We are happier

the three of us are

closer than we were before.

we are happier


8:00am

It is so good to have the boys back with me again. I always miss them when they are with their mother but it is brought into sharper focus when I have them…how much more fulfilled my life feels. I enjoy the time I get to spend with them. Our relationship has gotten better (and we have always been really close) since I have quit drinking. We laugh and have fun more. I still have that stern, “I’m your father and I have expectations!” thing because you know…I am and I do. It just seems easier, more relaxed…I don’t know what word fits best…not organic… somewhere between relaxed and natural. Whatever word best embodies that emotion.

I have to admit to a sense of pride in myself. I can look back on how I was doing, day to day before Michelle left me to where I am now and see a happier person. Don’t get me wrong, I am still sad about Michelle and I. The happiness is just a general, underlying state of being. The background noise is happy. It’s my first position (if I can use a dancing term).

Drinking has recently been difficult. The cravings have been more frequent. I went to dinner with some friends at a place that makes great cocktails and someone ordered their “Perfect Old Fashion”. I could feel the desire to have one in my chest. It was uncomfortable.

 

Chicago is calling

8:45am

I am getting excited about Chicago.

I should throw and asterix on that statement. I wish Michelle was coming with me and she could enjoy the Hamilton ticket I got her for her 30th birthday. I was thinking about her this morning. The way I have approached sobriety is the same way I quit smoking. One day at a time, putting more time between the last day I drank till today. Create new habits, new muscle memory that is how I’ve been able to not smoke for 8 years, how I’ve been able to not drink for 14 weeks, and how I‘ll get over Michelle. The more distance I put between her leaving me and now, the better I am going to be.

I am getting excited about Chicago.* Hamilton is going to be amazing. There was an interview with the actor who played King George in the original cast production on Fresh Air the other night. It made me more excited to see the show. I wish the boys could come with me. They are with their mother.

I have decided for Christmas we are staying in Omaha. I had thought about going to Manhattan. I have to be honest with myself. The only reason I was going to Manhattan is I know Michelle will be in Brooklyn at the same time and I’d want her to see us on Facebook and feel bad. The boys and I are going to look at going over their spring break. That is the right reason to go. Not some lame/stalking attempt to ensure Michelle feels shitty.

Son being bullied

8:15am

Brad is being bullied at school. It’s by a girl he doesn’t know. She asked him to come over by her desk and then promptly kicked him in the groin. She got into trouble. The dean told him if she said anything to him in any way to let him know. He assured me they took the incident seriously and would not tolerate any kind of bullying. This morning I asked Brad if she has said anything to him? His teacher asked him to pass out a completed test. When he handed the girl’s to her she told him, “don’t touch my paper.” This is a continuation of her bullying. She is testing the waters to see what she can continue to get away with. What is most frustrating about this is Brad was physically assaulted and because it is a girl he is unable to respond in kind. We’ll see what comes of this. I’m pretty angry right now.

What kind of home life does this kid have? Her lashing out is just her way of venting frustrations she doesn’t understand or know how to deal with. Knowing that tugs at the strings of empathy…until it’s your kid she is “venting” at…so fuck her, that little asshole!!!!!!

The ex-wife (cue the eye roll)

she is selfish. my

continued surprise is the

only shocking thing


8:30am

I have a much better attitude today. I got a really hard work out in and read my book for a few hours last night. It was super relaxing. I had a dream about my brother last night. It was short…a flash really. I was at the family business in Arizona picking up Dennis and Brad. I was walking past Patrick’s office and just said “hey” as I walked by. That was it. I woke up, turned over in bed, and fell right back to sleep.

