she is right, in a way. A lot has changed this year. It’s been five months since my teens and I moved in to my partner’s house down the street from my old apartment. The house is different, the tree is artificial, and we are ordering high-tech toys from my laptop computer at the dinner table with a credit card and calling it Christmas cheer. But what’s really new is that I don’t know when I’m going to muster up some holiday spirit this year. And maybe it’s ok if I don’t try to fake it. Maybe it will arrive magically over dinner on Christmas day, when we all sit together sharing a meal like this one, and the sun sets in the backyard, the candles start glowing, and we are all suddenly and brilliantly reminded of how grateful we are to have each other. The same as always.

“Yeah that’s better,” I think to myself and look directly at the bright spectacle in the corner. I conjure up images of Charlie Brown and his unadorned real tree in contrast to my spanking new, pre-lit fake one.

It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.


Written by kmguay

December 14, 2011 at 11:08 pm

what is wrong with my hair?

with one comment

The December sunlight streams through the slatted shades. The dog lies curled on his blue blanket. My youngest teen is sitting in the easy chair by the window with a macbook on his lap.

“Mom, it’s going to be $54.95 for more ram. Can I use your credit card?” he asks.

“My wallet is in my black bag,” I say, shifting my slippered feet onto the coffee table and pulling the wool blanket over my legs. The light in the room is exquisite and I don’t feel like moving except to maybe adjust my ball cap one more time and gather all my hair, pulling it through the half moon of the back into one curly ponytail while tightening the strap.My parents matching black wheelie-bag suitcases line up against the white wall. From where I sit, I can see the remains of our breakfast- a half-eaten apple, cherry and cheese pastry ring, and coffee cups still littering the dining table.

“It’s called the Elephant Bar,” says my father sitting in front of the PC on the desk in the dining room.

“Oh, the one we were thinking of was called the Elephant Walk“, I say.

“Yeah, I thought it wasn’t that big of a chain,” says my girlfriend sitting beside me on the couch. “I know there are few in the Boston area, but not Florida.”

“Pat, it’s called the Elephant Bar,” says my father again to my mother as she walks by the computer desk to stand in front of the large wall mirror in the dining room.

“What is wrong with my hair?” she asks the room. “It used to be thick like A’s,” she looks directly at the three of us flopped over the couch and chairs in the other room, “but now its feeling thin all of a sudden.”

“Patty, they have sushi style tuna for Barbara,” my father says again.

I take my ball cap off and let my hair fall in front of my eyes.

“What do you want to do today?” I ask my girlfriend and start listing the possibilities.

“Why don’t we wait until your parents leave,” she says.

“Mom, is the shipping address the same as the billing address? asks my teen.

“Yes,” I say to him.

“And what is the security code?” he asks.

My girlfriend gets up off the couch to show him the back of the credit card. I grab all of my hair in one fist and hold it above my head.

“I need to get this hair cut,” I say. “Maybe I should call the salon and see if Anthony can fit me in today.” I get up off the couch and take the cordless phone with me on the way to the bathroom. I put the phone down on the sink and peer into the bathroom mirror at my roots.

“Oh my god. Look at these roots!” I say.

I grab a swath of hair from my head and hold it in the air while returning to the bright light of the dining room again, passing my parents still huddled over the restaurant menu displayed on the computer monitor.

“Will you look at this hair?” I ask my girlfriend, bending over the couch with a fistful held high so she can see.

“Wow,” she says. “It’s a straight line.”

“I’d be completely white if I didn’t color this hair.”

“What’s wrong with that? asks my white-haired smirking father from the computer desk.

“I’m too young for this,” I reply disgusted and flop back down on the couch. I let go of my hair again and let it fall around my face and into my eyes in a tangle.

“You look just like you did when you were a little girl and you just woke up,” says my mother joining the conversation.
And to my girlfriend she turns and says, eyeing my feet that are now back on the coffee table “Do you like her slippers?”

