Over the weekend, I talked on the phone with The Father of My Children. That’s not unusual. We still have a 16-year-old, after all, and we both drive her places and although we have a regular schedule, there are always things to discuss.
There have always been things to discuss. We do better on the phone, mostly, than we ever did in person. On Saturday, I noted it had been 28 years since our wedding took place. We have spent more years apart than we spent together, although there have been plenty of trips to see sons perform at college, awards assemblies, graduations, recitals and concerts and plays, holiday meals at my table and random meetings all over the greater City By the Sea area. Some of those were hard at first. Now they’re just what we do.
This weekend, TFoMC took the time to help me with a home repair, by which I mean he did the multi-step repair while I stood by and handed him things and tried to be helpful as well as amusing. The expression “little more than a girl” applies to the person I was when we met in 1982. I was so busy trying to be the nice girl my mother wanted me to be that I hadn’t even tried to figure out who I was. And although there is almost always relationship blame to go around, I can’t imagine it was very satisfying to be married to someone who was playing a part that didn’t suit her, trying desperately to be the sweetly singing mechanical bird whose song is only heard when someone else winds her up and lets her play.
I was angry for a long time that I didn’t meet his expectations, or that I couldn’t, or that his expectations turned out not to be me, or (secretly) that I didn’t even want to meet them.
It doesn’t really matter now, at this distance. What does matter is what I said on Saturday: “I’m grateful for our three nice children.” Because despite the fact that we’ve spent more years apart, more years as a bi-locational family, than we did under one roof, none of the children turned out to be a nightmare divorce statistic.
And I’m thinking it’s because we kept calling each other to talk about things. We do better on the phone.