Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

This Father’s Day Is Better Than the Rest

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do you make love or do the dishes?

I’m free.

There is nothing tying me to the past today. I have my kids (so it’s a damn good day) and I have my soul. I give thanks today for the recovery that has come at a price.

On my morning walk I wandered my mixed neighborhood. Into areas full of mobile homes trying to look like houses. Into yards so full of broken stuff, you wonder what the hold up is for calling the dumpsters. And in the middle of that crazy back yards is some dad, I saw him, tattoos glistening through the jungle of junk, working on something. Maybe he was planting something. He didn’t seem to be tinkering. He was focused and did not notice me passing by in awe of his rubble.

And I return to my funky gnome house (the kids named it) and can enjoy the satisfaction that comes with setting my agenda, 100%, today. It used to be that Father’s day “was the day” that I could do anything I wanted. Now it is every day.

Today I give thanks that I am free from the tyranny of chores and honey-doos. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with getting your shit done, but if it ALWAYS takes precedence over enjoying life, playing, and kicking back and dealing with the laundry tomorrow, well… Then perhaps I was in the wrong movie.

I’m not OCD. Perhaps I’m the opposite. DGF (doesn’t give a fuck). Much more organized and efficient with the trash can then the man from junk-villa, but not so concerned that every dish be put away before interesting myself in other pleasurable pursuits. Today some of those pleasurable things tend to be self-induced, and that’s okay. The woman who does finally arrive is going to be quite pleased with my attention to detail. Not in the  cleanliness of the carpet, but more along the lines of tireless focus and energy. And then a NAP. TOGETHER. A tasty treat that became more and more rare in my marriage. And it’s too bad, naps are one of my favorite indulgences.

I recall the discussion with the ex-y at the start of every long weekend.

“So what are your ideas for the weekend?” she would ask, innocently enough.

After a while I simply didn’t care to play the game and I’d answer, “Make love to you, get in some good naps, and do whatever else comes to mind.”

She was infinitely disappointed with my answer. I saw it. So I’d knowingly ask, “So what about you?”

And what would be laid out is a list of chores, always involving my assistance and/or compliance. It never failed.

“What about snuggles and naps and making love?” I’d ask if I was feeling really irritated. Such a sad disconnect.

When we’d met again, after knowing each other in high school, I was pretty clear on my love of napping. And she was enamored with the sex that would often happen before, during, or after a good hour or so in bed, together. But somewhere along the way, the agenda outgrew the heart. She was more comfortable working things along a calendar and in spreadsheets.

Sometimes you don’t want to know exactly what it will cost to go to the beach for a spontaneous weekend. Sometimes you want the dishes and laundry to wait for your hunger and passion to be met. And then at some point you realize you are meeting those needs more often alone than with her. And you realize that if you don’t speak up your needs and desires will continue to be missed and lost and diminished.

I learned to “rise above it” when it came to disagreements and disappointments. But in some of the instances, this “elevated view” was more of a checking out of the relationship. I thought I was doing the WE a favor by not demanding intimacy. I was mistaken. What I was doing was allowing her patterns of distress and need for order and safety, overrun my needs for closeness and naps and long kisses.

I miss long kisses.

They will arrive again. And this time I won’t lose sight of how important they are to me.


The Off Parent

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