Putting on our Big Girl Pants

Let me begin this post with a true statement about myself: I hate drama! Well I guess I should clarify, I love watching it on TV and soak up shows just dripping with drama left and right. But when it comes to my own life….I prefer the least amount of drama available, which ideally would be none. I keep a good distance between myself and any super dramatic people I know….sometimes by “hiding” their Facebook posts from view when you have already tried to quietly “unfriend” them and they figured it out and friended you again….whoa not sure where that little rant came from. That isn’t even what I was getting at.
Because I like drama so little I have been reluctant to post about one specific part of my life, my Dad and his girlfriend okay okay fiance. Now I know what you are thinking (or at least what you will be thinking once I tell you), you are thinking “Natalie is some territorial little jealous daughter who can’t move past the death of her mother and accept that her father wants a new life”. But this is only partially true really. And here’s why. 
Here’s a quick rundown for those of you who may be mildly interested in my drama and I am going to make it an abbreviated bullet-point type of story because I like drama so little I don’t wanna waste much time on it. I just wanna tell you, tell you what is going on now, and then get some advice from ya.

  • Mom and Dad happily married for many many years (Natalie’s Perspective)
  • In reality, it seems a rift had developed between Dad and Mom, most likely a result of Mom pursuing a bachelors and masters degree and focusing on her career (Note to Natalie, must always be cognoscente of such things in your own marriage). Dad felt left behind perhaps (I am trying to keep this as non-judgy as possible, but you will undoubtedly see the judginess dripping out of me).
  • Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, underwent stem cell transplant, recovered spent a year hunky-dory and cancer free.
  • During said “cancer free” time we come to realize Dad has been having an affair with a co-worker, who was also married.
  • I don’t wanna really go into the details, because again, hate the drama, but I was pretty mad for a really long time. Not just because he had an affair but because of the timing of the situation. It has been over 7 years now and I am still working through the anger towards him.
  • Mom decides she doesn’t want to leave Dad, she has a recurrence, undergoes more treatment, during which time Dad semi-redeems himself by being the supporting husband that he should have been the first go-round. We all start to heal from the situation.
  • Mom loses battle after several years of fighting. (For timeline purposes, because I am a sucker for a timeline, this was right before I graduated from my undergrad).
  • We all spent a couple years learning to deal with life without Mom.
  • I arrive at the point where I feel it would be good if Dad found someone new and though talks between Dad and me were somewhat cryptic I was pretty sure that is what was happening.
  • We move back to Colorado. Big Butter (brother) Nate says Dad’s GF’s name in a conversation one day (when the affair came out Nate was already living elsewhere so he was pretty disconnected to the whole thing, I on the other hand was far too involved), Natalie spends considerable amount of time in denial, hoping that he has found some other person with said name because he would never be so callous as to be dating this woman again. Ahh that happy land of denial.
  • Dad schedules coffee date to reveal the truth, I am torn from the comfy denial-land and forced to deal with reality. She is divorced and they have been dating for some time now. Fine! I don’t want to see her EVER! If she steps foot near me I will most likely kill her.
  • Thanksgiving 2008: She steps foot near me….I did not kill her. Dad calls to see if it is “okay” for her to come to Thanksgiving at G-ma’s house. Fine! I am not talking to her.
  • Months later: Dad wants to go climbing, she’s coming too. Whatever I can play this game. She says “sorry” for pain she has caused. My will starts crumbling.
  • Spend the next six months or so, trying to assimilate into this strange person who denies their feelings and pretends all is well (i.e. someone who hates drama to a point of causing oneself considerable pain with all the denial)
  • Shit hits fan: Natalie lets anger out, to woman, to Dad, to everyone. I wanted to get the stress and anger out of my life. If this was the reality, she was going to be around me, then I had to let it all out and then figure out how to move past it.
  • After all dirty laundry is out, I started feeling better. Spending time together got a little easier.
  • Christmas this year: they are engaged. Okay not what I was expecting to have to deal with any time soon. I am just starting to deal with the fact that she is his girlfriend. Considering Dad spent a good deal of time trying to tell me I shouldn’t get married ever (A-hole), seems a little hypocritical to be marrying this woman, not to mention extremely ironic. Obviously I am still dealing with the “moving past it” part. Gimme a break!
  • Yesterday: get e-mail from woman asking if we are available October 10th, 2010. She would like Me, Big Butter, Andy, her son, Dad and Her to take a long weekend to hang out and Oh by the way, get married. Oh wait her direct quote was “to make things ‘legal’ :)”. No really she put a smiley face in the e-mail. To top it off she signs it “love, Evil Temptress” at the end. Okay I added the “Temptress” in there. But “Love”? Really?

So there it is, in not so short and not so easily-digestible form. I swear this whole situation is like trying to eat a razor blade, obviously it can be done, but there is no “having an easy time of it”. It is like the universe is out to infringe drama on my life to prove some sort of point. What? That it is somehow inescapable to avoid drama and I have been too successful at it for all these years, so let’s just see to what lengths I will go to avoid it? Is that what is going on here?

Well here’s where I ask for your advice: Would you consider guacamole a breakfast food?