“The thing is, I just did them. 70 bucks. And now I have to do them again. I should just pay the teen over there,” I say motioning to him still on the easy chair with his head fixated on the laptop screen.

“Mom, I can’t do your roots. I have to keep my dignity,” says my teen.

I look over at my girlfriend.

“Well… ” she says.

“Honey, you’d do my roots for me? How romantic!” I whisper while jabbing her in the side.

“Well, I can give it a try.” she says.

“I’m worried about Grandpa,” says my mother now walking over to the mirror again. “He’s not coming to Florida. He says he is comfortable being at home. Staying right where he is.”

My father gets up from the computer to stand next to my mother.

“Poppy, will you look at my hair? What the heck happened to it?” she asks.

From my spot on the couch I can see the computer monitor which has just switched back from the restaurant website to the family slideshow flipping through the very recent photos of Thanksgiving day dinner. Fifteen people at my dinner table and nearly four generations. And how is it that my youngest child can barely fit on the chair anymore? That my parents are on their way back to their golf course in Florida? That I insist on a little plate of black olives, celery and carrot sticks in the middle of a beautifully set table at Thanksgiving to help me remember my grandmother, that my own teenage self is more and more a distant memory?

“We had a nice visit,” says my mother gathering up some things from the table to add to her bag.

We did have a nice visit, I think to myself as I soak in the moment, the light, the laziness of a Saturday afternoon on the couch in December with a houseful of family.

“But now its time for us to go back to Floreeeda where it’s warm.” says my mother. “Poppy, we have to go back where its warm.”

And it is time. Time for the older teen to come home from drivers ed class. Time for me and my girlfriend to plan our day. Time for me to get the house back in order, to get ready for the coming week, to do a million things that adults have to do.

But first, I really need to take care of this hair.

Written by kmguay

December 9, 2009 at 2:54 am

Posted in family, holiday, mothers

who wants a roll?

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From my family to yours. Happy Thanksgiving

Written by kmguay

November 23, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Posted in family, holiday

Tagged with , ,

the hard way

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It’s Sunday morning and I’m still in pajamas at my girlfriend’s kitchen table, flipping through the Sunday paper. I take a last sip from my oversized pottery coffee mug and watch my cellphone vibrate itself across the glass-top surface of the table.
“Morning hon,” I say as I flip it open against my ear. It’s my 16-yr-old calling from his dad’s house.
“Mom, we have to go to the mall today. I have money. I want to get this before Saturday,” he says.
“But you have all week. And I don’t want to go to the mall. Can’t we just go to TJ Maxx later? I ask.
“I already picked the locket out!” he says, his voice rising now. It has to be Zales, mom.”
And now the stream of consciousness ranting starts.
“Hey wait a minute, hold on, slow down. What do you mean you don’t want to screw up with her anymore? Is she being demanding with you? Did you have a fight about something?” I ask.
“Forget it mom, I’m sorry I’m ruining your day. I’ll figure something else out. Go back to reading the paper,” he says.

And there it is. A heaping dose of guilt to go with my second cup of morning coffee.

“So what’s up?” my girlfriend asks from the sink, her hands gloved in yellow rubber and holding the coffee pot upside down over the kitchen compost pail. She has been methodically scraping used grounds from the bottom for the past few minutes and stealing a look at me, now frowning and sliding the closed cellphone back and forth on the kitchen table.
“Which creature was it?
“Teen number one,” I reply. “Demanding his turn at the mall this time so he can spend all his hard-earned money on his girlfriend for their one-year anniversary present. And mind you, this is all on top of the play tickets, the commuter rail fare into Boston, dinner.”
“Kris, just the Boston part alone could cost him around a hundred dollars,” she says over the sound of the water spray she is aiming into the upturned pot in the sink.
“I know this. I think it’s too much. And what’s worse is that he seems to be taking it all on himself like its something he is expected to do. Like it is some penance he needs to pay for being a bad boyfriend.”
“Hold on,” she says while grinding the beans.

