Remember to Forget Birthdays

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Up until last Christmas, Evie had been kissed good night by no other than me except for the night her sister Tilly was born, when she was a few months short of turning 4,  and the night her baby sister Mia was born, when she had just turned 6. She is 7 years old.

Up until last Christmas, Tilly had been away from me only for a handful of hours and had never been put to bed by anyone but me. When her baby sister Kai was born she demanded Tom change her nappy and get her bottle of milk ready; she then read herself her favourite Christmas book, despite it being only the end of August, and put herself to bed. She is a few months short of turning 4.

To this day, baby Mia, almost 18 months old, has never been away from me for longer than an hour (a couple of times a week I allow myself the luxury of an hour at the gym).

Tom loves the girls. Always has. There is no denying his feelings towards them. But… he has never had any interest in taking care of them and certainly doesn’t try to see the world with their eyes. His relationship with them is about him: about what he needs, what he feels they should do, what he needs them to do, what his parents tell him he should do, what his work colleagues advise him to do.

Evie and Tilly will happily play the Wii or grab hold of one of his many electronic devices (iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 3GS, Blackberry) when he’s around. Mia is heading in that direction too. I am not that nice: my phone is off limits (unless it’s a situation that requires it, like a hygienist visit: hand iPad to Mia and phone to Tilly in order to get the job done) and I limit their time in front of the tv or playing with any of that stuff.

They are also crazy about climbing all over him when he is lying on the sofa…

I made the huge mistake of only letting him do what he felt comfortable doing, from the day Evie was born. He was disgusted by nappies? He only got to change them in an emergency. He didn’t have the patience to spoon feed them? He wasn’t even invited at the kids dinner table. He needed to sleep so he could work the next day? He was never asked to do any sort of night shift. He got bored at the playground? I always tagged along so he could sit on a bench and get lost in his phone instead.

I always thought that one day he would realise, he would see that he wasn’t doing much with them or for them. That meant I had to do it all. And it made me angry to feel like I was invading his personal space, not caring about his personal need to wind down on the rare occasions when I needed an extra pair of hands. I learned to do it all, with the girls and with no help.

The only thing I didn’t do was bring home a pay check. That’s the “only” thing he did for us: he supported us, financially. Emotional and physical support are now being defined as always seeing the glass half empty. I had no right to complain about him not being there, because he worked for us. I had no right to complain about mention missing a hug (not a hug that lead to sex), not feeling any human touch or emotional connection: he was doing everything that was expected from him. I was simply “unsatisfiable”.

At Christmas he asked to have Evie and Tilly on his own with his mother (because the girls are sort of comfortable around her) for a few days so that they could go to Turin, where he works and “lives”. HE had the need for them to start having an image of him as a dad. HE had the need to prove that they would be fine all on their own, with him, without the overpowering controlling mother. He didn’t care that maybe for the first time 5 days were a little too much. He didn’t realise it all went ok because I prepared them. He wasn’t with us on the night we all got back to Nanna’s house and all they wanted to do was wear their fairy nighties and tell me all about their trip behind locked doors: they refused to leave our bedroom and wouldn’t allow Nanna or Pops to join us. He never heard Evie say: “it was ok, but I am not sure I wan’t to do this every year, I missed you and i hated them trying to comb my hair every day”. He never heard Tilly say that she is never going back unless I go too.

Little do they know…

Today I got a text in which Tom informs me that he would like to take the girls back to Italy from the 12th to the 19th of April. Mia is too small and in any case he would just hand her over to his mother. He expected an immediate approval so he could book tickets and sort out his holiday requests. I was fuming: the Easter holidays are almost 3 weeks long and he chose the week of Tilly’s 4th birthday. He knows birthdays are a big big deal for me: I don’t believe in not celebrating a birthday, no matter what the reason (too old, not in the mood, don’t care about them….). I texted back, demanding an explanation and making it clear that next year her birthday is with me, regardless of where Easter falls: her birthday will always be in the middle of the holidays.

He said we should talk, that there is no point in texting and that he doesn’t want to argue about everything.

Because… he didn’t plan it that way on purpose, he FORGOT all about Tilly’s birthday being on the 15th of April.

My phone’s battery died around 3pm today, I didn’t recharge it.

