In all fairness to the ex, I should relay that we managed to make peace after the phone debacle.
He called me that night to discuss something money related and in the course of that conversation, I was able to articulate without his interruption or condescension, that we must try to have compassion for each other – that I recognize the sacrifices he is making to support us (he’s essentially homeless but travels most of the time) – but I need him to try to remember how demanding parenting can be and that I am handling it alone and working and going to school. He listened quietly as I explained how trapped I feel, that I wish I could take nothing from him. And he listened as I told him that this is “our” failure not mine or his but “ours” and that if we stay in a place of volleying blame and attempting to demonize, our mediation will fail and be very costly.
The next day he asked if we wanted to have lunch with him. I asked the kids if they wanted to do that and my older son said, “as long as you don’t talk about money or fight.”
I figured the least we could do after our heartbreaking exhibition of bad parenting the day before, would be to get along through one meal. The ex and I agreed to these terms. It wasn’t easy and we both had to bite our tongues A LOT. But it was well worth it to see how relaxed and appeased our children were.
I’m not suggesting we’ve turned some kind of corner. Things could break down at any moment once we start negotiating. But I have to give him credit for hearing me out and for coming to the lunch table with a good attitude. How he shows up to the mediation table remains to be seen.
Oh, and I give myself credit too!
I could never have imagined that enduring a meal with this man, who was once the love of my life, would be something I’d be one day patting myself on the back for. But, here we are.