Yesterday was really fucking rough. Not gonna lie. It was probably one of the hardest days I’ve been through in the past couple of months after I reached some level of stability. I picked the kids up Thursday for the first time in a couple of weeks due to scheduling and miscommunication. We had dinner and settled in, everyone was a little uneasy and probably hurt a bit because of a lack of communication. My daughter has a device that I can send her messages on and she forgot to check them so she probably thought I wasn’t communicating with her. When we got to our place and she checked them, she felt better about things and we settled in for the night.
Friday was another pretty decent day, stress at work but other than that I made it out. I picked up an unexpected race for Saturday and the more information I got about it, the more uneasy I felt. I had originally planned to bring the kids out and let them see what I do when I’m timing but they didn’t want to make the trek and my dad was willing to come over early and crash on the couch so they could sleep in their own beds rather than have an unexpected sleepover. We got home and got ready for dinner only to find out the burgers in the freezer were bad and my dad was planning to come over, he was kind enough to stop at the store and save the day. We walked over to Golden Boy for a hot chocolate/cookie/nightcap and ran into Autumn and Sarah and they were both so great with the kids and everything was great. We got back to the house and settled in, I got things packed and ready to go.
My dad rolled in early, I took off and headed to Rockwall for the race. It was all fine until I got on-site and immediately the RD was on my case, she kept saying she was worried and that I was making her nervous for some reason. The main reason I was struggling at this event was that the boxes I was working with at the start line (an unexpected complication) were not mine and I wasn’t familiar with any quirks. I got them on and tried to connect them and they wouldn’t go. I tried again. I called Kyle and tried again. I talked to the guy Kyle picked the race up from and tried again. Finally, it got to the point where I needed to go and set up the finish and I went to get in my car and the battery was dead. I asked the RD for a jump, I had cables of course, and was on my way. The battery was dead because I had spent so much time at the start for what I thought I was going to be a five minute connect and go. I zoomed over to the finish, set up in 15 minutes and headed back to the start to try and sort things out. They were starting late and I got there just in time to reconnect using my usual equipment and things went off fine until the primary box started to freak out on me. Classic “turn it off, turn it back on” and things were ok after that…until the results didn’t come in.
I am used to dealing with challenging situations but I am not used to being treated like an incompetent. So I’m dealing with this situation and I get a “your daughter thinks she’s alone in the house” text from her mother. So I’m dealing with that, dealing with the race and trying to keep things civil and not turning into a raging fire. I told my ex she was totally valid in being angry about the situation, that I wasn’t happy with the amount of communication about the kids (she wasn’t either) and then the question of “do you really want to do this?” RD coming up to my car right as the “do you want to fix this” question comes out. Onsite, I don’t have any control over the server, I don’t know how to access it and all I can do is talk to my guy. I was onsite under the pretense that I WAS the timer, and I am the ONSITE timer. All scoring happens off-site. So I’m sitting there with no way to fix any of these issues, personal or professional, and my kids are worried and unhappy and I’m unhappy and stressed and emotionally ambushed and at a loss.
I told my ex I would call her on the way back to town, I told the RD I had done everything I could on my end and I understood her frustration but this kind of thing doesn’t happen (“Oh, it does, I’m living it right now!!”) and my boss that I needed to get back to my kids. I was driving back and had a “You are right, my priorities are out of wack and while I don’t think anyone WANTS this kind of thing it is necessary for my personal, physical and emotional health” conversation with my ex. I got a message to go pick up a thumb drive and head to another location to try and manually pull the data off the box that had malfunctioned, I was pulled over in a gas station trying to get fuel and my debit card was giving me fraud alerts and then finally I was told not to worry about the trip down to Dallas because at that point it would just make things worse.
I called my dad back and said I would be able to make it to lunch and made it back to Denton. My daughter was upset because the restaurant they were at had fried seafood that was fried in the same oil as everything else so she couldn’t really eat much (she did get a chicken sandwich and fruit), my son was bouncing around from too much candy and I was totally fried. We got home, sorted things out and after some quiet time, we made dinner (sandwiches and a quinoa bowl for me) and spent some quiet time together. We played music together and then went to see some friends play at Armadillo, the kids played cards with some people and I got a chance to sit and see them be happy. They had a blast.
I got up this morning and made sourdough waffles, sat with my son while he played a game on my computer and then talked to my kids about how I was going to call them every night before bed so that we could touch base. Because of how busy they are now, I don’t know when the right time to call is but I think we’ve got that sorted.
Something my ex said, that I don’t think is true, is that I’m just like my dad in that I drag my kids around to whatever I’m doing and don’t worry about them being happy, just with me. She was angry and probably just trying to be as honest as possible but it came out as petty and hurtful. My kids are the most important thing and the things I do, I want them to be a part of. It was really good that they weren’t with me at that event, it was shitty and it turned out that the malfunction was in the equipment provided by the RD, not my issue, and there wasn’t anything I could have done to make things better onsite. I do have great RDs I work for that are more than happy for me to have my family with me when I’m on-site and I will still take my kids with me when I can and not take the jobs that I can’t.
I also have to remember that I have boundaries in place and when they are violated, it’s ok to feel hurt and ambushed and still have a point of growth from that violation. I’ve been following this psychologist on IG who posted something this morning that really made sense to me. She said:
“Setting boundaries will bring up a lot for us emotionally. Especially when setting them with family. The way our family responds to boundaries is a big indicator of what we’ve been taught about boundaries. This is our mirror.
I preach about being misunderstood for a reason. It is the path to living an authentic life. You will be misunderstood when you place boundaries. Wounded people will tell you you’re selfish, rude, or you’ve changed. This will bring up panic. That fear causes most people to go back to the unconscious patterning and allow boundaries to be blurred.”
I’m proud to say that I didn’t allow my boundaries to be blurred. That through the discomfort and emotional pain of yesterday I didn’t fold back into old patterns and I was able to find a way to communicate through that emotional discomfort that this isn’t something I want but something I need. My kids need functional, happy, parents and co-parenting is hard but with communication and an open heart, I believe it can be done to the benefit of everyone. I’m still healing, my ex is still healing and my kids are playing and happy in the next room and they are still healing too. But we had sourdough waffles and I’m happy to report that they have gotten better and so will we.
Fuck the noise and just breathe.