Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Happier Update

Holy cow, when did my kids get so big? LOL

Miss Priss is truly an example of a child having a mind that soaks up information like a sponge. We watched a show on volcanoes, and now she’s spouting facts about lava and magma and assures me that daddy works near a volcano (which he doesn’t, so I’m not sure where she got this idea). She understand they are dangerous in some cases, so I’m glad I can tell her that there are no volcanoes in our area. She seems destined to be my math and science child just like her mommy. I can do okay in English and literature stuff – I love to read, but I don’t think I write well. I can edit things, I know comma rules and such (which drives me nuts because I always notice if commas are missing or out of place no matter what I read). However, I’ve always been a scientist at heart. Miss Priss seems to share this ability. She wants to know more….more information, more in depth. Currently, she is obsessed with the human body. She knows that we have bones, and when she figured out that they have specific names (femur instead of leg bone, for example), she wanted to know their “correct” names. Which, of course, forces me to think back to my high school biology and try and remember them all. LOL

She’s also grown a lot physically. My little “petite” child who cruised the 50% mark for about 3 years is way above that now. She goes to the doctor next month, but judging by her friends (she’s the tallest in her pre-school class even though she’s the youngest) and by her size (I’m buying 6 and 6X clothes! Eek! And her size 12 shoes are getting too small! Double eek!), she’s above the “average” now. The potential was always there for her to be tall (I’m 5’9” and Hubby is 6’2”), but there was potential to be petite (my mom is 5’3” and my grandmother is even shorter). Miss Priss is headed for another growth spurt soon, I think. She’s pudging out and eating everything she can get her little hands on – a sure sign that she’s about to shoot up some more.

And then there’s Baby Boo. My fearless child. She’s so different from her sister that it still amazes me. Where Miss Priss is very shy (although getting better – I should write about that too), Baby Boo doesn’t consider anyone a stranger. She even introduces herself to people now. She shakes hands, points to herself and says her name. And that’s not all she says. She’s got a huge vocabulary and is making sentences with 2 or 3 words on a regular basis. My mother warned me that the second one learns from the first, but she seems to have developed language skills so much faster. Maybe she’s just destined to be a chatterbox. LOL

She also doesn’t believe that there’s anything in this world that she can’t do. If her sister can do it, so can she (even if she really can’t, she’s determined not to let Miss Priss be able to do anything without her).

Baby Boo is hardly a little girl herself. She will be 2 in December, and her shirts are 3T (pants are still 2T) and wears size 7 shoes. So my monster children are doing well.

And I’m doing well. Hubby and I are slowly working through some things. He’s still gone most of the time, so I see him very little. This requires a great deal of trust from me since I only communicate by phone and he can lie to me if he wants to. I feel better when I see him. He can’t lie face to face without me knowing or suspecting it. So far, we’re seeing where things go. It’s hard, but I’ll manage no matter what.

And it doesn’t hurt to have an occasional ego boost. The girls and I went last week to the picnic dinner at Miss Priss’s pre-school. They had police, firefighters, a train, a pony ride, and a tow truck. A couple of the firefighters were very friendly and gave Miss Priss and Baby Boo some extra stickers and even let Baby Boo in the fire truck when they had just told another parent that it was full of gear and no one could go in. One of them assured me that I need a sticker (a junior firefighter badge sticker LOL) too, and he peeled it off the backing and handed it to me with a big smile. Hey, at least there would be one advantage to being single (not that I’m willing to throw everything away for an over-flirtatious firefighter, but it’s nice to be noticed).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Whole Story.....

of my marriage woes that is.

He cheated. It was one time. He was drunk. She was drunk (and engaged at the time). I was on vacation with the girls and my family. He was working those days, and one night he was hanging out with his friends and got drunk.

The first I knew of it was the day before we left my parents house. He called at 1:00 in the morning asking weird questions like do I love him and stuff like that. I knew something was up. He sounded really distraught, and I hadn't heard him like that for a year when he had some major anxiety issues. Over the phone, he told me that it wasn't really that bad (not sure if he was trying to convince me or himself) and not to worry too much.

The next day in the car on the way home, he told me that he had gotten drunk and done something he regretted. He told me that he had kissed her and that was it. Considering what I feared, that wasn't too bad. But his anxiety was still really high, so I suspected there was more. After a couple more days, he confessed the rest. He had slept with her. He said that he was very drunk and could barely remember anything. However, he was sure that he used protection (what a great selective memory). The only demand that I made (and have made to date) was that he get tested for STDs. While I'm in the habit of making all his doctor's appointments, I wasn't about to make that one. He did as I asked and was tested (and, thankfully, had no diseases).

For over a month, he seemed truly repentant. He called and seemed distressed with each call (like it was hard to talk to me). I rarely saw him since being around me caused him so much anxiety, so he stayed away working in Smalltown, TX.

The first week of August or so, he called me at work on a Friday afternoon and asked me to think about us and about our future. He wanted to know if I loved him enough to work past everything. He didn't want to just jump back in as if nothing had happened. He wanted to take things slow. After lots of thinking, I decided that I thought we could make things work (and told him so).

In the month of August, I saw him for a couple hours on Miss Priss's birthday and for a few hours another time. He assured me that he was working up to staying home longer, but there was a lot of anxiety on his part.

