Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's all good

X isn't out of jail yet, and I don't know when he will be, but my perspective on all of it has completely changed.

In case it wasn't abundantly clear from my previous posts, I was quite anxious about what it would be like, having X in the same city as us, and free. Since I haven't had any contact with him in the last 6 months, I had no idea where his mind was, what he could possibly be thinking.

I finally asked one of his family members if they knew his plans after release. They told me of their own frustration that every time they've tried to speak to X about it, X can't give a clear answer. In typical X fashion, he's full of big ideas for the future, but can't answer what happens when he steps out on the sidewalk. He can't answer where he will stay, how he will get from point A to point B.

Circumstances vary, but he stays the same. And, having gone through this time and again, I know I don't have to worry about a thing.

He may say when he gets out that he wants to see the girls, that he wants to be a real dad, but I know that when I respond that he has to earn that right, that he has to prove it, he will come up empty. All I have to do is guide my girls through this journey. I may not know the specifics of it, but I know the sentiments. And I know the end game. I will continue to manage their expectations, and keep their weekly therapy appointment, and ensure that they are aware that I am always here for them.

He just can't get to me anymore. I hear some of the "big ideas" he has for the future, and I just laugh! He simply does not live in the real world, and it's no wonder that some of these ideas are nowhere near grounded in reality. They're big, lofty ideals, but with no plan of grounded, concrete action.

Sure, I take time out to escape reality; to imagine a Sideways world, to disappear into a good musical, but I don't live there. I live in the real world. If there's something I want or need, I know I have to figure out what steps to take to get there.

For instance, I was guide-surfing the other night (because who channel surfs anymore?), and turned to the Suze Orman show. I am now motivated to pay down my credit card debt once and for all. I am starting with the small steps. First, I have to figure out how to pay for their summer child care. In two weeks, I've saved $60 to put towards it. That pays for one week for one child, but it's a start. It's the first step in my goal to not live off of the credit card over the summer months. While it's not actually paying off the debt I have, the first step is to not add more debt, right? It's grounded. It's reality. It's a lofty goal but one that can't be met without taking that first step.

X doesn't know how to do that. As he's approaching fifty, I don't think he ever will.

So no, I am no longer fretting about what to do when he calls and says he wants to see the girls. I will tell him calmly, "figure it out. Come up with a plan, and I'll let you know if it works or not." If he figures it out, great. If not, it's a mere few minutes out of my life to have that conversation.

And if you're not sick of me yet, stop by the LA Moms blog, where I choose between a week in Paris or a week alone. Go ahead and guess which I'd rather have!


Cat said...

I think that's a great attitude. It takes the pressure off of you because it acknowledges two really important things: you can't control him, and he's not going to change. But it also leaves the door open for him to make an effort in case there's some kind of miracle and he does get his stuff together.

MindyMom said...

You know what's funny about what you tell him now? That's almost exactly what I tell my teens! They always come to me with an "idea" of what their plans will be for the evening and want approval but from experience I know that usually changes about 12 times before it actually happens. I tell them to come to me only when they have a solid plan - including transportation arrangements, phone numbers, where they are going, etc. and once I approve it thats it - no changes. It's all part of growing up and *some* people never do!

Glad you aren't feeling so anxious anymore. :)

Danielle said...

I am glad that you have a little peace with this now. The other good lesson here is that we shouldn't worry about things that haven't happened yet. Chances are they will work out. We can't change them anyway.

So Single said...

I really enjoyed reading this. This is the same attitude I have taken until recently about my ex (who has also been in and out of jail, but never long term)

His attitude was also very similar to what you are describing until recently (as you have read)

I am still sort of reeling from this huge change in attitude from him, but I'm not convinced yet it's here to stay.

Anonymous said...

Your ex sounds like my ex. He has all these big ideas in his head, which are totally untainable, but he's convinced they'll happen anyway. Nevermind he'll totally disregard everyone in his life, including his kids. So lame.

Tara R. said...

I cannot imagine how frustrating this all is for you, for your girls.

Your attitude is great though. You can't force him to do anything, all you can do is live your life and be there for your girls.

Good luck!