I’m still not sure how to talk about this without feeling like the world is crushing me and caving in on me. It still feels dark. It still hurts as bad as it did the night it happened. But it’s important and you need to read it, and I need to share it.
Last month, the inevitable Deer Season was upon us. Prince Charming was geared up, his club dues were paid, all of his tasty snacks were packed away, and his favorite hunting cap was atop his head. He was ready to get away for a week of relaxation, no work, no kids, no stepmomma (how dare he!), no dogs- he was excited. My feelings on hunting season are a LOT different than his. I become overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, depression, loneliness- all of it. I go from 100% to nearly nothing and it’s exhausting in itself.
I’ve never wanted to be the wife that my husband had to “get away from.” I never wanted to be a deer widow. Never wanted to have weeks away from my spouse. But I married a hunter.
I actually really want this sweatshirt. You can buy it for me Here. Size 2x-3x. I’m not kidding at all.
Fast forward to the day after Opening Day. Prince Charming hasn’t seen any deer at this point and he is cranky, not even a pesky doe. I am still unsure if the kids are coming to stay with me on our night or if I’m just going to be kicked to the curb at this point. Most of me longs for them to stay the night, to get good, quality time with them. Some of me is scared and terrified because I can’t entertain a 12 year old and an 8 year old on my own. PC assures me that it’s fine for them to come over, their mom approves. She had recently made a decree that I am not allowed to be with them alone, it’s PC’s parenting time.. not mine. So I was trying to be sensitive to this.
I scoop the boys up from their grandpa’s house and we head home. I made tacos, because I can’t cook real food. We get into a screaming war (this is actually a fun thing for us, I swear), we chase each other around the house. We are giggling our hearts out. Smiles from ear to ear on all three of us.
Then 12 wants to call his mom and ask her a question. The conversation develops and she learns that Dad is hunting and the kiddos are home alone. With me. I am eavesdropping as I stir the taco meat.
“Stepmomma, Mom wants to talk to you.” I stop breathing. I know what’s going to happen.
“So PC isn’t there huh?”
“No, he’s hunting. He’ll be gone til Sunday. I’m gonna take the boys up to him on Friday so we can all see each other at least one night this week, I’ll bring the other kid back to you Saturday.”
“Well. It’s his time with them. Not yours.”
“it’s our time.”
The conversation continues on and I’m told that the kids have to want to spend time with me. That I need to earn their trust. I promise her that I have. That we are laughing and having a good time. She reminds me that this isn’t my time. It’s my husband’s. And if they’re not with their dad, they should be with her. She reminds me that she was a step mom and she gets it. And she wants us to have a good relationship with me, she really does. But they need to be with her. So she’s coming to get them. I told her I didn’t think it was right and requested that we at least be allowed to eat the dinner that I was making for them, permission granted. *click*
I am sobbing. I walk into my bedroom and shut the door. By sobbing I mean.. I am SOBBING. I can’t help it. I don’t want to get mad and upset and have the boys think their mom is a monster. I don’t want them to think I’m a pushover, either. Then I hear 12 get on the phone and say “Mom. You’re wrong. This isn’t right. Let us stay. We’re having fun. You’re being mean, you’re just being mean. She’s not doing anything wrong.”
12 is defending me to his mom. out of his own will. out of his own leading.
I came out to see what was happening, wiping tears away, and I hear him say “You’re being unfair, Mom.”
I turn directly to him and tell him “12, you don’t need to do this. Thank you, but you don’t need to get involved here.” and he looks at me, doesn’t even cover the mouth piece, and says “No. She’s being crazy.”
My heart has never been so full and so broken at the same time.
This woman did the equivalent of taking my heart out of my chest cavity and stomping on it. She ripped it out. She shredded it to pieces. She made me feel small.. in a way I haven’t felt in a very long time. I felt obsolete.
And here comes 12, defending his invisible step mom.
We ate dinner pretty slowly. We continued to laugh. I sent her the “We’re done” text and waited. She didn’t even come to the door.
They hugged me for the first time since I’ve been their technical step mom that night.
They walked out the door and I broke down. I called my Prince but he couldn’t handle it. While I was soaking up the last few minutes with my boys, she was text-bombing him. Telling him how terrible he is, treating him like he abandon his kids (instead of the reality that he missed one night away from them.) She ripped into him and he couldn’t take any more.
When he called me back, he had been ripped apart and had fought via text with his ex-girlfriend for the past few hours. I just wanted to cry to him and have him tell me he was sorry and that he loved me. I sorta wanted him to come home and wave the FOC papers in her face that say that it’s LEGAL for a parent to assign someone to pick up the kids if they are 1) present in the children’s lives (I live with them), 2) someone they are comfortable with (I see them in their underwear more than I see my husband in his), 3) AS HE CHOOSES. I wanted him to tell her they were mine and the time was mine, too. That I fight for them and that I defend her when they are angry with her. That I won’t let anyone speak down on her and I won’t ever come in the way of their relationship with their mother. I wanted him to tell her that I love those boys as if they were ones I carried myself. I wanted him to tell her that they love me back. But he didn’t. He said “What do you want from me?” and I told him I didn’t know, because I couldn’t hardly speak. And he hung up and went to bed.
That night my entire heart got crushed.. a few times. I feel like I am still rebuilding from it and it’s been 1 1/2 months.
So yesterday, when I picked them up from their mom’s house, while 17 was babysitting. 17 invited me inside- the first time I’ve ever stepped foot in their mother’s house. And she came home while I was standing in her doorway. And I think, just for a moment, I made her feel small. I made her uncomfortable. She made comments about how the kids didn’t clean up during the day and she rushed to their side to help them pack. She put on a little show for me, now that I could see a snippet of her world. I don’t strive to make people feel poorly, but it felt good to watch her squirm, even for just a second.
The hurts come so unexpectedly. They come without any warning. They leave marks. They dig their claws in deep. I feel wounded- and it’s a strange feeling because I haven’t given someone the opportunity to hurt me in a long time. I let my guard down and she came crashing in.
Dear sisters, I am sorry if you have felt pain from exes. I am equally sorry if you have felt pain from your kiddos and from your husband. All I can tell you and all I can hope you get from this story, is that you aren’t alone. We get attacked. We get bruised. But we keep on. My head is still up. I won’t give up these boys. I won’t stop fighting for them. I won’t ever look away from them. I hope you’ll keep your littles at the forefront of your own minds, as the arrows get shot in your direction. Don’t let them stop you.
*Disclaimer- my husband doesn’t talk to me like he did on that phone conversation.. ever. He cares for me. What happened with their mother wasn’t something that I was aware of. It was doubly crushing to have the blow that came from her and then have the blow that came from him. He was tired. He was weary. I was broken.