Since the truck has been out of commission, That means the kids have not been up to see Stripe Sr. She is three and a half hours north of us. Of course, even before the car trouble Stripe had said they had been to her mom’s quite enough lately. Funny how Red gets a job and suddenly they don’t need to go visit Stripe Sr. so much. Oh could that possibly be because the funds have been cut off? Just a theory. In all of this, the kids have been asking about Senior. They are missing her and we have noticed. Papa came to me the other morning and asked about graduation. He thought maybe it would be a good time to try getting everyone together for the sake of the kids. My immediate response was less than thrilled but hesitantly agreed, of course thinking of the kids. As the day progressed I thought more and more about it and I became a little anxious and then had to think about why I was getting anxious.
Red and I have a complicated past as we had a rocky marriage, especially after the arrival of the kids. Between his secrets, my suspicions of his lies and cheating, the spotty employment history and stress, I have many many issues with him. Not even to begin bringing up his narcissism, lack of apology or even taking responsibility for his actions, emotional abuse and just making me feel insane most of the time. All of that combined means I need to stay away from him. I keep our communication as bare as possible and avoid in-person and phone interaction. Texting is the best so that if issues come up, I have a chance to keep my calm and respond appropriately versus getting emotional and not being able to hold my tongue, which just leads to fights. Like I said, complicated.
Over dinner, my mom and Papa were discussing it again and I said I wasn’t too happy about it but I’m sure I can make it through. My mom and Papa will be here and that makes me feel better. Papa said something to the effect that, oh you’re just not ready but you’ll be fine. Yes agreed…but so much more was dismissed, I felt, and like I was overreacting. Later that night, Papa asked what was wrong and I told Him when Him and Stripe are on decent terms, He seems to forget just how much more complicated my past with Red is than theirs. They just weren’t compatible. Yes, there was some hurt and arguing but they seem to be in a decent place now whereas I can’t trust Red for anything and just about any issue that shouldn’t be an issue turns into an issue. He either argues and fights me or simply doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do and then turns it around on me. Every little thing is a battle with him which is why I avoid as much contact with him as possible. I explained that being out and having to share the times or moments that involve the kids with him is fine, I can do that. I’m fine enough to be on neutral ground around him. But inviting him into my home is another story entirely. This is my home, my safe place. I share my life and my kids with my Husband here. Having Red come into my home feels invasive. I don’t like it. I don’t want him in my safe place. But it’s too late. The invited have been sent and the RSVPs received. They are coming. HE is coming. Papa said He was sorry for not giving me enough time to process this and just going with it. He didn’t like hearing I felt dismissed but in the end, I was able to talk to Him and that’s important. For me, for Him and especially our marriage. Communication is so very important. I said I’m not mad, I said I will be fine. Not jumping for joy but fine. But I also made it clear that in the future, I don’t want to share my holidays or very many parties with Red. I don’t want my memories to be of him there and me having to calm my anxiety about him being there. I want to be happy and carefree and enjoy my time with my family. I can’t do that with Red there. I couldn’t even do it when we were married because I was always on edge, worried about what I said, what I did or how I was going to be verbally or emotionaly punished later for not giving him enough attention or catering to his needs.
I’ve had enough time to talk myself down. Papa has repeatedly told me just stick by Him or my mom and avoid being near Red. I know….it’ll be ok….it’ll be ok….it’ll be ok….