The late Fall and early Winter quickly passed, somewhat uneventful. In late December, a new position in the company was brought to Girl’s attention by her manager. It would be perfect for her because of her operational strength, her coaching ability and her training skills. It would be temporary to see if the project would fly and Girl would need to spend more time in the Home Office which was 3 hours away. Girl talked to the children about it, explaining that she would most likely see more of them because she would not be working weekends. When she spoke about the new position with Zip, he was very happy for her. This could be a step in a new direction. Girl also had the daunting task of explaining this new role to Boy. He did not understand it very much, just wanted to be sure that Girl would still be paying child support. Girl explained that while this is currently a 12 month project, yes Boy would still get the same amount of child support. Girl also explained that if the role becomes permanent her salary and bonus structure would change and he would need to be prepared for a change in the amount of support paid, as the law states. Boy was not happy with that prospect.
Boy was always fixated on money. With his father having it so he could, when his father went bankrupt, everything was a scheme to make him money. When Girl earned more than he did, it was a self-esteem problem created for him. When Girl changed jobs, boy would only focus on the bank account, not giving any credit to the fact the Girl had completely furnished the children with complete new sets of clothes, shoes and toys for her home.
Earlier that summer, Boy had taken a two-year contract role at a local golf and country club. He would be the chef. He of course, found a job for Lilith at the same place. Rumour has it that Boy left his little bistro job to take on this role. Lilith was fired for drinking on the job. No wonder Boy needs to hire her wherever he goes. That same Fall, Boy asked Girl if it would be possible if MammaMia took the boys for an extended period of time so that he could take a vacation. Girl informed Boy that he would need to speak to MammaMia about it because she would need to verify her schedule. Boy did so. Boy and Lilith left for vacation in Las Vegas. Of course, as you can quite plainly see, they came back married. The marriage did not bother Girl, in fact, it was good that Boy was now settling into a permanent relationship. What disappointed Girl was the fact that Boy had not even told the children what he was doing, only informing them when he and Lilith came back.
Secrets- Boy hated them and always wondered about them in a very paranoid way. Funny how he liked to keep them!
There was really no end to the tunnel in which Zip and Girl’s realtionship was rolling. There seemed to be a light, but it was more of a moving target. Zip kept requesting patience and that eventually they would be together soon. Later that Fall, Girl moved to the location that Zip had vacated in the Spring. The person that was running the operation was incompetent and needed to be removed from there. Girl did not want to go back and had to be convinced by various people in the Home Office that this move was necessary and her strengths in operations could turn the department around. Girl did not want to go back to a department that she had left years ago. There were many of the same people there and she would be retracing her steps – not something Girl was very fond of. Her only consolation was that it was much closer to where she lived and would take less gas and travel time, she could see the boys more often, and her pay would increase because of the volume of her department. Girl explained to the team once she arrived, that she was there to fix the problems and once done and verified, she would be moving onto a new assignment. Girl was not sure what this was, but she wanted to be upfront about her plans to manage the team’s expectations of the future.
At the same time, Zip had been promoted to a role that would have him travelling across the country, while having to spend time each week in the Home Office, three hours away from Girl. This started to put the relationship back into serious-mode, they could see each other every weekend with Bubba and Peanut!
Ferdinand the Bull and a bunch of other books were reminders for Girl. Mercer Mayer books, I Love You this Much, Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things are were left behind. When Girl moved out of the marital home, she took with her the only the bare necessities – her clothes, the silverware her grandmother gave her for her wedding shower, some pictures of the kids and that was about all. Girl had purchased new furniture and other supplies for the house. She had to buy some new toys for the kids to have at the condo.
Due to the emotional turmoil, and not knowing any better, she missed a lot of things – the tiara her mom made her for her wedding, the boys books, some of their (kids & Girl’s) favourite stories, photo albums, pictures from the walls. Girl didn’t/couldn’t think at the time. If she was to do it again, she would be very methodical about going through each room. Girl was also very angry about the circumstances of the divorce and she just wanted to get out of there and leave behind all traces of Boy. It ended up costing a lot later – financially and in missing the mementos that were left behind and never given over to her, most likely destroyed, including the wedding photo album that cost $4500.
Zip went into a lead role in his new region. Although he was not the region leader, he was senior in position and operating the biggest unit. His Regional Manager left him responsible when he was on vacation. This particular summer, Girl had been fortunate enough to arrange for a trip to Florida, just outside of the WestGate at Disney World for Peanut, Bubba, herself and Zip. Zip booked the time off, and all the plans were almost complete when Zip’s Regional Manager decided to institute a new rule – if the Regional Manager was on vacation, then no other unit manager could be, meaning that Zip could not go. Girl was again very upset. Girl knew the vacation policies, and they applied to all employees in the organization no matter what level. Zip would not stand up to the Regional Manager on this point, would not even argue with him about it, just said he could not go. Girl was heartbroken. Girl was looking forward to the time with Zip and the boys together and the happiest place on earth! Girl started to wonder about the commitment. Although the ‘L’ word was used a lot, the actions did not seem to prove very true. Walking the talk was always a principle that Girl felt denoted integrity and strength, courage and honesty. Girl had a tough time dealing with this. Girl and the kids went anyway, took lots of pictures, rode the rides and had a superb bonding experience. Zip promised that one day they would all take a vacation together. Girl could only hope.
Push did come to shove that Spring and Zip found a new location in his old hometown, 2000 miles away. He moved there because that was what he said he wanted to do 5 years earlier when he got to the job. Girl was very sad. Lonely too. Girl could not understand the decision. Girl could not decide if Zip was stubborn or if she was being selfish by thinking he was stubborn. All Girl knew was that without him there, she needed to develop her skill for keeping busy, meeting new people.
