It just funny. You try to do the right thing, you try to be outgoing and positive and optimistic, and unselfish...and it's just...it's hard. And it doesn't always get you where you think you should be. Like Saturday night...after taking Ashley and Tiger out to a haunted house, and then taking them to dinner, and probably spending $100 on the whole night. Do I get an atta boy for that? Probably not, because I didn't get home early enough for Annie and forgot to take my cell phone into the restaurant to get her calls. So even though she's 18, and was with her grandparents, and she could have gone with us had she even expressed a bit of interest, I look like a bad parent in their eyes for not cutting everything short, even though I really was being a "good parent." As if that terms means anything in the topsy-turvy world I've chosen to reside in.
Or last night. Josie and I had agreed we would take the kids out trick or treating together. So we went to her parents, wenmt around their block, did the door knocking thing. Tiger and Ashley looked great in their vampire outfits. After that, we picked up Corb and traveled to Scary Acres, to see Annie in action, at her job as the victim of an axe murderer. We went through the haunted corn maze, ate a bunch of food at the end, and had a few laughs. On paper, it sounds perfect.
Except at the end, on the way home, Ashley asked whether I was sleeping over. It's something she had been asking for weeks, and frankly, I had kind of hedged with an answer, saying "we'll see," or "I don't think so." Or, if I said "no," she wouldn't accept that for an answer and would say, "but it's a holiday, you have to sleep over."
But you don't understand. Anybody who hasn't seen Ashley freak out couldn't possibly understand. Being direct and saying no would have resulted in another one of her scenes, and she already has so many that I guess I just couldn't stand to endure another one. So I guess that I was hoping that it would be so late at night and we would have had such a good time that it wouldn't be a big deal.
Well, guess again. It was late at night, and possibly that, plus lack of medication, resulted in a HUGE scene. Try twenty minutes of Ashley wailing "Help me, Help me, Daddy where are you, where are you, Daddy help me"?
I talked it over with Josie, who felt that having me sleep over wouldn't help things--it fact, it might make it worse. And I guess I see that, but the thought that all my kids really want is to fall asleep having their mom and dad by their side, and that they'll never have that again, and I don't have the heart to tell them that just kills me inside.
Maybe the couples who don't get along have the right idea after all. Maybe it cuts down on ambiguity, and the hope in kid's heads that their parents will get together. Maybe it is easier that way.
Anyway. After I hugged the kids and left the house, I moved back into the car, and turned to Corb, who had waited for a half an hour in the car. "I'm sorry," I said, not sure what to say.
"You don't have to be," he said.
"I feel bad dumping this on you," I said. "It's not fair. And if you want to break up over it, I'd understand."
Well, he didn't, and he was sad that I even brought it up as an option. He said that we're together in this, and he's there to help me through it, there to support me, and there to give me whatever advice and help he can give. And I feel guilty that I brought it up, too, but I just don't want to drag him down, I love him too much, and I don't want to hurt him. Or the kids. Or Josie. Or anyone.
It's just so much to take on, and it's so hard to keep walking the high road on this. I just want my lightness of spirit back, if I can ever get it back again. I just wish that things could be easier than they actually are. But Ashley's cries chill to me to bone, and it was really hard to wake up this morning and not feel a heavy weight around my soul.