Damn. Here it is. The test, first of many I am sure, to see if I really plan to view things differently in my life and change my reaction to unpleasant circumstances.
The time: Saturday afternoon for Trophy Day at the ball field.
I unload the kids from the car and the boys run ahead as usual. Serenity is holding my hand and Journey is in tow searching for her friend that she likes to meet up with and play together during ball games. We walk past the concession stand and my eyes briefly catch the sight of... THEIR FATHER. WHO HASN'T SEEN THEM IN MORE THAN TWO YEARS.
My mind started going 100 miles per hour. Unstoppable. I felt my body go into fight or flight mode with the adrenaline pumping. How did he know to be here? How did he even know which ball field? How? Why? Huh?
I kept walking to the other side of the field where the inflatables were set up and the girls and I found a spot to drop our junk. Journey ran off to find her brothers and Serenity and I sat down for a snack. My first instinct was to grab up all the kids and just walk back to the car, get in and drive home. BUT, I know that he would have followed us to the car and caused a big scene. My problem with this whole situation is not the children seeing their father. It is that he has made no effort for 2.5 years to be involved, help support them, call them, see them, nothing. Zilcho. OF COURSE he had to show me that he would and could do whatever he feels like and show no mercy where the kids are concerned, not thinking of the repercussions of a random meeting like this. Now, again, they have no idea when they will see him again, it brought all the feelings to the surface that we have worked hard to get through and lay aside, and when we left everyone was in emotional upheaval that it will take weeks, perhaps even months to mend.
As for my reaction, I kept my cool in front of the kids and the community but damn I wanted to let him have it. THe BASTARD. Putting me on the spot like that. He walked up to us and proceeds to tell me that he was at last weekend's ballgame too. He sits down next to me like an old friend and starts the small talk. I am sitting there like WTF. (my kids did not even recognize him - not one of them) Here is the point where I say he is a coward, because at last week's ballgame, that he made a grand point of telling me that he had been there, my mother was there watching as well as the man I have been dating for three years. Notice that ol' daddy didn't have the balls to walk up to us then. As he sits next to me I can feel negativity emanating from his being like waves of heat across concrete in the hot Memphis summer. I want to run. I want to slap him, shake him, spit on him, curse at him. He talks on as if all of this is no biggie deal. I breathe. And count. And look at the clouds. Anything and everything I can do to keep calm.
Finally, Jacob recognizes his father, after like 20 minutes, and he comes running over and leaps into his arms. Then, of course the others follow suit. Max was a little hesitant. By this time it is raining more than just a sprinkle and we are beginning to walk back to the concession stand to see if the day will be rescheduled. We stand around, very awkwardly, and he starts. To lie to my kids. About where he has been these past years and why he hasn't seen them. Mama bear kicked in at that point. I snatched Jacob from his grasp and walked away with MY kids. He follows us and continues to hold them and hug them and WHISPER in their ears - filling their heads full of lies and crap that he knows I would never believe but feels like he can tell them and excuse his behavior. I wanted to vomit.
This man has gotten fired from 4 jobs by refusing to show up on time. He remains homeless - living with people until they kick him out for not paying any living expenses. He rarely sends in his child support ( I am talking 18,000 behind in TN and 3,000 behind in NC - money the kids will probably never see), He has no car - he didn't pay for his truck and it was towed off. He apparently WALKED/THUMBED to Asheville from a nearby town down the highway about 30 miles and is living in the HOMELESS shelter downtown. He smokes and drinks...and well, I could go on. I am just so thrilled to have him lurking around in our comfort zone, as you can tell.
The rain was a blessing because we were able to have an excuse to leave the ball field way earlier and Max did not get upset at having to miss the Trophy ceremony. But, after one hour of having that man in our presence, I was spent and I could tell that the kids were too. We piled in the car and drove home to have an emergency family meeting over slushies and rootbeer floats. At which point I told them the truth about their father, in a kind and gentle way of course. I opened the floor for questions and was surprised to find that they all asked some pretty hard ones and seemed to understand the answers, or at least accept them. Journey was in tears, Jacob was just silent - hiding behind sad eyes and a lot of emotion that his 10 y.o. self can't process, Max said he would rather that R** be his dad anyway since we see him all the time, and little Serenity was oblivious - never having met her father (he made no effort to ever meet or see his fourth child - but happened upon her the last time he came to see the kids on January 2, 2006)
Quite simply, I am sad. The kids were doing so well, very adjusted to daily life as it was, no more behavioral issues relating to the abandonment by their father. We had settled into routines and were happy. I just hope that all that hard work isn't washed away with one random meeting from the sperm donor. As I sat reading yesterday afternoon, focusing on parts of my book that were helping to explain what I was experiencing and what it reflects, I am certain that it was a big test from the Universe to see if I can transcend the drama that has been my life for the past 12 years with this man. Am I ready to let go of that story? Can I move past the feelings it brings up and allow those feelings to pass through without becoming stuck and reacting to them? I don't know...I just don't know.
What I know for sure: I will do whatever it takes to let go of this story. It is one thing to read about how to do it, to talk about doing it..it is yet quite another to walk the walk and talk the talk.