In retrospect, this wasn’t the worst Mother’s Day I ever had.
I took myself to brunch at a beloved French cafe, where I sat at the “bar”–a perch overlooking the crepe making and enjoyed my first poached eggs as part of a “Country Benedict,” with a fruit and fresh creme–always, fresh creme.
I brought a book with me though most of my time was spent chatting with fellow patrons–an elderly woman and her daughter, a middle-aged couple to my left, and another single-diner to my right.
I spoke with my CoDA sponsor, received text and Facebook messages from friends. I called my mother. I also called my daughter who surprised me with a “Happy Mother’s Day!,” and then, “Did you get your card?”
I spent the afternoon at a favorite coffee shop where I finished that job application, and ran into an old acquaintance.
When picking up Chinese for dinner last night, the woman behind the counter wished me a Happy Mother’s Day.
But from him, I had to ask.
Will you please tell me “Happy Mother’s Day?”
He looked at me tenderly and did. Then we kissed several times.
And then I braved discussing the fight from the night before. Through tear, I had sought empathy from him and he was incapable of giving it to me. We argued and he left me alone in our bed.
We argued again last night.
The grief I felt missing the kids was not grief at all, he told me. I wasn’t missing my kids, he insisted, I was using my kids and my separation from them to manipulate him into doing something. The rest I remember in mostly one-liners:
This was your trap, your plan and it backfired on you.
You’re lying to me.
I did nothing wrong. I did everything right and it still wasn’t enough for you.
I don’t think I can do this relationship anymore.
You’re a pain the ass.
You are exactly like my mom. Why do you both have to be so needy?
Everything is a crisis to you and has been for weeks.
I wasn’t planning to do anything for you for Mother’s Day. You’re not my mom.
You make me angry all the time.
You’re constantly on me at home, and while you’ve gotten better while I’m at work, if I didn’t keep constant reign on that, I know that you’d slip into old habits.
I tried my CoDA tools, I relied on “I” statements. I tried to discern the difference between what I was saying and what he actually heard. And then, I grew silent. As did he.
He decided that he did not really want to breakup. He wants a break from the headiness. He wants a break from my sharing my feelings.
Our walk to the Chinese restaurant was silent. I felt like a Zombie.
Inside, he leaned casually across the counter and wished the woman behind it, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Inside, I reeled.
Later, I would lie next to him and tell me I felt very emotionally distant from him. He responded simply, “At least we’re lying in the same bed.”
I looked through the blinds covering the window on my side of the bed. I saw the corner of the house where the living room wall butts out beyond our bedroom. And inside me, I felt pain. I’ve spent countless nights looking at this same view while I silently cried myself to sleep, or could not sleep for feeling so depressed.
“Sometimes I feel depressed,” he said. “But it never lasts long. It does go away.”
“But I don’t feel depressed,” I said.
Resentful of the view from my window, I suggested we sell the house.
“Just to sell it.”
“I want to live here. It’s close to my kids. I’ve wanted to live here for years. If we sold, I’d want to look for something else here.”
“We could move closer to your kids,” I suggested.
“I want to live here,” he repeated. Then, “If you want to sell, I guess we can. I’ll just go along.”
When he left this morning, I hardly noticed that he hadn’t told me he loved me when he kissed me goodbye. He would say this at the bedroom door, but I was not pained to not hear it when I normally do.
He is not a emotionally safe place to land, and I’m not sure he ever will be.