Girl found many ways to occupy her time. Of course, work took up a lot of time. Girl was able to spend more time with Bubba and Peanut. Bubba played soccer, so it was fun to get out and watch him play. Peanut was also signed up, although his form of play was more like ‘picking daisies’ similar to Ferdinand the Bull. This type of soccer play actually prompted the purchase of the book so that Girl could share one of her favourite stories with the boys.
Girl and her relationship with Zip began to take a more active role in her life and that of the family. Zip even attended a family milestone birthday party and was introduced to cousins and other relatives. At the same time, his role in his department was ending and he would soon be transferring to a new location. It had always been his goal, to move back across the country when he was done his job in the city. There was no wavering, no convincing that this would be taking a step away from the relationship so that he can check something off of a list. He could change his mind, revisit and revise his priorities. Zip was very stubborn and set in his ways. His move would test the relationship to it’s near end.So WHY did Girl always get involved with this type of individual? Because she liked the fact that he had a plan. Zip came to realize that although his plan was old, he could have revised it…..he would have had to face a few issues in changing his course -easier said than done. Now by fulfilling what he said he would do, he would be free to take other steps. Girl knew a lifetime of work would be needed to help him assess and re-assess….and it may even work!
New Year’s Eve was usually spent with Bubba and Peanut – so the beautiful photo of ritzy parties and celebrations really only took place in Girl’s head until 6 or 7 years later. Girl once had her brother and his wife over to share pizza and watch movies. Once Girl and the kids ordered takeout and watched wrestling (both very into WWE). Girl always planned to take the boys to the skating rink across from her condo – every time she suggested it, they would refuse, citing it was too cold! They would rather stay cozy all together on the couch. Oh well, that was always fun too. (Try to get them to do it now!!! At 19 and 14 – good luck!)
The New Year always brought out planning and goal-setting thoughts for Girl – mostly for herself, and eventually for the kids too. It is a perfect time to take stock – where was Girl last year at this time? Is Girl in a better or worse position financially, mentally, physically, in her relationships? Difficult questions to answer but certainly a good habit that has continued to serve her well.
So where was Girl?
- financially, ok, still had debts, still paying child support, but still able to support herself and the children
- mentally, moving forward, getting past anger from the past, developing self-confidence in her business acumen and letting go of the feeling of rejection from the divorce, moving past always feeling like the worst mom in the world because Girl could not provide the life she had originally set out to for the family.
-relationships, trying to build a relationship with Boy that would serve the children well. Girl was stepping back into relationship with her family, having kept away from them throughout the divorce (not sure yet if it was embarrassment or fear of disappointment). Getting moving in her relationship with Zip, but still not sure where it was headed. Sad about not having a coffee-friend or girlfriend to chat with, go to movies with but at the same time not knowing what that was ever like except for during high school and university, Girl was always too tied to work and family to have room for that person in her day.
- physically – seemed ok – good body shape, didn’t work out because Girl walked a lot at work and ate little…no time.
Does anyone else do this? Plan and review goals annually? Girl still does this, now with quarterly check ins. The hard part is that the progress can be disappointing and sometimes your plans are completely derailed…but that’s life. Keep moving forward.
The second Christmas was not much better than the first. Although Girl and Boy had a discussion about what each was buying for the children, there still turned out to be duplicate items. Frustrating for a mom who prides herself on listening to her children and seeking out special things. Girl discussed with Bubba and Peanut that from now on they should make 2 lists with different items so that each family can choose something different. (Sure Christmas Lists are probably not the greatest habit for kids, spoiling them quickly, but at least it was a solution to the problem). Girl spent Christmas Eve at her condo alone, relaxing with a glass of wine and watching a movie. On Christmas morning Zip stopped in for Christmas coffee before Girl went to pick up the boys up. Girl and the children went back to the condo for their Santa gifts and later to MammaMia’s for Christmas lunch. They took their now annual Christmas photo together. It was a nice day. Again – a short one, because with Girl’s work, she needed to be there much earlier to get set up for a huge sale day. Things were finally getting into a routine at work too. Girl was excelling at her role, developing her team and becoming a training location for the region.
Girl began to think about the future and her career. What else could she do? How could she apply her skills and continue to grow? Was the money she was earning worth the time she had to invest? Some weeks, if she thought about it, her hourly wage was about the same as she was making in her first department store job. Where did Zip fit, if at all? What would she do if she changed jobs? Lots of questions – who knew that life could be so complicated?
The boys birthdays, in the same month, rolled around – somewhat awkward but at the same time fun because it was the first time that Girl could remember where they were all happy and celebrating with MammaMia and Nonno, and our extended family. The boys were spoiled even though they had to trek back and forth from one house to another. Girl could order the cake she wanted for the boys, the gifts she liked without any interference from Boy. MammaMia took care to celebrate Girl’s birthday with the kids – making sure she made a special dinner and had a gift from the kids for Girl. It was very sweet and in fact, there is always a birthday dinner at MammaMia’s every year to this day!
Girl remembers Bubba’s first birthday when the three lived across the country. There was only the three of them together at the time – Girl, Boy and Bubba. Well, Girl spent all day baking a cake in the shape of the Number 1 – and then she covered it with Smarties – Bubba’s favourite at the time. The little family of three was going to have a nice supper and then blow out the candle on the cake. Boy had to work – he had a part-time job at a restaurant at the time. Boy said he would be home for supper and then they could celebrate. By the time 7 pm rolled around, without a word from Boy, Girl decided she needed to feed Bubba dinner. By the time 8 pm rolled around, Girl and Bubba blew out the candle on his cake and shared a piece before he had to go to bed. Girl was not happy! Boy showed up around 9 pm – no call, no explanation, just asking where his “little man” was and surprised that he had already been put to bed. Girl should have seen it all coming!