Birthday Applause

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On the morning of my birthday I woke up to this post. And it was the beginning of a great day. The best birthday I’ve had in a long time. As stupid as it may sound I still think birthdays are special, and have always tried to make the people around me feel a little special on “their”day.
There’s been nothing special about most of my birthdays since we moved to London and the last couple were really depressing for a variety of reasons, so this year, after all the grief of what’s been happening, I made sure I filled a whole week up with little things that make “me” happy… with my girls and with my girlfriends/mummy friends. It was all about people I wanted to be with, as opposed to people I “had” to be with. Yes, I did do the “family” restaurant dinner with Tom (who happened to be here for 24 hours in the role of super-dad attending the Parent-Teacher meetings for the first time ever since Evie started nursery 5 years ago!) and it was … uneventful: the place we went to was nice, I loved the food, the girls always like being out “in the dark”, Tom and I didn’t speak much after he filled me in on his work and I was fine with that… I had nothing to say, so said nothing, we all had a peaceful time and for the first time in ages I didn’t want it to be any different. I was ok.

One person in particular I couldn’t celebrate with, as we are in different Countries almost exclusively chat via our iPhones. We will have our birthday drinks at some point, but I felt I couldn’t not let her know that if I was doing ok, compared to even just a year ago, a lot of it had to do with her, and all the time she spent texting me, listening to my rants and giving me a part of her, her experiences, her thoughts, her feelings. Consistently. Her best quality as a friend TO ME? She has one of the quickest minds I have ever come across: she can judge a situation, say what she thinks, and eventually approve a completely different thought/course of action simply because she realises that we are all different and what works for her might not work for me. I don’t know any other woman who can do that. And feel blessed to have her in my life.

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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.

What Motivates a Person to Steal a Marriage and Family?

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Google Queens are born when you suddenly find yourself in the Land of Betrayal.

It looks like search engines are the first port of call when we start looking for answers. The answers aren’t there but there is lots of food for thought.

When reading Busbsyd @ Silver Linings’ words I realised most of them were already stuck in my brain as I had come across the same sources on many sleepless evenings, nights, dawns, baby naps…

What Motivates a Person to Steal a Marriage and Family?.

The beginning of the end

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Today I did what I never thought I would have to do: I spoke to a lawyer. A family lawyer. Because maybe our family is going to have to break up.

Tom, the man I have been with for almost half of my life has disappeared, and been replaced by someone I barely know. Someone who is causing me to hurt inside like never before. Right now everything is about him, his job, his balance. And I am to blame for his unhappiness, for his imbalance, for everything that is “wrong” in his life. So here is the picture of the life he is successfully attempting to destroy:

We have three girls: Evie (7 years old), Tilly  (3 years old) and baby Mia (just 1 year old) which are the best gift life has given me, I blessed, I am lucky, and I know it.

He has a highly successful career, for which he works hard and sacrifices a lot. He is ambitious and driven and it’s paying off. But there is little or no time for anything else. He is also permanently mildly depressed and has serious anxiety issues which he refuses to address. I have fully supported him, putting aside many of my own projects and ambitions, I’ve changed jobs, moved houses, Countries, left family and friends behind because I loved him. Simply because I loved him.

He bought a house in London. The girls and I live in it right now, because he accepted a position in Italy in 2011 and has been coming home most week ends. The new job within the company was sudden, as usual, and we decided together that this time he would go ahead on his own: Tilly was barely 1 year old and we had lived in the new house for 12 months. He has never been a hands on dad/husband and was barely home before 9 – 10 pm anyway. Truth is our daily life didn’t change much. A few months later I was pregnant with Mia, only to discover down the line that he wasn’t sure about a third child and was relying on it not happening (it took a long time to get pregnant with both the first two).

I am to blame for wanting a house, a third child and for needing stability. Or at least some emotional support. Understanding that it is not easy to accept that the life we live doesn’t belong to me simply because work comes first. His work. I worked until Evie was born, she was barely 3 months old when we moved from Australia to the UK and I didn’t have a job to go back to. I couldn’t face starting over, yet again, knowing that I would be away from my baby and that most likely it would be another job that I would have to give up at some point anyway.

So now I am to blame for everything. I have done a lot of thinking, from my perspective, from his, from the outside, from deep within myself. And I don’t agree. At all. I think I am starting to understand what is going on inside his head, I understand the process but I wIll not take the blame. Especially not after almost 9 months of stonewalling. And sabotaging. And who knows what else.

I know something is very wrong. My gut feeling has been screaming at me for quite a while but I was paralysed, because I still love him, I love the way we were, I love what we created together. I know we’ve fallen into some common traps: we haven’t made time for each other, we’ve been dragged deeper and deeper in separate worlds (cutthroat work for him, babyland for me), we’ve never really made an effort to talk about it giving each other for granted. But that was it. The time had come to reassess the direction to give to our lives. Together. Or so i figured. Until I realised that for the past 9 months I had been trying to “fix” things, find solutions alone.

I am not one who gives up easily or loses hope at the first obstacle, I don’t want a divorce, I don’t want us to break up… but today I had to face the fact that we may not have our happy ending. Simply because it takes two.