I gaze out the window to watch a cardinal hop around under the japanese cousa tree just starting to change color. The morning dew on the grass is evaporating, a glint or two of wet still rim the edges of curling leaves on the ground, and the sun is beginning to shine from behind white puffy clouds in a bright blue sky. The morning is just now threatening to burst into one of those gloriously crisp fall days.
“Great and I’m going to be at the mall,” I say outloud.

My girlfriend walks over to the table holding a small white plate displaying two square bites of raspberry apple strudle. She places it in front of me and sits in the chair beside me, picking up up both of my feet to rest them on her lap.
“Don’t let him guilt you, Kris,” she says.
“I know. It’s not that. It’s just that… Well, he knows what I did for your birthday. He knows about the plane tickets, the costume, the special breakfast. How can I tell him he is doing too much, he is going overboard, when his mother pulls out all the stops for birthdays and anniversaries? I ask.
“He’s only sixteen. I don’t think it is the same thing,” she says.

And it’s not the same thing, but it might be worse. It has taken me years to finally grasp what constitutes giving yourself away and what is staying true to yourself in a relationship. I worry about this teen because he never hurts anyone’s feelings except his own. And I worry about him feeling obligated to do more and be more to please someone else. I want to tell him how I know all about this, how I’ve lived it, how I’ve suffered with it. And yet I’m also almost certain it’s not the kind of wisdom you can impart to a 16-yr-old during a 15-minute drive on the highway. I think it has to be experienced. It has to be learned over time and maybe over painful mistakes. I think it has to be learned the hard way.

“You need to go to the mall, don’t you?” my girlfriend asks while getting up to pour the second cup of coffee.
“I just think I’ll be able to get more information, maybe he’ll hear something I say if I share my own stories, and I can hopefully talk his jewelry purchase down to something more reasonably priced. You’ll be ok with this, right?
“You know I will,” she says while handing me my mug. “I have things I can do today and I’ll see you for Sunday dinner later. Go take your son to the mall.”

Written by kmguay

October 8, 2009 at 1:37 am

statistically speaking

with 2 comments

n541933000_820157_846My 16-yr-old and his girlfriend sit side by side at the computer desk. She holds a paperback book in front of her face and he leans in front of her to grab and click around with the mouse on the opposite side. “Facebook isn’t homework,” I say on my way by, passing through the dining room still dragging the vacuum cleaner by the handle behind me. He flips the screen off and opens up a word doc. In the top right hand corner he has typed his name, the date, and the words “statistics paper”.

“I see you have made great progress in the last hour,” I say, pausing to grab the pile of paperwork on the dining table with my free hand.
The screen flips off and on again showcasing the drivers ed website.
“We’ve finished the schedule you wanted me to make,” he says, motioning to the papers on the desk “Take a look, mom.”

“The schedule?” I try not to sound as amazed and tense as I feel. Only days earlier, my girlfriend put her hand on my knee under the table in one of her “easy now” gestures as mom and teen both started to raise their voices. “No drivers ed until I see a detailed schedule of all of your commitments!” was my decree to a scowling overwrought teen sitting in front of a half eaten plate of food.

And then again the next night, I wailed in the darkness of the bedroom “He is overextended, It’s going to be like last year, He won’t finish homework, He will fail out of high school.”
“Shhhhh okay, okay,” she said. “But Kris, you are going to have to help him with this schedule, you know that right? He is going to need your help.”

“Mom, can you look at the schedule?” he asks again and from across the room I start firing questions.
“Did you fit in the three nights I need you home for dinner?
“How about your leaders meetings?”
“Thursday nights.”
“And your job?”
“Three afternoons from three to six.”
“And is there time for homework?”
“And what about your girlfriend, did you save some time for her?” His girlfriend gives him a playful nudge on his arm and he smiles back at me.
“Yeah she’s in there too.”

