Face To Face

Sometimes in order to understand something you’ve gotta see it from a different perspective.
You think you get it, you think you understand, but sometimes the roles have to be reversed to truly get it.
You need to be on the other end of things.
Sometimes I do things and I feel like they’re OK.
I can justify them to myself.
I can talk myself into thinking it’s all fine and good.
It can be questionable to someone else but I think it’s not that bad…
Then one day you come face to face with someone that does the same exact thing.
Suddenly it doesn’t seem so OK anymore.
Suddenly you realize that you were wrong.
Your justifications were false.

There’s always been a kind of competition between us.
As long as I can remember.
You came along after me and made sure I knew you were there.
I remember the first time I heard about you.
Just a friend.
A friend that wouldn’t go away.
A friend that I was starting to hear about more and more frequently.
A friend that made sure I knew once you were pregnant.
You made sure I knew so that you could set your boundaries and put me in my place.
You marked your territory.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprise that you’re still feeling the need to do that today.

I am though.
I’m really surprised and I’m sort of amused honestly.
I’m also a little sad, maybe even disturbed.
I hope that if the tables were turned I wouldn’t have such an issue with things from almost 2 decades ago.
I can only hope

If I’m going to be completely transparent here, a big part of me feels like I might have reacted like you have.
It’s not easy.
It’s not normal.
It’s different.
The thing is, you knew it was different when you marked that territory.
You knew my place.
You knew where I stood and you knew all the details that I knew.
You knew.
What the two of you chose to do with that knowledge has nothing to do with me…

I’m not sure if I am comfortable saying that I know how you really feel about it all because I don’t know yet.
There are still so many unanswered questions, so many stories that I don’t know entirely.
I can’t make a fair judgment yet.
I have my assumptions.
I think I know the truth.
I think I know your true opinions at the time.
I can’t say for sure though.

I look at you and I see what I could have been.
I see what could have happened.
What almost did happen.
I don’t know if it would have turned out the same or if it would have been worse.
Maybe it would have been better.
There’s no way to know for sure.

When I listen to you talk I can hear pieces of my younger self.
I hear little blurbs of familiarity.
Familiar comments that I would have made.
Accusations I would spew and emotions I would have had.
I could’ve been you.
To an extent anyway.
I would have still been me, but I would have been you then and I definitively wouldn’t be me now.
I grew up.
I realized I didn’t need to do the things you’re doing.
The meanness and hatefulness and spite is pointless.

I’m a Mom too.
A Mom that’s going through a lot and dealing with a lot too.
I know that as moms our kids cry to us about things.
They’re honest with us but they don’t want to hurt the people they love.
That’s just how kids are…
Mine are the same way.
When our kids are wronged in any way we get upset, very upset.
It hurts us to see our kids hurt.
We want the people that hurt them to know they’re sad or mad or whatever negative emotion they felt because of that persons actions or lack thereof.
Kids don’t always express those feelings to other people though.
They just don’t.

When I was younger I thought I needed to make sure that the other person knew what they had done.
I thought it was OK to coach her along in her conversations; encourage her to let him know she was sad.
I justified it by telling myself I was teaching her to stick up for herself.
Saying things like if you’re mad at him it’s ok to tell him you don’t want to go

Being a Mom has to be the most selfless job out there.
Learning that the way you feel or the way you think cannot be the priority.
It just can’t be.
I don’t like a lot of things that my kids have had to deal with.
I don’t like the way they have been treated (emotionally) and at least once a day I think about it and get angry.
My job is to make sure they are safe and loved and that they have everything they need.
I made the decision to bring children into this world with another person.
I knew that person, I knew the kind of person they were.
I can’t control the kind of person they become though.
If they are safe and being taken care of then there’s no reason to get involved on the surface of things; no reason to threaten that they can’t come over or that they aren’t going to do something.
I don’t want my kids to grow up and remember nothing but me bashing him.
I don’t want to spend the time that I have with them belittling him.
I want to spend that time loving them and making my own memories with them.
They need to figure out on their own if something isn’t right.
If something upsets them, they need to learn how to deal with that with him just like they deal with it with me.

Growing up means that you have to learn that you can’t control everything.
Maybe the timing isn’t right for you or you don’t think that something is happening exactly as it should be.
The thing is, we have to learn that life is no longer just about us.
I think you know that.
I think this is about more than that.
I had to step back and deal with things at a young age, I survived.
I was able to.
I think you can do it now.
You’ll be OK.
They’ll be OK.
I think things will be just fine.
You have to give it a chance though, you have to let it happen the way it needs to happen.
For them, not us.

When a dad doesn’t do what he should I can understand exactly how frustrating that is.
I can completely relate to wanting everyone to know how awful he is, how bad he’s hurt the kids, how little he does for them.
I have done that.
I have justified it because it was all true; he was a complete and total dead beat and I have every right in the world to speak my opinion on it.
I’ve worked really hard to not be that way now, I do everything in my power to keep my mouth shut and a straight face when something else happens that frustrates me to no end.
Now that I am seeing you do it to him, I realize even more how important it is.
I’ve come face to face with the way I was behaving and I can see even more clearly now how bad it looks; how wrong it is.
The kids can’t help change anything and they will love him if they’re going to love him regardless of anything you say.
It’s you that they will question later when he tells them he wanted to be there but you were just making it way to hard…
Our kids are with us the majority of time, we can’t abuse that.
They don’t need to know how mad we are.
They already know how long it’s been since they saw him, they know when he called last.
They know who was at their last event or game.
We don’t need to point it out.

I’m sorry for every parent that has had to deal with what I have.
That includes you.
I’m sorry that either of us have had to deal with what we have.
The thing is, we can’t change it.
We can’t go back and do things any differently.
We have chosen to move forward and so far it’s been a great decision, a smooth process.
I hope you’ll realize that it can stay that way.
There’s no reason to keep on complicating things.
Let things take their course…
We can’t control everything.
We never could.

-S

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