So, those are the basic facts. He came home over labor day weekend. We went out Monday night, just the two of us, and I took off Tuesday. During our "date," we went to dinner and a movie. Before we had even gotten our food, he got a call (despite the fact that I asked him not to bring his cell phone along). He said that it was the president of the chamber of commerce of Smalltown, TX, and he that he probably needed to see what she wanted. He asked if it was okay by me for him to take the call. I agreed (I know I'm an idiot), and he spent almost 10 minutes outside the restaurant taking the call. He came back and said that he didn't actually talk to her, but that she left a 2 minute message. He sure was gone a lot longer than that. She called back. And he took the call. When we went to the theater, before the movie started, he didn't talk to me, he sent 3 text messages and took yet another call from someone he knows out in Smalltown. By the time he came back in, I was obviously pissed off, and he turned the phone off for the rest of the movie (not sure if that was for my benefit or the benefit of the other movie patrons).

So, here's the thing. I am honestly confused. If someone came to me and said, "Hey, my husband cheated on me, what should I do?" I would answer that she should leave. Hands down. So why didn't I react that way? I'm not sure. And I'm not sure it was the right decision to try and make my marriage work. I can't explain it, but I felt the need to try, and I still do. I want no regrets no matter what happens. If we split up, I don't want to every wonder if I tried my hardest to make things work. I have two children who will be greatly effected. If we decide to work things out and things actually do work out, I don't want to give up my self-respect.

I realize that I am a very fortunate person. My job gives me the freedom to remove finances from the equation for the most part. My salary would pay the bills for my apartment. The only thing that I could not cover would be daycare (which my mother-in-law currently provides).

I've been weighing the pros and cons in my head for a while. I feel like I'm fighting a battle with myself, and I'm not sure who's going to win or who should win.

On the one hand, the rational side of me has the once a cheater, always a cheater thing going on. She says that he's not acting right anymore. He seemed genuinely contrite to begin with, but somewhere along the way, he quit trying to make it up to me and began to take advantage of my good nature and understanding. He uses the excuse of anxiety as a reason to stay away and as an excuse for his actions (like the phone calls during our date). He counts on my experience with anxiety (which is extensive) and my understanding because of it. But what he forgets is that my experience also taught me that anxiety can be overcome. This side of me also says that he should be acting as open as possible. There should be no reason to take any phone calls behind closed doors or check email behind closed doors either.

There is a spiritual side of me that is trying to pray my way through this. Sadly, this side of me is lacking a lot. I think she's fighting a losing battle, but she does have the best backup support. This side of me is trying to remember that I made a vow for better or for worse. How strong is my love? No marriage is perfect (most aren't as imperfect as mine, I hope), and everyone has to work at marriage.

There's the romantic side of me. I've never been a romantic in the sense of flowers on hallmark holidays or anything like that. But maybe I've read too many romance novels lately. The overall theme seems to be one of men who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the heart of the woman they love. They will fight for her. I want to believe that he wants me and that he would fight for me, but his actions speak louder than his words (which aren't so romantic either). He's not willing to fight his own anxiety to be around me.

There's the bitter, mean side of me. I would like to think that she doesn't exist, but she exists and she's a real bitch. He still has contact with his one night stand. They were friends before and they have continued to be friends. The fact that I make him anxious, but he doesn't have any problem being around her. How is that supposed to make me feel?

There is the mother in me. The thought of spending holidays away from my children is terrifying and sad. The thought of my kids spending some time with me and some time with daddy really makes me sad. As it is, they spend a lot of time with me and very few hours with him. I guess I'm selfish. I like this arrangement better than a week with mom, week with dad kind of arrangement. I know that I would adjust, but still. And the mother in me is weak. Miss One Night Stand has a son a few months older than Baby Boo. He had to go to a children's hospital to have some tests done on a possible heart problem. She asked my husband to go with her because she had no one else who could. He told me that he would let me make the decision of whether or not he went. The wife in me said, "Hell, no!" but the mother in me could only think of getting bad news about my child and having no one there with me. So, I told him to go, and he did. I do not regret the decision at all. I still think it was correct. (And her son is fine, by the way).

He is coming home this weekend. I'm just not sure what to think anymore. Through work, I have access to some counseling. I get a certain number of sessions for free. I'm guess very few, but they will refer out of their office if necessary. I'm going to call and make an appointment tomorrow. I want to go to some counseling by myself. I also think that if we're truly going to give our marriage a shot, we need marriage counseling. He's seemed reluctant to do that, but I have asked very little from him since this happened. If he refuses, I consider that a bad sign.

I'm not looking for any answers here. I just wanted to explain my absense and why I just can't seem to get it together.

It's funny, I've always avoided conflict and hated to get into disagreements with him because I was always afraid. Not necessarily of him leaving, but of my reaction. My own anxiety. And wouldn't you know it. I haven't had one single panic attack over this entire thing. Maybe that's a bad sign in and of itself. Or maybe it's a sign that I'm stronger than I think. I've developed a real sense of self-worth and pride in the strength I know I have. I guess I always knew I had it, but knowing that I might have to make the decision to strike out on my own without him and that I will make it through (and will not collapse into a bundle of anxiety) has given me a self-confidence that I don't think I've ever known.