Friday morning I woke up. I woke my child up. I got him dressed. I made him breakfast. I made sure his Homework folder was prepared. I prepared for him to go to his father’s place for the weekend. I grabbed his soccer bag. I re-read the email from Tiny’s coach, and appropriately packed his white jersey, soccer cleats, shinguards, long socks, soccer ball, bug spray, and wipes. I looked for his blue jersey shorts, but could not find the extra pair anywhere. So, I jotted off a note to my ex-husband, because I knew that was the only other place my child changes clothes during the week.
“Do you have Tiny’s extra pair of soccer pants? They are blue with the Adidas logo. He has two pairs, but one is dirty from his game yesterday. If you don’t (have them), I’ll wash them and bring them to you for Saturday.”
It was 7:44 AM.
At 7:52 my ex responded, “I think I have them here, I’ll look and let you know.”
I nodded at his response, sure that Tiny was prepared for school that morning, and his soccer game the following day. After realizing that the only thing my tiny tot didn’t have for Saturday was the missing blue shorts, I scooped up the soccer bag and told my tiny human that it was time to go to school.
“This is your soccer bag,” I told him, displaying the familiar blue bag for him to see. “We’re bringing it to school today, so that you will have it for your game tomorrow.”
“Oh!” he chirped, excited. “It’s just like my backpack! Can I wear it like a backpack?”
“Yes, baby. Do you want to wear it into school? Will you remember that you have it, and tell Daddy you brought it? You need your soccer bag for your game tomorrow.”
“I will remember, Mommy. I’ll remember,” Tiny said, beaming up at me with his brilliant green eyes.
But, being Tiny Tot’s mother, I knew he wouldn’t. So I left the school, pulled out my phone, and jotted off a message to his dad at 8:23.
“Those (the blue shorts) are the only thing I don’t have, so his soccer bag is with him at school.”
Aside from the slightly ambiguous comment concerning his blue shorts, that was pretty clear, right? His soccer bag is with him at school.
Tiny’s soccer bag is with him, at school.
I mean, how else was I supposed to write that? English works pretty well. I thought what I wrote was a distinct, precise sentence.
His soccer bag is with him at school.
What made me think my sentence was even MORE clear was the text I received from my ex-husband at 8:58, “Okay. Thanks.”
Oh, gee. He understood me. He’s going to get Tiny’s soccer bag–the same bag that Tiny was 99% certain to forget–because I told him in a text message, and he responded in an affirmative manner.
Certain that the bag was taken care of, I then forwarded the game time and field information–that I received at 9:00 AM–to my ex-husband at 9:05. Knowing that he wouldn’t check his mail unless he knew that mail was sitting in his inbox, I then sent a text message stating that I had just forwarded the field and time information in an email. Thirty minutes later he wrote back, “Thanks so much.”
As a mother, I felt pretty good about Saturday morning. I had prepped my child’s bag and made certain that all pertinent information was sent to my child’s father. I knew that nothing could go wrong with the amount of effort I had put into getting everything ready for the following morning. I had been on top of everything, geaux me.
In fact, I had gone above and beyond the call of duty as a mother, in order to make sure that my child was prepared for his game, by making sure his father was involved every step of the way. Which, I might add, is more than I ever got during tee ball. Every time tee ball rolls around, I basically have to beg for game information–from the coach, might I add–if I want to attend my own child’s tee ball game.
Knowing my child was prepared, I went to sleep Friday night, after talking to my tiny human on the phone. At no point during that discussion was there a mention of the soccer bag, or any queries as to the following morning’s game. I was feeling pretty confident that all was right with the world.
Saturday morning, I got up at 6:30. Saturday morning, I got dressed. Saturday morning, I plugged the directions into the GPS, and arrived at the soccer fields thirty minutes early. I then called my ex-husband to see where he was, and give him directions in case he got lost. It was tricky getting to the correct field, and I thought it would be nice to save him the aggravation.
He didn’t answer.
I called my father to give him directions because getting to the field was tricky, and because I thought it would be nice to save him the aggravation of trying to find the correct field. By then it was 7:55. The game started at 8:15.
My ex called back ten minutes later asking where the field was located. He was still on the freeway, a few miles away. I mentioned he might be late, and he asked when the game was supposed to start.
“8:15,” I said, trying to not make an issue of him showing up late.
He said, “Oh, I thought you told me it started at 8:30. We may be a bit late, but not too bad. It’s not like the kids need to warm up.”
Not only did I send an email, but the coach stated the game time on Thursday at practice. Not to mention, … I sent an email. Prior to that, I believe I mentioned the 8:15 start time at least four times throughout the week.
Plus, I sent an email.
That should have been my first clue that Saturday morning would be terrible. My sensors should have gone off, and I should have been seeing neon, flashing, warning lights.
When my child arrived, he was wearing a long sleeve shirt. He was wearing black pants with a wide, white stripe. He was wearing regular shoes. The first thing I said was, “Where is his white shirt? Where is his uniform? Why is he not dressed? Where are his cleats and his shinguards? Where is his soccer bag?”