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27 October 2013 | The Texts

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I lost track of time. (only now I realise it was 1.30 am).

I struggle to remember the exact steps that lead me to what follows.

I was in panic mode, barely breathing, on the phone with a friend as the truth unfolded but it took at least 30 minutes for the truth to become reality in my head. By then I had just moved on from the “letters” in the secret GMX email address account to the “texts” on yet another secret instant messaging service, Trillian

What I will never forget is the hailstorm of pain that followed as I obliviously kept on reading. I can learn to ignore it, I can box it up and shove it somewhere with other painful memories but I know myself enough to be able to say that the wound will, eventually heal, but the scar is there to stay.

If I were granted a wish I would ask to be able to simply forget.

[Original Version was in Italian – I tried to respect all childish grammar-less short cuts as much as possible. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do to make the conversation exchange look like it happened between two responsible grownups]

Tom | 6.27 pm

CV. This week I am going to work on it. I am not comfortable with the professional photos I have on it right now. I was 10kg heavier. 

Then I will send you the new one.

Vitto 

All that needs to be done is take a new one one of the next mornings and then we can cut it and add it onto the CV

7.36 pm

Do you like mbun? I do, especially the one behind via Lagrange

Tom | 7.47 pm

Yes let’s do one morning in Milan😄

Yes I also liked Eataly not bad

I miss you image of you embracing me this evening very sweet

Began opening your treasure chest😳😳😳

Are you coming?

Vitto

Yes, need to, coming… But what next?

Image of you in your arms under the blankets warms my heart up and goes brrrr

Tom | 7.57 pm

Can you believe that I am going under the same duvet brrr in a little I am going

Vitto

Beautiful beautiful all of it

IMG_6088

That way your bicycle can’t be seen. But the question is…who took it???😄

So H should be here around 9.30 pm, so I am giving you an advance pre😘gnight😘. Tomorrow I have an early start with an interview so I will be leaving around 6 am. Maybe I can wish you a good morning while you are also in the car around 7.45 am.

8.04 pm

This week end gives me energy for the following two. ❤️Thank you for being here ❤️ Gnight in a while

8.15 pm

You can always tell W that that we had to work together on the case C which involved sharing  many difficult situations, on a personal level too given that we were firing someone we had invested on… Personally I found that hard…

Tom

W has disappeared since this morning maybe we are finally at it ls wait and see

8.25 pm

W has disappeared since this morning maybe we let’s wait and see

W has disappeared since this morning maybe we are finally at it let’s wait and see

8.36

H home?

Vitto

No, he’s about to arrive I think

Tom | 8.55 pm

Going home soon

Going home 

Vitto | 9.09 pm

H at home

Tom | 9.18 pm

At what time train green coffee shop for cappuccino?

Gnight 💬💬💬💬

Vitto | 9.31 pm

Tomorrow car

I leave at 6 am

H super cold almost didn’t say hi and moved away when good night kiss

I think W must have ripped him open about the email

And maybe he thought that I would’ve only asked you about me but not given you the email

Clear and evident totally different attitude compared to last night. Night 😘❤️

I love you

Tom 

W hung up on me for good night. Then she called back and I didn’t pick up. Night

Lov3u

Gnight 😗

Vitto

Night

We will get out of this

Somehow

I am rocking myself in our embrace😘

Three months have gone by and I still haven’t heard one honest word fall out of Tom’s mouth regarding this conversation. What I have heard is undoubtedly “interesting” and always accompanied by rolling eyes (because I am making a big deal out of something which is no big deal at all, out of something that I decided had happened – same attitude as a 5 year old caught doing something wrong and not getting the part where you acknowledge the mistake ):

– Milan? What? I’ve never been to Milan to see her, maybe one day we could but for breakfast…but I never went (we can talk about this in another post)

– I didn’t say I love her. Can’t you even read properly? There is a piece missing. It’s not written properly. I never said I loved her. Look. I put no hearts. And my kiss emoticons don’t have a heart. Hers do.

– I didn’t say I wanted a divorce. Where does it say that I was waiting for you to dump me? That? Repeated three times? No that’s not what I meant. I had to write it three times because it’s wrong. But no I wasn’t waiting for you to call it quits.

