It’s 10am and I’ve so far avoided pouring myself a pint of wine – I’m in a place today where I hope writing will keep me away from undoing three years of good work, in the field of tongue-biting.
Rage is knocking on the door; it wants me to clobber a certain bendy lady with her trampoline springs. It wants me to set fire to her trampoline collection and her leotards. I am battling with a force that is willing me to rip out her voice box and stamp on it – so that she can no longer say stupid things to my little boy.
I hate being angry – it interests me about as much as necrophilia. Given that you can’t reason with unreasonable people, the only feasible conflict resolution is with myself – I need to find a place where the wound remains closed, and isn’t reopened repeatedly by the twist of the knife in the hands of the flexible twenty-something that thinks that taking someone’s man also means that any children come too – in a ‘these are mine now, your work is done, kindly fuck off and leave me to my fairytale life’ kind of way. I’m guilty of letting her assumed ownership of my child upset me time and time over. And I’m guilty of sometimes letting it show at home, in my knee-jerk reaction to the ongoing bombshells that are dropped by my son.
I write to find a solution, to save me from carrying out every fantasy of retaliation, to try and view every hurdle with love, to remember what I have and to show anyone who stumbles across this in the same position as me that they are not alone in battling a natural fury.
I am woken up this morning by the little man attaching himself to me like a koala bear. It’s my favourite thing in the world (even more than eating a whole block of brie as if it was a slice of cake). Out of the blue, he informs me that the bendy lady is “part of our family – because she is my stepmother” – a term which has apparently come straight from the careless mouth of the woman in question. I’d rather he said ‘ball sack’, ‘piss flapping hell’ or ‘nob jockey’ to me. In fact I’d rather hear the sex session that featured in my last blog post – I’d rather hear it, see it and be forced to join in with a pig strapped to my back, than to be met with what I just heard.
It hurts. He’s five, and at times he’s lost. And I take it personally that, to the thieving gymnast, I will forever be an invisible mother – which I know I just need to get over.
So, before I resort to listening to Nick Cave and crying into a bottle of Merlot, or driving my car at one of her trampolines, perhaps with her on it at the time, I need to find peace, and if possible, clutch onto some humour.
The signs have been there – only last week was there a smack of a clue that this girl believes she is a fully fledged parent. I never thought I’d hear the words ‘I’m sorry’ from her – but last week she bent down to my son, and gave a heartfelt “I’m really sorry…” (I’m waiting for something appropriate that redeems some of her actions), she continues: “… I won’t be able to attend your parents evening with Daddy”.
I’m speechless. What planet do you have to be on not to know that that’s not OK? Really really not OK. No one gatecrashes a parents evening as a date or as their ‘time to shine’. Let me just hide behind this cushion and die cringing, whilst teachers rally round to get a third chair for you, because you’ve decided to rock up in your American-tan tights.
I do some really dumb things, I’ve given credit to dumb blonde jokes and I will no doubt continue to say and do some stupid things. But not grasping the concept of an event called ‘parents evening’ is taking it to a new level – the clue is there in the title – with great big lights on it. Parents evening: an evening for parents. Not mistresses, not pets, not girlfriends, friends, neighbours, dead relatives you’ve dug up or local celebrities. She’s either off-the-scale stupid and doesn’t understand the concept, or she understands the term and believes she fits the criteria.
I stand by the fact that I doubt any of her stupidity is malicious, she’s rude at times but she’s young, and immaturity is a huge factor. My boy is allowing her an exciting game of mums and dads – this is way more exciting than a doll. She’s got the best toy in the box and she’s having a great time – she’s not a bully, she is just so lost in her own ego that she doesn’t see that her ‘toy’ belongs to someone else, or is in fact a real live human being. And she speaks as if the impact was no greater than if speaking to a doll – totally unaware that there are any implications on the feelings of a child when you start telling them that you are their stepmum, or on the feelings of the invisible biological mother.
There’s one person is this equation that cannot fend for them self yet – I wish I could control the degree of consideration that goes his way, from all three of the adults in this.
Last week I had a conversation with my son that I need to listen to. He was talking about the ‘posh’ things his dad and girlfriend have in their life. “Listen, at the moment we don’t have much money, and one of my favourite things to do is to stand at the mill pond at watch the heron and kingfisher. If we ever have a million pounds in the bank then this will still be one of my favourite things to do – it costs nothing and doesn’t change with how much money you have.” And today, I need to remind myself that no amount of hurtful actions or mindless comments can change what real wealth we have: the resident heron, hills and trees on the doorstep, my nice job around our time together as a family and the nicest friends and neighbours we could wish for. This is the reality behind the name under which I write – keeping the important things in life to mind, and not losing gratitude for them.
I’ve put my blow torch down and I will strive to keep being kind to the bendy lady. She can call herself step mum, mum, mother Teresa, the Queen Mother, motherfucker, I don’t care – I will respect this, I will go with her style (American tan tights and all) and I will not break from the higher stance that my son will remember. Aside from that, I’m currently writing a book on forgiveness – which I cannot fulfil if I murder someone.
Note to self: forgive, stop taking it as a personal attack and be nice.