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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
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9:55 a.m. - 2012-01-02
New Year, New View

What a lovely vacation. Today is the guys' last day off. Yesterday I had high-minded ideas about getting them up this morning by 8:30 so tomorrow's pre-dawn waking wouldn't be such a rude shock, but to heck with it. If they want to sleep in, okay. They'll be grouchy and out of sorts tomorrow no matter what. Might as well sleep in while they can, eh?

Besides, this is exactly the kind of micro-managing I'm trying to stop doing. Ever the uber-caretaker saving my men from their follies. Whether it's poor food choices, financial foolishness, dressing improperly for the weather, hell, any kind of mess or hardship or mistake I've been there to prevent it. If I can. Always the diplomat about it too, most of the time they don't even know they're being bossed.

And you know why I do it? Oh, I like to say it's because it's my job, that it's simply what a good and loving woman does, and that's partly true. But mostly I do it to save myself the grief. To save myself the snitty phone call from the school because Wolf went to school without socks on. To forestall Mick's furious stomping around when there's more month than money left. To not be caught out by the critics (real and imagined) who'll blame me for my guys' mistakes. Especially the guys themselves. It's insidious- the more I 'help' them the less responsibility they take, and the more blame the guys themselves lay on me when they screw up.

At least that used to be the dynamic. In my previous marriage. In my old life. But Mick is an honest-to-goodness grown person. Able to foresee consequences and deal with them as necessary. He's not a clueless butthead at all. And truly the caretaking goes both ways in our relationship. So I'm trying to uncurl my anxious little fists off the control rod of our life and relax. To stand down from the ingrained wild anxiety of living with a bungling moron for 25 years. A complete idiot who was only too happy to let me do all the thinking and clean up all the messes and like a schmuck accept his scorn and blame for his own ineptitude.

This is why I was so gleeful over the verdict at court the other day. I know I'm not going to see dime one from that shithead and that instead of being a guest in my backyard he's going to be a guest of the county come February. But the verdict, that the LAW said he'd screwed up and that I was in the right, man, it was soooo worth it. Worth wiping out my savings account and hiring a good lawyer. Worth the fret and the fear. Because Mikey the poor innocent put-upon got a bitch slap from reality. He'd still been playing his self-serving 'everything's HER fault' game. Chanting his soothing mantra, telling himself he's a good, good guy and so very put-upon by evil me. Selfish LA. Mean ol' LA. Spoiler of all things. LA the Life Ruiner was alive and well and living inside my ex-husband's head.

It's been over six years since I stopped managing Mike's life. And he's crashed and burned exactly as I knew he would. Walking off cliff after cliff after cliff. Ran his business into the ground. Lives like an animal. Can't feed or groom or even think for himself. Never could. It was me, foolish with love and a whopping sense of misplaced responsibility, that held his dumb ass together for all those years. I try not to play the woulda-coulda-shoulda game and replay the past under different terms, but I have to think about it sometimes. Think about how much grief I could have saved, how much opportunity for growth and success I might have been giving to myself if I'd let him walk off those cliffs of his right from the start. If I'd never rewritten that first term paper. If I'd let him gag and faint through his zoology dissections instead of doing them for him while he futzed around in the corner of the lab making paper airplanes. If I hadn't pushed the VW out the many mud holes he sank it into, pushed and got splattered with muck from the spinning wheels while he revved the engine and steered. If only I had known I was allowed to take care of myself as well and with as much vigor and effort as I took care of him, and that maybe someone would have come along who wanted to take care of me a little too. If I'd done that instead of signing up for almost three decades of "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" I'd have had a wholly different life.

Sure, prying some money out of that stupid bastard would be nice. It would help. But what really counts was wiping the board clean. Cutting the ex loose from his comforting delusions that he's this fabulous guy who'd been smited with this evil troll of a woman. This horrible bitch who'd stopped him at every turn from the glittering success he just knew he'd be if it weren't for me getting in his way. And that the sorry mess he's made of his life since I stopped 'ruining' everything for him was squarely, firmly and entirely his own goddamn fault.

That verdict was important to me too. I needed it almost as much as the ex did. I needed to prove to myself for once and for all that Mike's spectacular messes and mistakes are not my fault. I am entitled to do for myself and my son. That the distorted view which held sway over my life and my feelings about myself is gone. It's over. I am NOT LA the Life Ruiner. And what's more, I never was.

Boo-yah! ~LA

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