Collette (my ex-wife) really pissed me off the past 2 weekends. She scheduled her annual girls’ trip the weekend she had the boys. Aside from her selfishness, that part didn’t piss me off. I got to have the boys for the weekend. What did was she asked me if she could start her week the following week early so she could “make up” the time she lost with the boys. I thought that was great. She has never asked that before and I figured she was placing a value on time spent with the boys…which she typically doesn’t. They went up to her girlfriend Maija’s cabin. She spent all of Saturday at a chili cook-off event and the boys spent that time at the cabin with Inta and Tom (Maija’s parents). I know because Brad called me to chat because he was bored. Dennis went to bed early for the same reason. So much for quality time, right? I was going to call Collette and chew her ass out but thought better of it. In the future I just won’t let her have the kids on my time. If she wants to schedule vacations when she is supposed to be a mother that is her problem not mine.

 

Monday

stars are out shone by

the sun as what’s wrong with us

should be by our love.


8:00am

I was super sad and lonely this weekend. I binge watched Netflix. Friday, I made a nice meal, put on a warm fire, and sat on the couch watching the show till just after midnight. Super sad.

Sadness comes and goes. I didn’t have the boys this weekend and I didn’t have much going on socially. Maybe next weekend will be different. I just need to remember the more time I put between my relationship with Michelle and now…the fewer bad days/weekends I will have.

It still seems unreal we aren’t together. It is just wrong the boys and I don’t have her in our life. Enough said about that…she is gone because she wants to be gone.

 

A poem for Friday

This poem by Kipling has meant a lot to me (especially the line I highlighted in blue) the last few months:

                                         If

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Strength

clarity is (comes

when it wants. rushed…you dilute

its poignancy) strength


7:30am

Wednesday…what to write about? I’m taking Friday off to spend some quality time with Dennis (he doesn’t have school). I’m excited about hanging out with just the two of us. He is at the age where he generally isn’t interested in doing that as much.

I feel great today. I keep doing the things that work when I get upset or sad about Michelle: exercise, read, take a bath, etc, etc. It helps with sleeping. I don’t have any repetitive, obsessive thoughts. This morning, Brad asked me about sleeping and if I am getting enough. I asked why he was asking. He said, “I don’t know…you don’t seem as tired in the mornings.” We talked about drinking and how some people use alcohol to help them get to sleep. I explained it actually makes for a very restless sleep. He asked me what people who can’t sleep should do. I told him use the techniques we’ve both learned to quiet our minds and eliminate the swirling, obsessive thoughts. He liked that.

The three of us had an interesting end to the night last night. We watched the “Nosedive” episode of Black Mirror. In it a character has an epic, public meltdown. When the show was over I asked the kids if they understood why she had her meltdown. They did…they could see her stress building and building to an explosion. I told them that is what happened to Michelle when she lost it in Arizona. I explained the way their Aunt Rae and Uncle Patrick (mostly Rae) had treated her and her efforts to ignore it caused so much stress those weeks she finally cracked under the strain. She didn’t have any control once she cracked. I think they finally understand what happened that evening back in July.

 

What works

I am Regret. I

force questions that do not have

answers. I loathe sleep.


9:00am

Monday morning I sent Michelle a photo of Brad and his soccer team after they won their tournament with a brief description of the weekend both boys had. I sent her the picture because I thought she loves my boys and would like to hear about them. On my drive home from work I received the following text from her:

Michelle: I don’t see the need for us to have any more contact. I will not be responding to any more messages.

I was so upset. I have been feeling so good about things. Thursday I get all weird and freaked out about going on a date with a different woman then this. What the fuck? I did what works. I had a brutal workout, spent quality time with my boys, cried a little bit, talked to my dog, took a long hot bath, and read my book. By the time I was in bed I felt better.

I had some choice things to say back to her immediately after she sent me the text.

Me: Yeah, I can see that from your perspective. Why keep in contact with people you really never cared for to begin with. You are a cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive person. You kept that hidden for over three years. I don’t know if that is admirable or terrifying. You always said the song “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations was our song as a couple. Talk about foreshadowing huh?