All I can add is that that same morning we had a long horrible phone call. Most of what he said to me can be read here. Then there is the bit where he pushed me over the edge by defending Vitto. He accused me of bringing our relationship to the point of no return with my obsessive suspects on a work colleague. Because that’s all she was. Her husband told me that much and I should have never even thought of intruding into someone else’s life. I was the troublemaker. Because his work colleague was having problems in her own marriage because of my obsession.

I almost believed him. Almost.

The emails they are talking about are the ones H and I exchanged…and in hindsight I can’t help smirking at the thought of how stupid and freaked out Tom and Vitto must have felt when it dawned upon them that their secrets were leaking, big time (and that is why Tom was so aggressive that morning, he was panicking and threatening me so that I would give up trying to find out what was really going on). Because you see, H caught them long ago (29 July 2013, the evening of Vitto’s farewell dinner after her last day working for Tom) and admittedly chose to dig his head so deep in the sand he is still looking for it today. He had the decency to partially and temporarily re-emerge when I kindly asked him for help…

Pink Bubble about to burst

Pink Bubble about to burst

Mixed Up

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I feel calmer. Gone are the non stop shaking and the freezing sensation which never abandoned me for a couple of weeks at least after the bomb dropped, at the end of October.

I have only just realised I haven’t been able to write about what happened in the last four weeks. Only in the last couple of days I have started feeling like I must try to get out of my own head. I am still not able to process the truth for what it is. I am not letting myself think clearly because I am so confused I have no idea what I should even be thinking. I know I am still in shock and I am now grateful for this reaction because I am scared of the pain that will come next. I know it’s there waiting for me to be ready to deal with it. And I am scared of losing myself in it. And making wrong decisions.

Right now I KNOW Tom and I can never be the same together again. If we both wanted it maybe we could climb out of this hole. Maybe. And maybe we would be stronger than ever together. Right now I know I can’t be with him because of what he’s become, because of the way he’s been treating me, because he has shown no remorse, no regret, nothing that shows that he even understands why having a double life for a year was wrong. He does’t see that his behaviour is tearing our family apart. Yes, we had problems we needed to deal with, but nothing as big as this. Nothing that could justify his cheating and lying.

Not that I would advocate staying together for the sake of the girls, but I find it surreal that he doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that we TRYING to see if there is anything we can salvage. We are both hurt. And by being in another relationship he sabotaged any chance we had of even trying to sort “us” out. We both have a lot to lose. That should be enough for us to want to try. And if we don’t get through it as a couple maybe we will have a better ground for being parents to our girls together. But, yet again, it is all wrong: I shouldn’t be pleading the man that cheated on me to give us a chance. He is lucky to even get this chance. And has no clue.

At the same time I want Tom back. I want us back. I want my girls to have a father. I want Tom to want me back. And I also know that, given the circumstances, all want, or think I want is probably very wrong for me. Because the foundations aren’t there any more..

I’ve gone from frustrated, to angry, to the depths of desperation, to sadness, to numbness, to accepting there is nothing I can change or do to change things, only to start with the same cycle over  again. And again. And again.

I’ve had endless talks with a few good friends. I’ve had useless discussions with Tom. I’ve heard so many lies I don’t even know why I feel the need to try and bring us to a level where we can try and communicate.

My mood is still wild and my head can’t stop thinking. I feel like I’ve been hit so hard I have no idea how it even happened.

I am a mixed up lady to say it with Tilly’s words: that’s what she called me after I fed her Mia’s baby food by mistake (I was spoon feeding them both at the same time). She has no idea how close to the truth she is. I am the queen of the mixed up ladies!

Evie 2 Mummy | 22 November 2013

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Evie writes me letters and notes. She started after the summer, normally when I am cleaning up the kitchen after the girls dinner while they play a little before we all head upstairs to brush tiny teeth, read books and go to bed. I’ve been crying a lot since we got back from Sabaudia, and I haven’t always been able to hide it. Evie’s words are her way of cheering me up, letting me know she knows something is not the way it should be.

Tom doesn’t want to say anything to her. He doesn’t want me to say anything to her either. His  view is not to let the girls know that we are breaking up at ll. He wants to keep up the appearances with them, taking advantage of the fact that he only comes home every two weeks or so anyway.  I am not sure how long he wants to keep this act going for, nor do I understand what sense it makes in the long run. He has told shouted at me more than once that I am “ruining” my child, because she should be kept away from our problems. I let him read one of her letters, hoping that maybe he would start to understand why I am still trying to see if there is a way we can work on our marriage, even though I was the one to file for divorce once I found out about his double life and lost it because he kept lying to my face. Another mistake. Now I am to blame for letting my children know that our family is going through a difficult phase.