My ex-husband looked right at me with what I can only describe as a clueless look, and said, “I don’t have his soccer bag, I thought you were bringing his stuff to the field.”
“I sent you a text message yesterday. I told you that his soccer bag was with him at preschool,” I ground out, trying to be nice, trying to be civil.
“Oh, his teacher said he didn’t have anything at school. I asked her several times if he had anything for me to bring home. She said no.”
“I sent you a text,” I repeated, no longer feeling civil. That text message had said it all: his soccer bag is with him at school. He had responded, “Okay. Thanks.” What about that conversation would have made him think I was bringing his uniform? What about that conversation would have made him ask the teacher if he had a bag at school. He didn’t need confirmation, and if he did, it was in a text message directly from the source!
Smiling at me, like nothing was wrong at all, my ex-husband responded, “Oh, I must not have gotten your text.”
He said that, still looking right at me. The man lied directly to my face, … which actually isn’t a huge surprise. Well, it is, slightly, because he still thinks his lies work on me.
“You answered my text,” I stated, not giving any leeway. “You have eyes. You could have looked at the wall and seen his blue soccer bag hanging under his cubby. You know what his bag looks like, you’ve seen it a hundred times.”
“It’s not my fault, the teacher said he didn’t have a bag with him,” he repeated, standing by his former claim.
At that point, thanks to his sheer stupidity and unwavering inability to accept wrongdoing, I was livid. I had to leave to go grab my stuff from another field, because the team had switched fields during our conversation. I couldn’t remain in this nonsensical discussion, so turned on my heel and left, trying not to say anything else.
When I got to the new field, with my chair and Tiny’s water bottle–yet another item that I knew, as a parent, I needed to bring to my child’s game–Tiny was playing on the field. At that point, I was not only irritated at my ex-husband, but at all the other parents and coaches who had decided to let my child play without uniform or shinguards. League regulations stipulate that a child is not allowed to even step onto the field without shinguards, for their own safety.
For the child’s safety.
“I need to talk to you,” I said seeing fifteen shades of red. I looked at my ex-husband while I spoke, then turned and walked a safe distance away. Turning around, I began, “You are 44 years old, you could have … .”
Yes, I know how that sounded. No, I didn’t care. I still don’t. He’s 44, an adult, and a parent to my tiny human.
“I don’t have to hear this,” he flung at me, dramatically, sounding like a damn wounded animal. He started to walk away from me, petulantly licking his proverbial wounds.
“No, you do need to hear me,” I ground out, ticked off. “You’re almost 44 years old. At what point are you going to communicate with me, like I communicated with you? I told you his bag was at school. I asked you about the blue pants. When were you planning on asking me about it, when you drove all the way to this field without any of the items that Tiny needed for soccer today? You responded to my message yesterday when I said his bag was at school. I talked to Tiny last night, and you didn’t say anything at all. Because you answered my message about the soccer bag, I figured you would have him appropriately dressed for his game.”
“Here you go again, you and your anger issues. You overreact to everything. You always feel the need to yell, because you’re such an angry person,” he said loudly, playing the wounded, under-appreciated man. Grade A victim mentality. The man never does anything wrong, he’s never responsible for his actions; he’s never the bad person.
“Yes,” I said in a very angry manner, feeling justifiably irate over his childish behavior, “I get angry when you refuse to be an adult.”
I walked away at that point, too irritated to deal with a man who refuses to accept or admit his own actions and shortcomings. As I turned around, one of the other dads looked at me, lips pursed, and I knew what he was thinking–it was the same thing I had just been accused of by my ex-husband: I am the angry shrew of an ex-wife.
Standing off to the side, I decided to let my irritation settle down. I watched the coaches call a time out. I watched my child sit down and take a break. I watched the other children drink their water and return to the field. I watched my ex go stand beside our child. And then, filtering through my angry haze, I heard the coaches hollering for Tiny to return to the field.
Looking over at my child and his dad, I continued to stand there, and watch.
“Tiny, do you want to play?” he wheedled at our child. “Your team needs you. Are you still taking a break? Do you think you can get up and go on the field again? Don’t you want to go out and rejoin your friends? Come on, son, why don’t you go play with your friends on the field, they’re calling you.”
Pandering. Catering to a child. Refusing to be a strong parent. Refusing to accept responsibility for his actions. I stopped watching then, and started doing what I always do–be a mom.
I marched straight up to my giggling child, who was ignoring his dad while swinging his legs, because I know my child. Given the chance, my child will go deaf because he thinks it’s funny. Which is why my child walks all over his father, all the time–because he can.
Scooping up my tiny human, I looked up at his clueless dad, and let my anger get the better of me, again. “This is the part where you learn how to parent,” I stated. Then I put Tiny Tot on his feet, gave him a push toward the field, and told him in no uncertain manner to go play with his teammates.
Did I want my child to play on a field without shinguards?
But I wanted to prove a point.
I get up, every day. I get my child up, get him dressed, and get him ready for his activities. I make sure that he is prepared, because that’s what parents are supposed to do for their children. I might be an angry shrew of an ex-wife, but I am a mother, and that’s my most important job.