I don’t have a comeback for all this forethought and organization.
“Just get that paper done and I’ll look closely at it later,” I call out from the kitchen now while starting to clear off the cutting board. The front door opens and closes and I hear my girlfriend adressing the teens in the other room. I lean over to search under the cabinet for the metal mixing bowl as she turns the corner ranting about her exasperating day.
“And I get all the way there and I realize that I forgot the cleaning so I have to turn back again. Oh and then!”
I pull out the container of olives from the fridge, the block of parmesan cheese, a lemon, and the container of mesclun greens and start piling them on the counter. She stands directly in front of me for a moment, catching my eyes. “Enough about me, how was your day?”
“My son did his schedule” I whisper.
“What!? Oh my god, that’s great!” she whispers back. “God damn!”
I dump the greens into the bowl and douse them with a squeeze of the lemon and juice runs down my hand and arm.
“Wow! I’m really proud of that boy. Kris, that is great,” she says again handing me a towel.
“I know I know, but…” I say and the “I know buts” start to pour out of my mouth as easily as the olive oil that slides out of the overturned bottle I shake onto the greens.
“Kris,” she says again, “Really, it is great.”

And it IS great. So why am I so skeptical? Why is my first reaction so often a critical doubting one? I’m not like this with his brother.
“That’s because you have no faith in me, mom!” These words have often assaulted me, spraying forth from my oldest son’s mouth in the kitchen while both of us yell back and forth at each other. And he is right. I have a very hard time having faith in him.

He is a lot like his father and not much like his brother. He has his father’s easy loving way, his fast-talking storytelling ease, his humor. They both can light up a room, shine in the spotlight at a party, go out of their way to help a stranger. But I didn’t have any faith in his father either. For reasons I couldn’t even explain at the time, I wanted more from my marriage and I was sure he couldn’t give it to me. I wanted out.

We carry the plates of salad through the dining room and over to the living room couch, passing by the teen who is now rapidly typing away at his paper.
“So why are you writing a paper on statistics anyway?” my girlfriend asks taking a stab at the lettuce on her plate with a fork, “I thought this class was more about numbers and word problems?”

“Mr Fahazad wants us to write about why statistics matter, how they make a difference in the world, how they relate to me, “he says. He rattles off talk of how they are important to coaches, how you rely on them when you check the weather, etc…. and my girlfriend listens and nods in approval back at him while eating her salad. And as they talk, my mind starts to wander. What do I know about statistics that I can add to the conversation except that I am one? A divorced woman who just left another long term relationship only a year ago. I have read the statistics that say that pretty much half of all marriages end in divorce. And if you are foolish enough to even attempt to test fate again and choose to get remarried, according to the statistics, almost 70% of us hopeless humans will file for divorce again.

But in love and parenting, should you follow the statistical evidence? Or should you just follow your heart? What do I really care about what the statistics say when I look over and see my girlfriend patting my slacker teen on the back for his great job of thinking through the assignment and doing the work? No, my odds are on my third and last attempt to find the right partner. And I’d put all my money on my teen’s ability to surprise me despite what appears to be an overwhelming mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Now, just don’t anybody tell Mr. Fahazad.

Written by kmguay

September 16, 2009 at 1:26 am


with 4 comments

moonlightIt’s 2am and I’m awake. On my way down the hallway to the kitchen, I can see the light from the TV room outlining the bottom of the door. There is talking on the TV but the teens are eerily quiet for this early hour. Such is the cursory thought passing my mind as I enter the dark kitchen and start fumbling for a glass of water. Damn kids. I notice the empty Britta water pitcher hanging out by the stove. I open the refrigerator door and the entire case of coke cans are gone. I survey the kitchen counter. The plastic bag that held the pastry is missing. Inside the refrigerator, the foil-wrapped package of seven pizza slices leftover from dinner is gone. Come to think of it, where’s the container of fried chicken pieces? I close the door and look up to the oversized bowl above that holds the chip bags and the family size smartfood bag is also gone. For fun, I open the freezer door. The box of ice cream sandwiches is open- ok, not empty- but the box has been attacked, half of it ripped apart, one sandwich still sticking out from the top while two others lie beside the frozen hamburger.