I hope you would because I had guacamole and chips for breakfast, not the healthiest choice mind you, but there really wasn’t an alternative, I am at work, so it was either chips and guacamole or I could squirt honey into my mouth. I was pretty sure the chips and guac would win out in the end so why waste time with the honey….it is sticky after all.

I thought about the e-mail for a day. I didn’t want to say anything right away mainly because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. How would I respond? There were two options. One I could say what I wanted to say: “Go F_ Yourself!” But that would definitely not coincide with the part of me trying to move past this, be a grown up, and keep my family intact (BTW, I am an avid family-girl). So this morning I put on my big girl pants and responded with the following:

“We don’t have anything that weekend, so it should work for us. I will put it in the calendar – Natalie”.

Yep, that was about as much as I could muster as far as big girl pants wearing goes. Her e-mail was definitely what I like to refer to as a “feeler” e-mail. She told us where she was thinking about taking us all, why she loved that area, the stuff we could do while we are there, and the fact that she just wanted it to be us and that they were thinking of having a “house warming” later on to celebrate with friends and family. This, in my opinion, was “feeling” us out to see if we (she sent it to Nate and I) would spring to either get excited or want to get involved in the planning or whether neither of us would want to be there. I guess my response was really formulated to say “okay fine! I will be there because I know not being there might be something I someday regret…like when my dad is on his death bed and says ‘I would have left you millions of dollars, but because you didn’t come to my wedding, no dice’…but I am not at all excited about it. So don’t ask me to be your bridesmaid or anything because I will probably poison you…..oh and I am bringing a gun to the wedding”. Now that I think about it, that is what I should have written back to her. It would have been way more awesome then what I did say.
BUUUTTTT, I figure I have until October to “get used” to this idea and I am sure someone somewhere would consider this an opportunity for me to “grow” and “mature”. Not that I ever had any intention of doing either of those things. Ah C’est la Vie or at least le sucky sucky part of la Vie. Now that I have vented about the drama that refuses to be squashed, I am moving back into the land without drama. Time to call up my guy friends and remind myself why boys are so much easier to be around then girls.

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4 thoughts on “Putting on our Big Girl Pants

  1. Oh, girl I totally understand where you are coming from! You are handling the situation probably about the same as I would. My dad is about to ask his g/f to move in with him (the house we used to live in as a family) and it's eating at me a bit. And to top it off, the g/f's daughter is home on Spring Break this week and staying at the house – not sure why. All I can say is, she will never replace your mom. I hate seeing my dad lonely, so it helps me to think of him having company instead of him getting married again, or being in a relationship. But that doesn't make it any easier that my mom isn't here anymore, and we have to pick up the pieces and move on without her. By the way, your story is strangely similar to mine, and I love the part where she ended the email with "love." Did you feel the knife go in a little deeper??

  2. I think guac is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food. Things change when you move to CO. :)… and yeah, this is definitely a situation where you need to "be the bigger person" or whatever… shitty how your Dad met her, but it's good that he's not lonely anymore and has someone to grow old with.Sorry about your Mom. 😦

  3. Natalie, ((BIG HUG)) (and while I am hugging you I am slipping a small vial of poison to you behind your back, it is untraceable when used on Evil Temptresses, and can easily be utilized with what I call the "death stare", do with it what you will) K, but seriously, that is a "salt on the wound" issue that will probably always hurt some, and that is okay. I went to a retreat last year that was entirely about forgiveness, and much of what I learned there I think is very relevant. I think you are making the right choice by "putting your big girl panties on" for all of the reasons you mentioned. Also, on the forgiveness thing. Feelings like hurt and anger usually affect you more than the person you are feeling them towards. In the long run, these feelings take up valuable mental time and even cause higher levels of damaging chemicals in your body. So, what good are the feelings really doing for you? Forgiveness is simply a way of moving through these feelings, so they don't continue to affect you negatively. It does NOT mean you condone the behaviour, that you forget the offense, or that you will behave towards the offender as if it never happened. It is simply a way of clearing the toxicity of the situation out of your life. Therefore, I hope you will find some measure of foregiveness that will help you to navigate this situation in a way that is healthy for you. Not trying to sound preachy…therefore my first offer of the poison-slipping hug still stands.

  4. Hahaha! Katie, love the poison-slipping hug and the "practical" advice. You are all so right. It is time to move past it all and it definitely causes me more pain then the two of them. So "breathing in the good air, breathing out the bad". I will go to this wedding and "support" my dad. Steph, I am so glad, yet sorry at the same time, that we have so much in common. It would definitely hurt so much more to have her in my mother's house, but it looks like one way or the other you and I will get through this. I guess that is one sweet relief that my dad is moving in with her and he is thinking about renting my mom and his place. But I am definitely ready to go scavange the place to make sure certain things are not moved over there. Oh and I forgot to mention the other sweet relief to the whole situation is that the Evil Temptress is a big dummy. My mom was so smart and wonderful, so when E.T. (hahaha. That is what I will refer to her as from now on) says stupid stuff it makes me smirk and think "pssshaaw my mom was so much better than you". Thanks ladies for your wonderful words of wisdom and support. I definitely needed the perspective adjustment. And I promise to continue to eat guacamole as a breakfast food item.

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