02 November 2017

The One That Got Away

I tried to void this from memory, but it continues to permeate into all of my thoughts when I sit down to write college papers. So, I’ve decided that I’m okay with it and that getting it off my chest is worth the time to get out the story, even though it gets me no college credit.

It was 11 am on a Sunday. The middle of fall. I was home with my four daughters, ages 1, 3, 3, and 5. The sickness started the night before but really intensified once everyone woke up and tried to eat. It was vile. Think of the grossest thing you’ve ever saw a child vomit and then multiply it in volume and grossness by four. One of the few downsides of having a big family is when one kid gets sick….all kids will get sick! I had it under control until I too started to lose my stomach. All five of us have fevers, vomits and lethargy. To this day I still don’t remember a time that we’ve all been sicker. I worry more about the baby than I do myself. Aubree is only one. I don’t dare let her go without keeping food down for long. How will I get everyone out to the doctors? I got to the point where I was throwing towels down wherever the new barf pile landed just to keep track. Then, I ran out of towels. Sheets. I started using bed sheets to contain the gross.
By 1 pm I caved and attempted to call my husband (now ex-husband). I never ask for it but today, I needed help. He left early on his day off and headed to his best friend’s house in the neighboring town. After three separate calls he finally picked up. I explained what the situation was back at home. Angrily, he responded with how I always try to ruin his friend time. I know when it’s Kyle’s time for them to do things and I purposely force him to come home or come up with something else that needs his attention. Why am I not capable of caring for my children?
 “Kyle’s the lucky one and doesn’t have a bitch-ass, nagging wife calling him all the time.”
He hung up on me after telling me, “…you’re their mother. Figure it out.” He didn’t call back. He didn’t come home. I put in calls to my mother and my younger sister. (Which I also never did) But no-one wants to get whatever it is we have. We survive the day on water and Tylenol. I get everyone to bed with whatever blankets aren’t compromised with yuck. I’ve never been so physically or mentally in pain. He comes back with the night at 9pm. I’ve never despised anyone more. I cook, clean, work, pay bills, take care of pets, take care of kids, take out the garbage, make everyone’s appointments, take care of vehicle and house maintenance. It wasn’t the fact that I wanted help. It was that I NEEDED it. And it never came.
Now if this was one circumstance there wouldn’t be much purpose to me complaining about it would there…

With hunting season came more rules and guidelines. I can’t make plans for him during hunting, ice fishing or normal fishing season. Anything that interrupts those 3 things will not happen. Whatever money is in the bank goes to guns, ammo, lures, tree stands, camo, deer pee, more camo. If I don’t give the cash, it goes on a credit card. He will go to work. He will hunt. “Don’t call, don’t text, if you scare a deer away because you’re calling me over something stupid I’m not going to be happy.” He spends most of his time at his parents or with his friends. When I call there to find him or see if he’s even alive when it’s dark out they’ll tell me how lucky I am that he doesn’t have bad habits like drugs and drinking. Hunting is an acceptable addiction. Making me question how he spends his time makes me a bad spouse.
I think it’s important to tell you, so maybe you can tell your other half (male or female) if you think their “hobby time” has become more of an issue than you can openly admit. I know there must be more of you out there, but I don’t think anyone speaks up. Of course it’s totally acceptable in rural upstate to abandon all other responsibilities when a white tail goes by. No-one wants to be “that wife/girlfriend”. When the divorce finally came it was beyond time and necessary. My closest confidants had said it for years. No-one on my side of the family had the right idea though because I spent most of my time covering for him. “Sorry he can’t be here. He’s working late.” Lie after lie to cover up the life and relationship I never really had. People asked how I did it in the beginning with just myself and four kids. It was no big feat when you’ve been pulling all the weight all along. He can show you pictures of record bass and nice size bucks. But how few pictures he has with anyone else in it with him. He kept his gun and fishing gear in his truck. Never car-seats. The littlest daughter has her birthday in the middle of rut. He took the evening off and said it was for her…..after seeing her he went back to the woods with his night off. Maybe I would understand it if every week when I got done work I ran to the mall and did what I wanted until they closed. And then continued to do that for months. But I don’t do anything that often. Besides maybe the gym now, and even then, it’s only an hour and typically not alone.
My point is – if you have a family then enjoy your family. You can’t be a father/mother, husband/wife, if you never show up to be. There was so much more wrong than this but when I see multiple friends on social media going through the same struggle I used to be in it sickens me to not speak up and tell you that I’ve been there and that it sucked. I would hate to offend someone unintentionally. Also, in my case, it never got better. I’m not saying to go “grab the ole’ ball and chain” or however that crap sexist saying goes, because everyone deserves their alone time. Just make sure it’s reasonable. If you can’t remember the last time you ate dinner with your wife or read the kids a bedtime story maybe, it’s time to go home and let that one deer, turkey, fish, get away. With prioritizing poorly, you’ll end up being the partner living the single life again. And if you ask the majority of people that are living the life with no significant other and no kids, they would tell you that they’d choose having someone to spend their time with over spending it any other way…..
The man running out of his home daily has no idea the things he’s leaving behind.
You’re teaching them how to live without you.

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