Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"I will change if I must...slow it down, I will adjust" - Adele

I'm hesitant to post never really can tell who reads what. But here goes. I am prepared to get a decent amount of crap for this from any friends who know me and my daughter's birth father and all of the history tied to our relationship. Maybe I deserve it, maybe I don't, but I can't always worry about what others think of me. Yes, I know that my friends are only looking out for me and my heart and I am more than grateful for that - but sometimes people assume the worst when I simply say, "he texted me today," or something along those lines. It's automatically assumed that he's trying to get me back and that I'm tied right around his little finger again (and it's assumed within completely good reason, I have to admit), but it's not always the case.
This morning, for example, it was not the case. 3 weeks and 3 days...we made it 3 weeks and 3 days without speaking. It could be worse, but it could be a lot better, too. I'll start from the beginning. I sent him a text last night, telling him not to open any emails he got from my old email account, because it had been hacked and I saw about 90 emails in the outbox - it emailed every single person I ever sent an email to on that account, whether they were in my address book or not. I went back and forth on whether or not I should tell him, but then decided it would just be cruel if I didn't. He is very computer-illiterate and he's lucky he even knows how to check his email. So I knew he would open it without even realizing that it was a virus. He called back this morning, and I didn't answer. He left a message saying he appreciated me telling him but wanted me to call him back to tell him what the subject line of the email said (???), and to ask me something about our daughter's upcoming birthday. Again, I went back and forth and finally decided to call him back. He asked how I was and we went through all of the formalities (which in and of itself was a little sad for me, because our conversations used to be so much more natural), and I asked him if he wanted to see what I'd gotten for Arianna for her birthday. I told him I'd email him pictures if he wanted, because I thought it was best that we not meet up. He said that, yes, he would love to see what I got for her and asked what it was. I explained it to him, and composed myself, but somewhere along the way, I broke down into tears. (Like I've said before, I rarely talk specifically about her, and when I do, I try to detach my emotions. When it comes to him, though, he's someone who went through it with me and saw me at my worst and darkest moments. So I don't hold much back when we do talk, especially when we talk about our daughter). He said something then, like "I know you want to give her everything you can. I know you'd give her the world if you could," which only set me off crying even more. I didn't say much after that (it was only a 9 minute conversation, all-in-all, anyways) and I made it a point to not ask if or when he was going to have the gift he said he wanted to get ready to be sent to her. He had mentioned it to me a while back, and said he would call me in October to figure out how to get it to her. After a minute or so, he asked when I was sending the gifts to her. I told him that I wasn't sure, but definitely sometime during the last week in October, and definitely before Halloween. I know she won't know that they got there in time for or on her actual birthday, but it's something that matters to me. After I answered him, he said "ohhhhh...okay. Well if it's okay with you I'm gonna call you before then - so probably within the next two weeks or so. Did you or are you going to get a card for her?" I told him that I hadn't yet, but planned to. Honestly, I didn't know how to handle it....I don't know how to handle it. I always thought of he and I as a unit - "her biological/birth parents," and only recently have I realized that it doesn't have to be that way (it isn't that way). I guess, in the back of my mind, I've thought that (from her perspective) it would be nice if we did 'joint' things for her, but at the same time I've also recently acknowledged that his actions are not my responsibility. Part of me wants to just do my own thing (which I've been doing) and let him worry about his own thing. That's why I wasn't sure if I wanted to share with him what I bought for her. It's between she and I and her family - not him. I went out, did what I wanted to do, bought what I wanted to buy and will send it when I want to send it. Right? But then there's the softer side of me that says, 'okay, if he wants to reach out and he wants to buy her a gift for her birthday, I figured I could try to include him by sharing what I've gotten for her, and by helping him get it to her.' I guess that's Miss Nice showing her face again (who knew I had any Nice left in me? hahaha). Anyways. I think the last thing that I said to him was this: "I don't know how I'm supposed to handle this, especially with it being the first year. Her first birthday. I've done what I wanted to do, in respect to her birthday, so it's up to you to do what you want to do for her, if anything. I will be here to help you by getting it to her for you if you want, because this isn't about you and I, it's about her." He agreed and said we'd talk later. It was an okay conversation, and I think I ended it well. I let him know that I am not waiting around for him to step up and want to be more involved, and that I am doing just fine on my own when it comes to our little girl...while also trying to be the bigger person and tell him that I am willing to help, but making it clear that it's only because it's also 'helping' her.
As I've said, I know I will probably get a ration of crap for being so nice to him after all of the BS we have been through. But what needs to be said is this - that conversation right there, was actually me holding my ground, for once. It's sad to admit and I am not proud of it, but the old me would have been offering to go shopping with him, offering to help him pay for it, or just downright going and buying something myself and saying it was from him. I don't need to justify my interactions with him, but I did take a giant step back from my "old self" today.
What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that I do not want to be on bad terms with him, I really don't. I was (am) hurt by him, I was (am) angry with him, and I was (am) very vulnerable when it comes to him, which is why I need to really keep my guard up. A simple friendship between us would be far too much for us to handle right now (and maybe ever). Another thing a lot of people don't get is, just because we chose adoption for our daughter and she is not physically 'in our lives,' a relationship still exists between us because of her, whether we are in a relationship, friends, or not even speaking to one another. That tie is still there, it did not go away when she went to live with her family. She did not take that with her and leave nothing but an empty space in it's place. Is it actively there every single day, the way it would be if we parented her and we had to talk on the phone every weekend to arrange pick-up and drop-off times? No, it isn't, but it is still there. Even during the times that I was the most hurt by him after she was born, there was still a spot in my heart for him. It may be tucked away into a small corner, but it's there. Most people want me to forget about him, never speak to him again, and let him go through the agency if he wants to, because he's a big boy. They think I should hate him. I agree completely with all of the above, but it's hard to explain to someone who hasn't had a child, and maybe even moreso to someone who has never gone through the adoption process with the father of said child. I don't mean to put myself on a pedestal or act as if "I know something you don't know, nana-na-na-nana!," but it's easy to imagine the love you'll feel for your child until you have that child, and you realize that your ruminations about it didn't even begin to break the iceberg. Because of my child, I love him. It's easy to tell me to look past that, and realize that it's her that I love and not him...but he made her possible. And to top it off, the hardest and most emotional moments of my life were spent with him, shared with him and shared by him, too. I will never deny the bond that exists between us for all of those reasons, but I will also never deny the fact that he is no good for me.
So, that's the long-winded version of why I am apprehensive to post this. People are quick to judge why I'm even giving him the time of day, and I suppose that's because they only hear my side of the story. They only see me crying and hear me hurting, and therefore only want to hurt him for me. But I'm not perfect. I've done things wrong in the past and if he and I could go back in time and change anything, there's a lot that we would change. I learned a lot from him and our relationship, though, and I will never regret being with him because regretting that would be like regretting my daughter, and that couldn't be further from the truth.
I've asked myself a few times where I see our interactions with one another in five years. Will we not speak at all? Only speak when we get updates from her parents? I have no idea. I don't believe that we will ever fully lose touch, because no matter what he's done in his past or said to me to hurt me, I know he loves that little girl and it would kill him to be completely out of the loop. Ideally, I would like to consider myself, by age 28, to be mature enough to speak to him on a need-to-know basis and consider ourselves 'friends,' in a way, when it comes to our child. I don't mean I want us going out to dinner or calling just to say hi, I just mean I hope we can reach a point where we have a civil relationship and can talk about our love for the photos and the one thing we will always have in common - our daughter. Call me crazy, but there it is in black and white - that is what I want. We are not ready for that right now, though. It's still too fresh and too raw; and still so blatantly obvious that I am still hurting over what happened between us (not just regarding the baby, but our relationship as a whole) and that he seems to have moved on. I resent him for a lot of things and still blame him for a lot of things, right or wrong. And my feelings for him are still too deep, and still teeter a little too close to the edge of 'romantic.' I may still be easily swayed, although deep down I know what I need and what's best for me.
One day, I do hope to be able to think of him without wanting to bash my head (or his) into a wall. I'm working on it. I believe that, if I look past the 3+ years I spent with him and really, truly get over him, we can have a decent "birth parent" relationship with each other. Enter cliche: only time will tell what will happen.
I promise, here and now, to myself, that I will not contact him again though (regarding her birthday), or anything else for that matter. Let's see if he steps up to the plate and calls me within a reasonable amount of time and asks me to send his gifts to her. If he doesn't, I need to remember that it's his loss, not mine, and that I only have to own up to my own actions. I do not have to explain his actions to anybody. He now knows when I plan to mail them and knows what he needs to do. It's in his hands now. I need to drop my 'control-freak' nature and let him do what he will do. And if her birthday goes by with no word from him - then fine, so be it. Again, that's in his hands, not mine. I will silently act as if it never happened (and by silently, I mean I will more than likely rant and rave to the online community). I will sleep well at night, knowing that I took full advantage of every opportunity I was given to stay as close as possible with my daughter. Is that selfish?

