Sunday, April 5, 2009

Velvet's Birthday

Velvet is now officially 18 years old. Within months, he will be leaving for college. Maybe near by, maybe far away - but going somewhere, nevertheless.

At the moment, he's out to dinner with his father and grandmother. Even though I know it's irrational, I'm feeling excluded. The birthday weekend has gone exactly as planned. He had a few friends over on Friday night. Most left when the Dungeons & Dragons game began in earnest sometime after midnight. Two die-hard friends slept over because they were engrossed in the game. By noon, Velvet had started his homework. By 4:00, a different group of friends came over for a serious D&D game that lasted until 6:00 today with a brief recess for sleep from 6:00 - 11:00AM. I made him get up to eat cake.

Before and After

It was a small but festive occasion with very close friends from the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. Most likely, Velvet's father was feeling excluded.

Being divorced is a drag. We'd still be married if Buzz Kill hadn't let the apartment go into foreclosure so many times. The only way I could take over the mortgage and protect the property was to get separated. For over a year, Buzz Kill refused to fill out the financial paperwork necessary to separate in NY State. I finally had to file for divorce so that the court would require him to submit the paperwork. Then he lied, and the court sent in an independent accountant to determine how much money Buzz Kill was hiding in his business. That's when things got ugly.

In the end, divorcing was the right thing to do. We may not be together as a family, but at least our home is safe. It's still a drag, though.

When Velvet was blowing out his candles, it would have been nice to share a proud moment with his father. That can't happen, and I'm already dreading Freshman Orientation. If Velvet goes to college in Syracuse and I take him up to school, it's going to be a long, lonely drive back to the city - unless Buzz Kill decides to come along which could be worse. Certainly people who are still married when their kids leave home are just as filled with isolation, anger and resentment as Buzz Kill and I are. Not all marriages are happy, but I wish things were different.

I'm not saying that Buzz Kill is having fun at dinner because Vagina Dentata is there, and going out to dinner with Vagina Dentata is excruciating. I'm afraid that Buzz Kill has brought his girl friend to this family occasion, and that makes me feel like there is a substitute mother at the party.

The worst is having to be mature around Velvet when I'm feeling irrationally disliked, replaced and all together shunned by people I don't even want to be around in the first place. It's more difficult to be mature when I'm exhausted - which makes me teary - because the dang kids kept woke me up every two hours during both nights of the D&D Marathon. They were well behaved and within normal parameters. It's just that when you live in an 1100 square foot apartment, there is no escape from ordinary noises like laughter, doors opening and shutting and toilets flushing. I'm too damn old to be waking up every two hours all night for two nights in a row.

Despite our failings, Buzz Kill and I must have done a few things right because Velvet has turned out fine.

I'm trying to hang on to that feeling of accomplishment right now. There was one very bright spot in an otherwise rough week when the Mad Priest over at Of Course I Could Be Wrong put me on his prayer list. They were having a rough week too, filled with personal loss, but he took the time to ask for prayers of thanksgiving in my behalf after reading what I said about getting out of the Looney Bin (Stonerdate 3.29.09). Imagine folks all around the world thanking G*d for Trish. Even if you don't believe in G*d, it's pretty amazing to consider.


Gail said...

Hi there-

This is a beautiful writing about the many layers of being a Mom - Velvet's celebrations sounded wonderful, perhaps not so much with the Vagina grandmother -
I love your nostalgia, and honest "looking back" at the "woulda-coulda's" and what if's!! I follow it all quite intimately.
And that birthday cake? The best ever! woohoo!

Love, Gail

PENolan said...

The cake did turn out well. He really appreciated it too, I think, because he's still saying "Thanks, Mom"

Comrade Kevin said...

Divorce proceedings can quickly get nasty. I once dated a woman who harbored some severe anger towards the ex-husband and I saw it poison her.

My girlfriend went to Syracuse for undergrad. She enjoyed it, but still shudders at the phrase "lake effect snow".

Liberality said...

Your son turned out so well because you did such a great job being his mother and you possessed a level of maturity that his father it sounds like probably lacked.

You are a good writer. I feel I'm right there with you as I read.

PENolan said...

Liberality - that means a lot coming from you. Thanks and Kev, I'm happy to say that I think neither Buzz Kill nor I that angry. When we'd been divorced about 6 months, Velvet said, "You two are great as individuals, but together you suck." BK makes me crazy when I'm driving, though, because he doesn't even have a lisense but still tells me what to do. Very annoying. On a positive note, Velvet loves winter sports including camping in snow drifts, so he and his snow shoes should do okay at SUNY ESF (environmental science and forestry) in Syracuse. I like the sound of your girl friend. Too bad her folks aren't independently wealthy.

yellowdog granny said...

trust will all get better...

Kitty said...

Before my ex and I separated, I was naive enough to envision us all still doing things as a family - a family in which the parents just happened to live apart. I thought it would be civilised and warm and give the kids a great model of how mature adult relationships could be.

Boy, did I get that wrong! I am still trying to provide a model of maturity and respect for others, whereas he has shown them how to take hatred and bitterness to a whole new level. I hope my kids 'turn out' good, I really do.


PENolan said...

I'll always be grateful to Winnicott for coming up with the idea of the "good enough" mother. As long as we make a good solid B in the mom department, things should turn out okay.

Jaliya said...

Aye-aye, Winnicott for the compassionate "good-enough" ... We do the best we can with what we've got :-)

Divorce is hell -- no two ways about it. No wonder we go bonkers over it ... Somebody's being *left*.

Cheers to you and your boy! :-)

Lisa said...

It's really complicated, isn't it? And when you think the grass over there might just be green enough to make you take the leap....well, you're right. Maybe even a not happy marriage is better sometimes than the complications of being divorced. I feel different about it each day. I'm glad I read your honest portrayal of things tonight. Really glad. Thank you.

Utah Savage said...

PENolan, I can't add much to what's been said here. For Lisa, you posted this at just the right time. That's a good thing.

Lib's right about your writing. And I love the "Good enough" thing. I think my parents were going for the "bad enough to drive her crazy" award.

And my word id word is gasms--I like the idea of orgasms without the o but with the s

PENolan said...

Jaliya, glad to see you and hope you are well. Lisa, happy to help and I know you'll figure it all out. Few things add to your stress level like moving, so maybe it'll all come out in the wash, as it were.
Utah, I'm looking forward to the day we finally get to smoke weed and twirl.

PENolan said...

And Granny, I trust you implicitly.

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