I close the door with a sigh. And then I see that the bag of whole wheat, unsalted sesame crackers has also been pilfered and lies discarded and half open next to the toaster. My mother instinct tells me something isn’t right. Sentences spoken from my youngest teen earlier that evening fill my head now as I start to piece things together. “Mom, can you buy extra snacks and soda for tonight?” “When are you going to bed mom?” “Goodnight mom,” said to me one too many times. My youngest teen isn’t one to hold back when there is food in the house, and yet at 10pm I was wrapping up practically all the uneaten pizza and chicken that I had been instructed to buy. When I was growing up, my own mother had the uncanny ability to sniff out a lie or a poorly planned scheme. Teenage dishonesty has a distinct smell. And I apparently possess the same unique gift that my mother had. The kitchen reeks.

On a hunch, I take the back way to my oldest teen’s bedroom, cutting through the laundry room and slipping through the door. He’s not in his bed, his pants are strewn across the floor, and the mini blind to the back window is hanging askew. I can see that the window is down but the screen behind it is pushed all the way up. Something isn’t right. I tiptoe through the adjoining door to my other teen’s room. There’s skateboard shoe boxes scattered about, papers, pants on the floor, both bunkbeds unmade and towels on the bedpost. It’s the usual scene except for the large wrench on the floor, only a few feet away from a toolbox I usually keep on a shelf in the hall. Something definitely isn’t right.

Now I slowly push open the door to the TV room where all four teens sit wide awake and not saying a word. Three of them are bolt upright on the couch, the one in the middle has his eyes closed, the other at the end is zoning out into the TV screen. My youngest is across the room flopped across the overstuffed chair. I don’t even look at my oldest. “How come you are up mom?” Everything ok mom? Mom? Mom?” he says, barely a blur to me out of the corner of my eye. Paranoia from my oldest is not new and I say nothing back as I continue my way through the wreckage of the room, picking up the bowl of picked clean chicken bones and the empty cellophane popcorn bag from the floor. “You guys look baked, ” I say to no one in particular and with no inflection whatsoever in my voice as my youngest teen pulls the comforter cover over his face. “And another thing,” I say on my second pass through, this time gathering up empty coke cans, and crumpled up paper towels from the carpet, “I don’t want you climbing through the back window onto the deck. You hear me? And all of you, go to bed.”

My girlfriend hears me open the door to my room and climb back in bed beside her. “Everything allright?” she asks, her voice slightly faltering through half sleep. She rolls closer to me and drapes an arm over my side. “The kids are stoned.” I say back. “What?” she asks, a little more alertly now, “What makes you think that?” The moonlight from the bedroom window illuminates her face and I watch her expression change as I rattle off all the evidence. “You have more first-hand knowledge of this than I do, what does it sound like to you?” I ask her. She shakes her head and draws a deep breath. “Yeah, I’d say you were right.” she says back. After a long time, she asks me, “What are you going to do?” “I don’t know, I say back, “but I think I’m going to sleep on it.”

This is a new approach for me. Having been a practitioner of the instant response all my life, of the quick-tempered, “lose my mind” reaction, and a person who is more comfortable with fighting it out and cleaning up the mess of the aftermath the next day, I’m now (one divorce and one major breakup later) all too aware of the price you can pay for thoughtless bursts of anger. My girlfriend squeezes me tighter and strokes her toes on top of my foot as I lie awake staring at the ceiling.

“They have too much freedom.” I say in response to nothing. My internal working mom’s dilemma playing out in my head. I left my last relationship in part because I wanted to be the mom who was home on a friday night making pizzas and hosting the teenage sleepover party. I wanted one small tangible part of being Mrs Brady, or Mrs Huxtable, or any number of those TV moms from my childhood who had all the answers when it came to dealing with their own teenagers. I wanted even a tiny piece of the perfect parenting myth. But in reality- working moms, stay home moms, gay moms, or straight moms- the result is still the same. Teenagers sometimes make bad decisions. And all I really need to ask myself is: How am I going to handle it now?

