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Things I wish I didn’t

September 29, 2010

Worry so much when my kids are sick. The third grader has been out of school all week with a fever. He’s not going to die, and he’s excellent company, so it’s actually nice having him home with me. Or would be, were I not such a fretful basket case. Before I had kids, I was pretty sure I’d be like Tony and Maureen Wheeler–backpacking with babies in Cambodia every chance I got. What a joke–I wouldn’t last two seconds anywhere a fever might plausibly be malaria. I can barely handle a first world cold.

Feel hurt, in spite of myself, when my ex-husband is surly and self-absorbed, which he has been ever since he got back from his conference. We’re DIVORCED. Nowhere in our legal agreement does it specify that we have to be nice to each other. Still, I get seduced whenever we start to get along, thinking the bad part is over, thinking we’re finally friends again–until he makes it clear that we’re not. It’s like getting kicked in the teeth, every time.

Renege on resolutions. I have not darkened the door of either the bank or the post office in quite some time. Also, I fear my library fines are back up above the card-freezing threshold. Have I done anything I said I would? Without looking back at the post (too depressing; ignorance is bliss) I’m willing to go out on a limb and say I have not.

Find it disappointing (and then infuriating) that my ex-husband does not seem to realize that I have work to do, that having a sick kid throws me for a loop, that he should call to see how the sick kid is doing (I mean, really.) I find myself wracking my memory–was he always so oblivious? The real issue, of course, is this: Why do I continue to care?

Keep track. I do most of the childcare. This is our deal, and it’s what I wanted. I have arranged my whole life so that my schedule is flexible–so that if, say, a kid is sick, or there’s an out-of-town scientific conference, I am available to take up the slack. I should not traffic in wee morsels of resentment, nor harbor suspicions that my flexibility is being taken advantage of. So what if it is? This is not, nor was it ever meant to be, a fifty percent custody arrangement.

Think, despite it all, that it would be nice to get an occasional “Thank you.”

Dread (just a little) the effort required–in terms of grooming, driving, planning and so forth–to attend a party I’m invited to this weekend, in honor of four (!) people who have books coming out this fall. Party will be glamorous; people I adore will be thick on the ground. The hosts are delightful, and I anticipate piles of delicious food. And I love parties. Why, then, do I always fantasize about a perfect last-minute excuse that will let me off the hook?

Okay, now you. What do you wish you didn’t?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. A Friend of the Blog permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:45 pm

    Wish I wrote as beautifully as you do.

  2. September 30, 2010 9:22 am

    I wish I didn’t get so terribly intimidated by people smarter, wealthier, more beautiful, more powerful than me. I wish I didn’t pretend everything is financially sunny when it so isn’t. I wish I didn’t use rainy days as an excuse to read blogs instead of work. I wish I didn’t blame the people I usually love the most for things that are all my fault. I wish I didn’t have such a long list of IwishIdidn’ts.

  3. Rachel permalink
    September 30, 2010 9:31 am

    I wish I wasn’t separating with knowing the final result will be divorce.
    I wish I didn’t feel the need to sacrifice my kids’ happiness in order to have some level of happiness for myself.
    I wish I didn’t feel the need to share these thoughts with strangers! Ha!

    Love the blog–always interested in reading the next installment!

  4. Jen permalink
    September 30, 2010 10:13 am

    Put things off until the last minute. The feeling of freedom when stuff is done is so good, if only I could really remember it and use it to force myself to get the stuff done.

    Lose my temper with my kids.

    Care what the other parents at school think of me: what I wear, when I pick up my kids, how involved I am in the school…

    Resent the unbroken family my ex has with his girlfriend (the one he left me for) and new baby.

    Secretly hope that family breaks apart too. Not sure about this one, I wish he and her some measure of the pain they caused me, but also don’t because it would just be more turmoil for my kids.

  5. September 30, 2010 11:22 am

    Ditto about your last one. I wish I could somehow just manage to be excited about things that are going to be exciting instead of wishing I could get out of them.

    Also wish I could take more leaps of faith about myself and perhaps fewer about other people.

