As quickly as the father of my children came into town, he is gone again. He arrived in town on Sunday night, in time for bed, called the kids each separately for a ten minute call.
Monday morning while the girls were in school, he took my son with him. Beginning with breakfast at his ( the dad) favorite cafe. It is a great place to eat I agree, but would it kill him to ask my son what he would like? Next they headed to Cabelas, an enormous outdoor sports mans store large enough to house all the homeless in the entire western states alone. Turns out this particular store is not in Alaska.
My ex husband and his past two wives are true Alaskans- They hunt not your average deer and geese, but also bear, cougars, and other larger than life wild animals. So going to this particular store is, I am sure, a real treat for their father.
However, he has but two days to spend with who should be his number one priority. He chose to spend the day, showing this new wife around the wild animal torsos hanging on the wall (I hear they took photos) , a treat for the two of them, an intimate honeymoon moment for the two of them. Discussing and questioning the many types of fish in the indoor ponds. My son didn't say it, he never would, but I am sure that he felt like a third wheel. No one should EVER feel like a third wheel when with their parent.
I realize that he is on his honeymoon, I realize that this is a time when they are still learning about each other. But his children are what she should be learning about in these two days, and they about her. Thing is, my son barely knows his father, let alone this new wife. As my son relayed their day out with me, not once did he mention talking to his father about what is going on in his own life. My son has been in rigorous military training for the past two years, with tough times and also some really great experiences that he and I have discussed at length. His father, also a veteran, didn't inquire.
Later in the day when they picked up their sisters after school their next stop was to visit with relatives of my ex, who my children have met a time or two but whom are literal strangers to them. That being so, it was my exes uncle who cared enough to ask my son what job he was assigned in the military. Then talk quickly turned to discussion about the time my ex served in the reserves... it is always about him.
That evening my son asked to be dropped off at home as my best friends son was having a birthday at a local trampoline jumping gym and although her son is only eleven, asked my son to come (I too went in support of my friend and am stiff and sore as I am typing this) . My son is a very compassionate person however I feel that if his relationship with his father were different, he would have missed out on the jumping in order to spend more time with his father on his short visit.
That night, my younger daughter had to work and my son was out with us, so my older daughter had some one-on-one with her father.. and his wife. They chose to go mini-golfing. Fun for my daughter I suppose but she has not said much. This hurt me a little as a mother.. I shouldn't let it get to me but one of my sons favorite things to do? Mini golf, any golf really. But then, my ex would not know that, and honestly, was not here for any one's benefit but his own. They had dinner together, at the fast food joint that my daughters both work at. The place they have food more than they care too. I think he may have chosen it as my younger daughter was working that night and they could say hello, but seriously?!
Yesterday, again while the girls were in school, my son went with him once more. Beginning with breakfast at the same establishment, more meetings with relatives, and then home to pick up the girls. they stopped in to drop off their school books, and grab some of our photos to copy. I am sure he didn't have any photos of his kids to show this new wife. After making copies of all the photos at the local super mart, they headed to his hotel room- yes I said hotel room. While there they viewed pictures of their honeymoon trip so far, and pictures of her children. Then they headed to a local park on their way home to take some 'family photos'. How is that for an oxymoron? They didn't say much about their evening when they got home. I am sure that the kids went with him, hoping that they would get to tell him about what is going on in their own lives, but from past experiences, I am sure they never got that chance.
He leaves town this morning, heading south to see his mother and sisters.
There was a time in the past, when the kids would get emotional and ask me when they would see him again. Not this time.
There was a time when they would cry on my shoulder how much they will miss him. Not this time.
There was a time when they would wish that he would be here for future programs and events coming up in their lives. Not this time.
Funny, years ago when I was dating this man, and his father was not in his life much, and he would get emotional about it, I was there. I recall the day, only about a year before we married, that his father and mother announced their pending divorce. I held my ex while he explained how it hurt to think of his parents split even though his father was rarely around. I remember bringing up the emotional Harry Chapin song, cats in the cradle. I remember telling him that some day, his father would regret the times he was not there to see his son growing and his achievements. My then fiance, quickly dismissed my remarks as pure nonsense. He was more than a bit peeved that I would think such a thing of his father.
He and his father have a very sterile relationship to this day. They do not know each other, they do not talk but once a year or so. I do not know of any regrets his father does or does not have. I do not know of any regrets that my ex has either.
All I do know, is that I told my son, if he treats his own potential future children, or anyone else for that matter, in this way I will kick his @ss into tomorrow! And I meant it.
And I also know there is no chance of that! And so does he.
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