adultery, affair, cheating, divorce, family, friends, God, support, vacation

Family Vacation

A week after discovering my husband’s affair, I still went on our booked March break family vacation.

It was supposed to be my husband, me and our 2 girls visiting his parents in Englewood, Florida for 2 weeks and then heading up to Orlando to Disney World and Universal Studios for week number three. I was traveling with our youngest daughter for the first week and my husband and our older daughter were joining us for the last 2 weeks.  My younger daughter and I were going to visit my birth mom, step father, sister, brother-in-law and 3 nieces in Naples during our first week.

As soon as my husband learned we discovered his affair he sent me an email that read, “Cancel my flight.” My older daughter’s best friend ending up taking my ex’s place.

It turned out to be one the best vacations we ever experienced.  We had so much fun.  We did some crazy girl things we would never have done with my ex present. After the devastation my ex had just caused us we were more caring of each other, more open, honest, kinder and closer.

I felt like God was there all the way sending me little reminders of his love through friends, family, random incidents, my girls and their friend as well as my older daughter’s friend’s dad who came down and surprised us (he’s a pilot) treating us to an amazing dinner in Downtown Disney.

We also met an amazing man in the hot tub who was so kind and wonderful to all of us.  He invited us to attend events with him that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. He took my camera and snapped random shots of me and my girls. My younger daughter was always asking to go to the pool at 9:00 p.m. for our regular rendezvous with him and watched the gate eagerly for him to arrive.  The pool caretakers allowed him to stay in the pool area after hours and to close up when he was done so it was midnight sometimes when we returned home (with our time change it was only 9:00 p.m.).  He bought lanterns for all of us one night that we lit and wished on and released to the sky.  He introduced us to his friends and we had great little parties. He made me feel desirable (although I did not attend his private invites I certainly considered it and my older daughter encouraged me to go!) We would talk for at least 2 hours every night and he gave a lot of attention to my kids. He kissed me (my daughter’s friend saw that one) and told me he thought I was the most amazing women and mother.

I also had so much support from my best friends from Ontario and it was a blessing to be able to get the support of my family and even in-laws in person at this life-changing point. It turned out that one of my best friends who just moved to Sarasota was only a 15 minute drive from my in-laws place.  We talked on the phone daily and we visited often over the 2 weeks. My other girlfriend from Ontario flew down to support me and brought her daughter to be there for my daughter.  My other best friend, who I have known literally all my life, changed her family vacation plans and drove completely out of their way with her husband and 3 kids just to give me a hug. My mother-in-law shared with me about my father-in-law’s infidelity and she told me how much she felt my pain.  She assured me she knew exactly what I was experiencing.

If this vacation had not been planned before discovering the affair I wouldn’t have gone.  It involved a lot of driving and one parent with 3 children had it’s challenges but I would not go back and change a thing.

I have since taken my children on several other mini trips and experiences.  My ex was never really interested in travelling or doing anything new.  It was always me that planned our trips and they were very detailed in nature. I made sure there were great experiences for everyone.

Now my younger daughter is enjoying what is becoming our annual camping trip.  It is simple–a tiny cabin with bunk beds.  She and her friend sleep on top and I am on the bottom.  There is a table and 2 chairs, a mini fridge and microwave and a portable electric double burner that I can cook on. The girls are happy to help out cooking, doing the dishes, sweeping out the cabin and setting and clearing the picnic table where we eat. We do a mix of nothing and lots of things including visiting friends who are vacationing in the same camp park or close by, going to a lake for the day, the ocean for a day, mini golf, driving range, outdoor movie in a close by city, local events like sand sculpture competitions, movies in a friend’s trailer, movies outside our cabin, swimming in the watering hole, water slide, playground, shopping in a nearby town, and going for ice cream. My older daughter stays home now and gets paid to look after the pets and housesit plus she has 2 other jobs this summer.

Our expensive, flying vacations may be finished due to my financial situation but I like what we are doing equally as much.  Time together building memories with some new experiences is what our family vacation has always been about. It is a core value to me and I will ensure our adventures together continue.

disappointment, divorce, parenting after separation, support

What’s his excuse this weekend?

It is my ex’s weekend to have our younger daughter. So far, he bailed on her Friday night and left her stranded at her dance studio. My older daughter told me he started drinking at the office before he went downtown for dinner (as is the Friday afternoon custom at their office) so he couldn’t have picked her up anyways.

On Saturday afternoon, my 2 daughters and my younger daughter’s friend and me drove up to Nanaimo. My younger daughter is in a dance festival competition. We have already drove up to Nanaimo twice this week for her performances. She didn’t place in her jazz solo but came in first in her musical theatre trio number.  The festival is during the week so I am sure her dad would say he couldn’t be there because he had to work.  Experience is that my ex can skip work for any reason he wants. He chooses what activities or situations he would like to use to not be available to work. This was not a worthy-in-his-eyes reason to not use work as an excuse to miss an important event for his daughter.

On Sunday she has to be there for 8:30 a.m. It is an hour and a half drive, rainy weather forecast, so we opt to get a hotel and go up the day before.  We have a lot of fun. We stop and pick up treat-type food for the trip. The hotel has a pool so we swim, have dinner out, go bowling and go swimming again before bed.

My younger daughter tells me that her dad mentions that he wants to come up and see her and asks when she performs.  She tells me she doesn’t want him there but she gave him all the information.  I am not sure if it is because she thinks he’ll bring his girlfriend, the fact that he left her stranded on Friday or the fact that she doesn’t want to hope he’ll show up because he disappoints her time and time again.

He didn’t show up.

She placed 3rd out of 12 amazing tappers.  I am so happy for her I cried.  It was a very emotional experience for me.  When we went shopping afterwards and for lunch, I would tell people who asked if she was part of the festival (hair and makeup gave it away) that they were talking to a 3rd place tapper.

She texted her dad to tell him the great news.  I am sure he said lots of nice things to her but I can’t help but be so angry at him for not being there for his daughter to celebrate her success or to be there for encouragement if she didn’t place.

I know that I cannot control his actions.  I can only control my response to his actions and this weekend was over-shadowed by my intense hatred for his behaviour. He is missing out on his kids’ life. I am the lucky one and the blessed one to be able to share in their experiences.  This week was really a week of celebration and learning and growth for my younger daughter in performing and adjudication.

A theme of the adjudicator this week was this:  It is only her opinion at this particular moment in time and it is so difficult to judge based on all the unique talent and routines that one is better than the other. However, it is a competition and she has to reward placements or not (some categories may have only received “participation” certificates if she didn’t award them a score deserving of any placement.)  Authenticity is important.  She does not like fake facial expressions and can see in the eyes if those expressions aren’t genuine. The piece of paper awarding you a placement is not the most important aspect of the experience. The adjudication sheet listing comments on how you can improve and the pointed out areas of strengths and weaknesses is the most important information to focus on.

My adjudication to my ex is similar. I have no dance experience or background. Yet, I was able to call the “first place” winner. Some things are just obvious. You, my ex, are a first place loser. Anyone who is aware of your priorities and lack of consciousness over your choices can call that one. You can say all the nice and supportive sounding things you want but authenticity is revealed by your actions. You don’t pay a dime towards her dance classes, her costumes, her festival fees, even though you signed a mediation agreement saying you would be paying for 50% of these fees until our house sells then it goes up to 70%; you don’t show up at her performances; you tell her she has to miss dance classes if it interferes with your schedule of hockey on days you are suppose to pick her up or drop her off and you don’t help with any fundraising or volunteering for her financial benefit. Just my opinion from my direct experience and witnessing over the past 2 1/2 years. But the most important opinion is that of your daughters.