  6. October 1, 2010 12:58 am

    get so intimidated by any interaction between my kids’ friends’ parents and me.
    feel to need to have dessert every night, sometimes twice. With kids dessert and after kids go to bed dessert.
    and your dread one and Jen’s lost my temper one.

  7. roooooo permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:07 am

    i feel inadequate compared to my mom in mothering

    loss, at the epic fail in maintaining friendship with both parties of close friends divorce

    hurt, being told by said female component I had failed her…and then she closed the door on my kids friendship w/her kids

    obsessing at how/what I could have done differently….obsessing because if I could just figure out those I could fix something…NOT GONNA HAPPEN. I wish I could Let it go…

    anguish WITH anger at the horrible, itchy, mystery rash attacking my youngest son (I’m angry w/rash not son) as if that HELPS ANYONE. drs. undecided as of yet…

    regret, at treating husband poorly when he can’t seem to read my mind, say the right thing, know what I need (and solve world hunger while he’s at it.. realistic no?)

    Sigh…..

    wondering what’s wrong with ME…..b/c these look insane out-loud.

  8. October 1, 2010 11:11 am

    I feel the same about my ex….I wish it didn’t bother me so much when he gets annoyed with me…he’s not a rational person, so why do I care so much when an irrational person gets annoyed with me? It’s residual from our marriage when I had to live with and around his annoyance….and I should focus more on being grateful that I can walk away from his moods and close the door on them. I’m getting better at it but….it’s difficult to shake off that feeling of “Crap. He’s mad at me. NOW what did I do?” It’s still stressful and I walk around with a pit in my stomach until he “forgives” me….and then I am disgusted with myself for feeling so relieved.

    I resolve to work harder to actively annoy him and then practice NOT CARING. I feel it is the only way to break myself of this habit. I will consider it Important Work That Must Be Done.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      October 1, 2010 12:42 pm

      Okay, let’s pinky swear, and try that together. I feel I am at the whim of my ex’s well-documented moodiness–much more so now, actually. I never used to care if he was mad at me when we were married (mostly b/c he doesn’t really get mad at you if you’re one of “his” people). Now I am all tied up in knots about it.

      I suppose I should amend the above to say “when we were HAPPILY married”, because the anger and so forth at the end were pretty awful.

      • October 1, 2010 3:28 pm

        Deal. I know I’m going to annoy him. SO MUCH of what I do annoys him. So I think I will get lots and lots of practice. The most recent event was this morning (regarding money that he owes me and said he would pay me today) and I’m still checking my email looking for a response from him to let me know he’s not mad at me anymore. Really?? REALLY??? Just to summarize, I’m worried about him being mad at me for asking for money he said he’d pay me today but didn’t. And now won’t. Because he’s mad that I reminded him.

        My point is that I think it will be very easy to do the Annoying Him work. Much harder to do the I Don’t Care What You Think or How You Feel About My Behavior work. We will get there though. I hope.

  9. Fatso15 permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:15 pm

    I wish I didn’t envision myself beating my current husband to a bloody pulp every time he loud clapped for his favorite sports team.

  10. Mizasiwa permalink
    October 8, 2010 5:25 am

    i wish i didnt care about ppl that i cared about more than 15 years ago. I wish that every time i drove throught he area we used to live in i didnt think about them and wonder why they dont like me or even want to entertain an adult conversation to get closure (for me anyway)
    I wish my father hadnt died and left my mom and sisters with no money. I wish i wasnt angry with him the day he died! i wish id know he was dying so i could have asked him all the questions iv had since he died. I wish my ideals for my family were not so high and that my life didnt fall apart when my family decided that i was too much work to love like they used to… i wish id know all along that this is what grown up life was like so i could have built a bridge and gotten over it a lont long time ago!!

  11. Take 5 permalink
    October 10, 2010 2:56 pm

    I wish I didn’t…
    make my child anxious when I get upset or angry.
    feel the need to make my dad laugh whenever we’re on the phone and then end up saying nothing of importance.
    procrastinate effortlessly.

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