I heard this song today on the radio in some random store, shortly after I spoke with him. I know it's about death (or at least that's how I interpret it) but still, it fit...

"I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do, And it's so hard to say goodbye when it comes to this..."

In other, non-birth-father-related news, I stumbled across an envelope from the agency yesterday. (By stumbled across, I mean I felt sad, so I sat on my bed and went through her memory box, in which I've stashed away any and everything having to do with her or that she touched). It was a big manilla envelope that was sent back in December of last year, but that I never opened. Inside was about two dozen pictures or so...ones that the adoption counselor took of she and I when she came to meet us at the hospital, and ones that were taken during the interim period when my daughter was at the 'agency foster' home, the home of the woman who took care of babies until the bio mom made her final decision, if she didn't sign immediately upon leaving the hospital but couldn't emotionally handle having the baby live with her until she decided (which I didn't and couldn't. If she came home with me, I would have never let her go). I didn't even cry when I looked at them, which I considered to be a big step. It was hard, though, because all of the pictures were dated. I kept thinking, "this is what my baby was doing on this day, and this day, while I was home crying and agonizing over knowing that the right thing to do was going to be the thing that killed me."

I want to share just one of the pictures. She was six days old in this picture, and her eyes were still a grey-ish blue. I can't begin to explain how much I adore her :) 


  1. Cute pic! I think you did the right thing when it comes to your ex. I know how hard it must be to have to deal with him at all, but like you said, there's still a connection in there. Whether he admits it or not, there's an Arianna-sized hole in his heart too. And hopefully he'll step up, because it's important for Arianna to know as she grows that even though her biological mother & father aren't together anymore and may not have a relationship that they BOTH still love her.

  2. Thank you, thank you. It always helps to have a little reassurance :)