“In your partying days, if your mom had confronted you, what would you have said?” I ask my girlfriend while propped up on one elbow in bed. “Oh I think I would have denied it vehemently,” she says back. I think about this awhile as the words hang in the dark stillness of the bedroom. I keep remembering myself at the same age. How there wasn’t any point to my continuing a lie once I had been found out. I wanted nothing more than the relief of honesty. There was nothing worse in my mind than my parents’ silence.

“But even still,” my girlfriend says to me, smoothing the hair from my forehead with her hand, “I think you should confront them.” She is right of course. I should. And I will. I’m not sure what I will say in the morning, but I take comfort in the fact that they have heard enough from me tonight to know that I know. And I take comfort, in a weird way, in knowing that at least they were at home during a sleepover when they chose to manipulate and totally deceive their mother. And I also take comfort in knowing that I have finally found the right partner to share my parenting angst with in the middle of the night. In the dark. During my own sleepover.

Written by kmguay

August 31, 2009 at 1:34 am

Posted in mothers, relationship, teenagers

Tagged with , ,

sadists and syrup

with 2 comments

I just ate my weight in waffles. And yes, there is one more in the toaster. waffles Standing in the kitchen, still in my work pants and sandals, but now in a ratty sweatshirt that leaves me plenty of room to slouch, I mindlessly inhale the mingling flavors of butter, maple syrup, and snot. I’m crying again and pacing through the quiet house with a plate in one hand and a fork in the other. The October light is new for this empty room and I’m not sure I like it much. My hanging planters are away for the winter, the view from the window above the couch is unobstructed and I can see bright orange splattering the front yard across the street. Today I don’t feel joyful about autumn leaves. And tomorrow my ex–partner will get a letter from my lawyer.

“Well, what she could do is drag this out. And getting the court involved will take a good year and it’s expensive.” says my pencil thin lawyer scribbling a few notes onto a yellow legal pad. “Of course, if yours falls in the 5% of all the situations I see like these that actually DO litigate,” she straightens out the glasses on her face for a minute, “and I don’t really see that happening- but if it does, of course we’ll try to get you more than half. We’re not talking a lot of money here so it would be a shame if this actually goes to trial.”‘

Now I feel scolded. I shouldn’t be here. If I were a better more evolved person, my ex and I would be sitting at a table over coffee discussing how and when we should do this.

“Well you read the email I forwarded, didn’t that sound like a “screw you, Kris” to you? She won’t talk to me and I’ve been trying since July so what choice do I have?” I say this to my lawyer a little too loud and with some defensiveness in my voice. I feel ridiculous now. Because of course its not that simple. Why did I think I was going to have Ms Ballbuster take my hand and say: honey, you came to the right place and this will be over in a matter of days.

“It sounded like a kiss-off to me, yes, ” she says matter-of-factly and looking me straight in the eyes, “and if you are asking me what you should do, I say we send a letter.” And then she adds as an afterthought, with a smile just barely turning up the corners of her mouth, “You know, this is why I love this job. People in these situations – and this is a divorce like any other- they know each other and they know how to make each other crazy. I never know what I’m going to see.” She laughs, “Maybe I’m a sadist.”


We agree on a small retainer. I write the check. We mention our teenagers at home. But there is nothing about this meeting that has me reassured or feeling empowered at all. Do I want a sadist lawyer? I don’t want to do any of this. But I also don’t want to continue to be told to wait quietly while my equity in the house erodes, my credit is at risk, and my heart continues to be stomped on with every day that my ex-partner smugly performs what she knows will hurt me the most. The deep freeze. The complete withdrawal. The attitude that says: Not only do you not matter to me and never have, but you don’t exist at all.

Funny, but when you don’t exist, it sometimes means filling yourself up with waffles just to feel substantial again. Hmmm I think I just heard the toaster pop.

Written by kmguay

August 25, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Posted in relationship

Tagged with , ,