About 5 minutes after I sent that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have. Now, I don’t have any regrets. Fuck Michelle and the space she keeps taking up in my head and my heart!! She IS cruel, unforgiving and vindictive. I am sending her the following text and then I am blocking her number from my cell phone as well.

Me: Yesterday, for about 30 minutes, I felt bad I sent that text. That was it. I stand by it. You ARE cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive. I should have included selfish, naïve, and immature as well. You’ve allowed one moment to define everything. You can’t allow I am capable of change because you are NOT capable of change. You have told me to “go fuck yourself” and that “you ruined my life and I fucking hate you.” I wish I had it in me to respond in kind…I don’t.

I’ll leave you with this: your actions the last 13 weeks and 2 days has as much to do with us being apart as anything I have done. One day, you will look back on our life together (our family) and you will regret leaving. You will miss us.

I sent this as a text and as an email. I have blocked her on my phone and email.

 

Renewal

I will never drink.

this sobriety is what

remains of our love


death is renewal.

her love dying gave birth to

my sobriety


8:30am

I really like the way I feel in the mornings. I feel rested, clear headed, and lite. I like the calm in my brain. I don’t feel embarrassed I’m hung over on a weekday, again. I don’t have the scared, little voice in my head whispering, “You have a problem man.” That voice scared me. Every, time I woke up tired, foggy, thirsty, and pretending I was none of those things I would hear it in my head. “Dude, it’s Tuesday and you’re hung over again? You can’t keep doing this.” I wish I had quit drinking sooner. Brad and I have so much fun driving to middle school in the mornings. I feel like I short changed Dennis the last 2 years.

I know my sobriety required a crisis. I needed to be faced with a horrible consequence before I would make a change. Michelle was the consequence. I lost Michelle because I drank. She doesn’t see it but I do. The-glass-is-half- full way to look at losing Michelle is to think about all the things I could have lost had I kept drinking: my career, my home, my money, solid/healthy friendships, and a loving relationship with my children. Last week my therapist commented on the guilt I feel about being a drunk. She asked me if I saw anything good about not drinking. I do. I am modeling the right behavior around alcohol for my boys. There are alcoholics on both sides of my family (maternal grandmother, and paternal grandfather). All 3 of us are pre-disposed to being drunks. Being honest and open with the boys about my issues with alcohol and modelling the right behavior is going to help them do the same. It is just like smoking. It is kind of a I-will-not-have-lost-the-love-of-my-life-in-vain sort of thing. I will honor the love and relationship Michelle and I had (and lost) by being a better man and father to my boys. At this point, it is all I have left of her.

 

Damn Radiohead

we miss you less now.

if you discount yesterday

and most days prior.


7:30am

The boys and I went to St. Paul to see Live From Here. It was a great show. Brad absolutely loved it. Dennis said, “Eh, it was okay. I guess it was pretty good.” The 15 year old version of, “I really liked it!” We had a great weekend together. Of course I was constantly reminded of Michelle’s absence. I had purchased a seat for her in the hopes she would go with us so her seat was empty at the theater.

We had a super relaxed attitude driving to and from St. Paul because we didn’t have a particular deadline or huge distance to travel…Michelle would have loved that. The host talked about a Radiohead song from their last album and then sang it. I almost started crying:

‘True Love Waits’

I’ll drown my beliefs

To have your babies

I’ll dress like your niece

And wash your swollen feet

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

 

I’m not living

I’m just killing time

Your tiny hands

Your crazy kitten smile

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

 

And true love waits

In haunted attics

And true love lives

On lollipops and crisps

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

When he sang the chorus, at the end…it killed me. It was so sad and mournful. It had a slow, soft, panicked quality to it. It reminded me of how I have felt (off and on) the last 12 weeks. I feel like it reset how much I miss Michelle. It is different this time. It isn’t as immediate. It isn’t as sharp. It feels like the last time he sang the chorus – slow, soft, and (vaguely) panicked.