I had lunch together with both of my daughter’s.
My 17-year old commented, “You know, Mom. You should actually thank Janice. She did you a favour by getting dad out your life. You deserve better.”
My 13-year old asked, “Why does dad have to bring Janice to take me out to dinner?”
I didn’t respond.
My older daughter suggested that he just wants Janice to get to know her. My younger daughter said she didn’t want that and finds it so annoying that Janice always tries to bud in on conversations between my girls that have nothing to do with her and they aren’t talking to her.
I just reflected that we used to go out as a family and spend the time knowing what was going on in each others lives. My ex is missing out on so much with my younger daughter’s life and I am missing out on my older daughter’s life as she lives with her dad. Now some other woman is asking what deodorant my daughter wears? And I should thank her?
Reflecting on my younger daughter’s query about the intrusion of another woman on her relationship with her dad makes me sad because what message does she receive when her dad either bails on her for other plans or if he does pick her up after dance on his scheduled Friday and he is alone he just takes her through the McDonalds drive-thru, doesn’t eat with her and just drops her off at home. At least if he brings Janice they take her out to dinner and he gets to spend some time with his daughter even though she feels like an intrusion on their date. Last Friday when they took her out she couldn’t even eat. She had one bite of her pizza while she watched them share a surf and turf salad, a pizza and wine. She brought her pizza home to me to eat. She just needs to share and I listen as much as I would prefer not to know or hear about it.
I no longer do anything to try to make her dad have a relationship with his daughter. If he bails on her; I am there to pick her up. If she choses not to stay at his house she is always welcome here and I am home every night for her. It makes no difference to me if it should be my weekend to have some freedom. If he chooses not to spend quality time with his daughter and build a real relationship with her that is his loss and I will do what I can to make sure she feels wanted, respected and loved. Is it hard to date as a result? Sometimes.
My ex told a friend of ours shortly after we separated that he is not sacrificing his happiness for the sake of his children. That is one word he has kept.
Will I be thanking Janice? No. Do I deserve better? Absolutely and so do my children.