I agree that she and her sisters need to be shielded. I also refuse to lie to my children. As much as I try I can’t keep it all inside, all the time. I am hardly ever alone, without them. And all that’s been happening has been too overwhelming and full of drama for me to simply hide it all day, every day until Evie, Tilly and Mia are all in bed, fast asleep.

Somehow as the evening approaches I just can’t keep it together. I’ll be cooking dinner adding tears instead of salt to their meals, while they relax watching tv upstairs (I never used to let them sit upstairs alone, I prefer having them in the kitchen with me, so we can chat) and I know Evie notices I am just very very sad.

My heart breaks as I read her words. And the tears keep on flowing.

I am so proud of her trying to “make it all ok”; at the same time I hate knowing that part of her innocence is being stolen way too early.

Dear mummy

LETTER

when can you write me the letter?

XMAS | XMAS | XMAS

If you can do it Now. Please!

I know you tried really hard to have Xmas in London but it’s always nice to try new things. Right? And we are trying to.

DADDY

I know Daddy wants to be the boss of EVERYTHING. But he can’t. You can make him feel upset if you try hard.

Don’t worry about EVERYTHING.

You don’t have to worry. You never have to worry. Everything is going to be ok.

Love from Evie

Words… Hard to forget.

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“If you had put the same effort and intelligence you used to find out about this possible affair into our relationship … our relationship would be flying high right now…”.

“You are a spoilt brat. You don’t love me. You are just behaving like a child who wants a toy back just because that toy has MAYBE been taken away. You are used to getting your own way. You have no clue about what you want, but you want to have it all your way”

“You don’t love me. I don’t believe, I really don’t believe that from now onwards you are going to accept living by my standards, which means following me and moving at a snap of my fingers”.

“You should have kept me close to you. If you suspected I was having an affair you should have come flying to me (uprooting the family, only to find that he WAS effectively having an affair)”.

“MAYBE if our relationship is on the rocks it is 51% my fault. Because maybe I made a mistake. But you are responsible for the rest”. (says the one who has been hiding a relationship with another woman for a whole year!).

“You shouldn’t have sent me that aggressive email. If you found proof you should have questioned me about it. Not asked me to stay away from the home and my daughters on a week end I had planned to be here”. All i wanted was a bit of space. Because I have been under shock ever since discovering the affair wasn’t “just an affair”: we are talking about a full on relationship, and all I wanted was a bit of calm and serenity. Besides … I have only been enquiring whether you are having an affair for the past 3 months… to the point where I’ve been accused of being paranoid on more than one occasion…

“My mistake in our relationship was to let you be a perfect mother. I should’ve just brought home a random babysitter and told you this was the person looking after our kids, regardless of the fact that one or the other was a newborn, breastfed, had separation anxiety or hardly ever slept”.

“I spoiled you. I let you make choices”.

“You are my wife. I should be the centre of your universe”.

“I need to be able to make you happy. At all times.”

“There are normal jobs out there. You should not aspire to a special job. Just a normal job, so that whenever my job requires me to move my company can relocate you. I could hire you in my Marketing Team any time” (I have no experience in marketing, and never had the desire to work in marketing either … but that doesn’t matter, because I would have been easy to place).

“You are my wife. You can’t just decide something for yourself”.

“You are not willing to work day in day out to reach your goals. Because there is a whole world out there, and that’s where you need to be”.

“We are incompatible. We always have been. I am ambitious and you have always known it. And I thought you understood and accepted my way of being. The problem is that you also need personal satisfaction, to be a person in your own right. And this clashes with my needs”.

“You are alone because you want to be alone – you live in your own world. My world is the real world. The work world. Where people make the world spin round. And make money to support your bubble world” (up until having my kids I used to earn as much as him, if not slightly more…).

“You… you … you ….”. 

(I have no clue what his role is in this break up. What mistakes he made. Where his responsibility lies, if any… and I doubt I will ever know… that’s right … it must’ve been ALL me!