My mother always told me to trust my gut instinct, and there have been times when I trusted it but I denied it thinking “Have some faith, there must be some good in this person.”
Denying it has always proved me a fool. And per a person, I’ve tried not to be a fool more than once … maybe twice.
My mother always told me “Your Grandpa always said that assuming makes and ass out of you and me.” But I still find myself assuming at times. And slowly, but surely, I’m learning that I should trust my instinct and ask instead of assume.
Lately, and often, it’s been assuming along the lines of things with my boyfriend and the boys.
I assumed that they carved pumpkins the way my family did. Every October we’d get pumpkins and my sister and I would scoop out the junk (pumpkin guts) from the insides. Then my dad would carve out the faces and we’d get a couple of minutes to watch with the candles inside. (This is on video every year up until the middle of high school.) I found out this year that the boyfriend does all the dirty work. (I didn’t ask, but I assume the boys either watched or played some where else.) But this year, the boys got to scoop out the pumpkin guts, and they had a grand time doing it. And the boyfriend was glad that he didn’t have to do it.
Other things I assumed was the elementary school knew and had on record that he has sole physical custody of the boys. (One of my greater fears is that I’ll go to pick up one of the boys from school and they won’t be there because they’re mother [Let’s just call her Jane from now on] decided to just pull one of them out, or worse – take off with them.)
We’ll, I had quite a fear installed in me when Older Boy brought home a Parent Conference Sheet with Jane’s name on it. There is no reason, in my mind, why her name should be on it. I consulted with the boyfriend and he had no idea why her name would be on it either. I ended up calling the school to have a chat with the secretary. Turns out when Jane’s mother [we’ll call her Janice] registered the boys, she put Jane’s name down, with her phone number. (For those out of the loop – Jane decided not to have any physical custody of the boys. Pays no child support, takes no responsibility or puts out much effort in raising them, and just had a new baby with her new boyfriend.)
So we changed the information. Luckily, the secretary is compassionate and smart and calls the boyfriend to let him know that they need paperwork on file. So today, the boyfriend will be making copies of custody papers (for the school and for him to carry on himself).
Another thing I assumed was that after the incident where he told Jane that she could have the boys for the weekend (without consulting with me [See “And Then I Exploded] for details) that he would know not to do so. Well, I’ll tell you what, if I had not grown to be a bigger person by now, I would have walked out yesterday.
I had to drive down to Southern California this weekend to pick up some stuff from my storage unit down there. At some point this week (possibly Monday, I can’t remember when) the boyfriend dropped the idea “What if we drop the boys off at Janice’s house on Thursday for a couple of hours?” I kind of looked at him dumb founded. “But we’re carving pumpkins on Thursday, remember?” I answered. “Oh yeah,” he says. And that was that, so I thought.
Yesterday, he drops it again – in front of the boys. The boys, of course, got all excited. How could I be the evil, mean stepmother and say no to that excitement? Instead I kind of stayed quiet and looked at him. He came over:
Me: Did you tell Janice that she could have them, and not consult with me?
BF: *silently looks me in the eyes*
Me: You did, didn’t you.
BF: *more silence*
I am rather proud to say that I controlled the anger that swelled up inside of me. And, as I felt my pillar of trust in him momentarily shake, I held it up and told him that: It’s not ok that he does that.
Me: We’re either in this together or we’re not. And if we’re not then this isn’t going to work.
It would be a lie to say that I didn't feel a bit betrayed ... that my trust in him momentarily wavered like a flag in the wind. But I let it go at some point that evening after I pep talked my way down from being angry.
Now, I assume a lot of things with the boyfriend because I don’t want him to think that I don’t have faith in him. That I think any less of him. But I’m starting to realize that maybe some of the women in my office and my mother were right. Men are essentially jus that, Men. And you have to tell them detailed, exactly what’s going on.
My favorite line is, “I’m not a mind reader, so you’re going to have to tell me what’s wrong.”
Another thing I assumed was that he understood how rather delicate the situation is when it comes to me and Jane. I was rather irritated that Jane had kept some clothes, particularly an outfit I bought Younger Boy. They don’t live there and really, it would be so nice (and convenient) to have more clothes for the boys here. I made mention of it to the boyfriend and asked that he make sure Younger Boy comes back with it. So he says to her: “Would you put Younger Boy in the outfit he came over with last week on Sunday. Crys bought it for him.”
Can I tell you how much I cringed when I heard that last part. “Great” I thought, “That’s surely going to stir the pot.”
Later, after he dropped the boys off at Janice’s, I told him I would really like it if he would refer to “me” as “we” on some occasions. The thought was first installed when the boyfriend’s sister asked how Jane was reacting to me.
Me: She’s been calling for them more often lately.
BFS: Well yeah, she doesn’t want them calling you Mom. She's jealous of you.
I tried to tell myself that it’s because maybe she’s changed. Maybe it’s because she’s on maternity leave. Jane wouldn’t try to make it a competition, would she? I came home from Southern California on Sunday. I had a lot of time to think. And in that time I’d turned my back on my instinct about Jane and convinced myself that she’s not going to be like that. She’s not going to be competitive with me. This is going to be a good relationship.
Well, I got home on Sunday and noticed that the boys had on “obviously just bought, straight from the rack” shirts on. “Hrm” I thought. And after the boys mentioned “Mommy bought me this shirt” it all came painfully, to my stubborn pride, too clear.
I consulted with the boyfriend.
Me: Did she buy them those shirts.
Me: Funny, she buys them nothing new until now.
BF: Is that because what I said to her?
Me: *Nods head* Possibly
BF: And she made sure to send them home in them on Sunday so you could see it?
Me: Every time I give her benefit of the doubt, she always disappoints me. Why does she always have to disappoint me?
Man, was I a fool. A voice of good inside tells me to think “It’s just a coincidence” and another voice inside tells me “Trust your instinct. That Jane is a sneaky, tricky lady. Stay on your toes.”
I’ll tell you what though, I will be trying my best to ask instead of assume from now on. Trying to defuse as many fiery situations before it happens, if I can. I’m not delusional and I know I can’t defuse them all, but I can work on avoiding them from happening if I can, on my side at least.
(They're) All My Children.
6 days ago