That Seat At The Table Is Empty For A Reason
by Lovemonkey Jolie
Kids are always trying to put things together that don't fit, always trying to put the square peg in the round hole, so to speak.
It's starts early. The toddler struggles with one of those sturdy wooden educational puzzles. He’s probably trying to fit an elephant into the cut-out for the rhino (and you're wondering if it wouldn't have been a good idea to ask for the results of your Baby-Daddy's IQ test right after you received his introductory email on Match.com and certainly before you agreed to breed.) Anyway, instead of realizing and accepting that the smiling blue wooden elephant is not going to fit in the rhino-shaped spot now or anytime in the near future, your-cutest-if-not-the-smartest-little-guy-in-the-world struggles and struggles and eventually has a frustration-induced tantrum. That's about the time you decide that educational toys are more detrimental to your health and well-being than inhaling second hand smoke in a tanning booth, hand him a glass of Koolaid and plop him in front of the tube.
My “grown” kids never stop trying to put me back together with their father. No, no, they don't want us together, but they do want us both in the same place on holidays and such. And it's got nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my ex. It is, as usual, completely and utterly about the kids. They are "sick of having to visit both parents on the holidays so that no one is alone." My oldest daughter, Salmoncrier, delivered this complaint via phone one night ( and the resulting suggestion that even though we are divorced we get together for dinner on major holidays.) Now I realize the idea didn't necessarily originate in her brain. Her sister, Gadget Goes Hawaiian, is known to plant seeds in the ever fertile field of family gossip and then Salmoncrier picks the lovely ripe complete thought fruit and presents it proudly to me, and is consequently the only one subject to the resulting shit.
Ok, where was - ? Right. Fear of being alone. I quickly assured Salmoncrier that if the choice were between sitting at a dinner table with Mr. Small and sitting in the dark drooling and rocking, I'd choose the latter, hands down.
Now, I know a lot of divorced parents do this kind of thing, and I'm here to tell you that I think it's not only wrong but it's wrong. I'm reminded of a strained scene in "Less Than Zero," where not only the parents, but the new spouses of the parents got together for Xmas dinner for the sake of the children. You could slice the tension with a Ginsu knife. And I may be simplifying this a bit, something I am prone to, but if you wanted to continue looking at your ex's mug across the table, wouldn't you still be enjoying three-minute-don't-move-sex with him on Friday night and watching dumb shit fly out of his mouth every fucking minute of every fucking day? I'm just askin'.
Apparently he encourages this crazy notion by suggesting it every time he has a get-together with the kids. Why doesn't your mother come for dinner? For the love of Jesus as well as his kind of gross bleeding heart, where to begin?
And this brings me to denial, a place I not only visit occasionally but have a tastefully decorated, moderately priced flat with a view of the water on it's fashionable east side.
I think that although it's considered amicable and civilizied, (WARNING: overused divorce words! Overused divorce words! Please proceed to the nearest exit!! )I think it's, well, not natural, not human to engage in such pretenses and deny our true feelings. (I'm thinking a touch of soft angel wing music here would be nice.)
Maybe it’s just a simple misunderstanding. Maybe my kids don’t really understand what the word DIVORCE means. So, just for fun, let's look at some other ways to say the D word, shall we?
* Split up
See? These all suggest being apart. Way apart. All the time. I found no small print in the divorce agreement stating that we can go our separate ways except for all major holidays including Coming of Age day (Japan) and it's my birthday day (Lovemonkey) when we'll be in the same room and I'll delight in the fact that you look older and/or fatter than me.
So to sum it up my friends, let's stop putting on our best behavior gloves and go back to sticking little pins in the homemade doll with the big mouth and the tiny penis like normal people. Ok?
Let's keep divorced people separated. Let’s keep it real. -LM
Lovemonkey has a doll made for each of you... So be nice.
I don't get that at all. Tension during holidays for convenience sake? Screw that.
Posted by: Keith | January 31, 2007 9:52 AM
That's funny as hell.
Posted by: Dan | January 31, 2007 7:45 PM
Keith - I hear ya. Screw that indeed. Kids and their endless demands.
Dan- thank you oh person with no link to click on. I am feeling stalker withdrawal, I'm jonesin' man.
Posted by: lovemonkey | January 31, 2007 9:09 PM
I think some people, in certain of these situations, can actually get along OK without faking it or being miserable. Even in the most amicable cases, though, some distance in time would likely be a necessary factor.
It's the natural state of kids to always want everything, now. However, they seem to survive quite well without actually getting their heart's every desire. So, as long as the idea of sitting across a table from the guy induces images of icepicks and eyeballs, I'd say it's entirely fair and wise to continue to scrupulously avoid that circumstance. ;-)
Posted by: miker | January 31, 2007 9:43 PM
Posted by: Dan | January 31, 2007 10:08 PM