Monday, July 16, 2012

The Elephant in the Room

It's the last picture
I have of them
on my phone.

I took it
at the Santa Ana Zoo
and it was
one of the last times
we were together 
as a family.

I don't talk about him
because there is
not much to say.

Or at least...
not much that is not
tainted by my anger,
and resentment.

We were together
on and off for 
almost 5 years
and most of it
was horrible.

The only light...
our beautiful son.

I was my ugliest 
with him.

The most dishonest,
the most insecure,
the most demanding,
the most lost.

And our break-up
was long.

And it claimed 
more hearts
than our own.

I have not known
how to deal
with such 
consistent hostility.

He spews hateful words
in response to simple questions.

Continues to attack me
as a mother.

Fails to meet 
financial obligations.

And still blames me.

In his eyes
it's has always
been me.

And sometimes I wonder
if he even knows
why he hates me.

I took the bait
for so long.

Signed up
for every fight
he sent my way.

I don't do that anymore
but it's still zero fun.

I have asked
for co-parenting counseling.

Outside help to assist
our navigating 
this odd dynamic.

But he refuses.

I hate who we are
as parents.

Paul and I 
did not have
a custody order
until Lucas was 4.

Even then
most of it stated 
that decisions 
would be left to us 
to deal with
on a case by case basis.

The lawyer said
we were the easiest
custody case
she had ever seen.

Even when we
didn't like each other,
we were still able
to discuss and agree upon
schooling, vacations, sports,
and the like.

This is not 
the case with James.

With this round
I stay in bed at night
on the verge of a panic attack
worrying about
how we are failing our son.

He starts school in September,
and if we are not speaking,
how will his homework get checked 
and weekend projects completed?

How will we manage
any discipline issues?

How will we sit
in parent-teacher conferences?

James can be 
so sensitive
and so unsure of himself.

I worry that he
feels unstable
and insecure.

I want to fix it.

I want to love him enough.

I wish we were capable
of a friendly exchange.

An open dialogue.

Really the elephant in the room
is not James' dad,
it is my feeling of failing my son.

It is my awkward silence
when Lucas asks,
why can't my dad
be James' dad?"

What can I possibly say?

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