There have been a couple of different people and situations recently that have had me thinking of my ex. Not missing him or anything like that. But I have one friend who is in the midst of figuring out her marriage and whether it's worth staying (personally, I think no, but it's not me or my life, so...), and D is making changes to his life, and doing something he's been told he could never do for a very ridiculous reason(the reason he was given was ridiculous, not the fact that he's doing it. In fact, I'm very proud and excited that he's doing it).
I have always maintained that I would never badmouth my ex to C & J. Regardless of how I feel about him, unless and until D (or someone else...but I think I'm pretty much done. I think D's it for me) adopts them, SD is still their father. He may have treated me like absolute crap, and he may completely ignore their existence on this earth, but he is still their father. And I am always very careful to watch what I say about him when they are around. As they get older, there are certain facts about him that they will be told, facts that are very unpleasant but nonetheless true and they need to know. Those facts are not badmouthing him, they are a simple statement of fact. I don't play him up as a good guy, either, because that's not really true either. IF the kids ask, and that's a big IF, I simply answer their questions with facts whenever possible, and if I can't answer with fact, then I am careful to answer as neutrally as possible, so as to not make him sound better than he is or to badmouth him and press my feelings toward him on them.
But, my friend asked me the other day if I've ever regretted leaving him. The answer to that question is a resounding no. I NEVER once regretted that decision, I never once looked back and questioned it in any way. By the time I ended things, our relationship had deteriorated to the point that there was no relationship left to regret or even to try to salvage. We were two people who just happened to share a house and a bed and combined DNA in the form of one child and another on the way. There was nothing left to regret.
I'm not going to get into D's situation, simply because it's very personal, and I don't feel I have the right to tell the world. But between listening to him about his situation and my friend's next question, which was if I have any good memories at all of SD, I began thinking about SD and this memory is what comes to mind. In fact, I think of this every time I hear this song.
I don't remember exactly when this happened. I think it was before we got married, but it may have been after. It's very vague, probably because for the most part, I've gone out of my way to block a lot of the memories of my marriage. I can't recall if I was pregnant with C or if he was in the car with us.
But anyway...SD and I were in the car (the only car we had at the time, and one that only ran sporadically, leaving me at least terrified that we were going to be stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and we couldn't even afford a cell phone. We were going to visit his parents, two people who quite possibly hated me more than I grew to hate their son.
Uncle Kracker was one of SD's favorite artists at the time. The song "Follow Me" was getting quite a bit of airplay at this time and it was a particular favorite of SD's. It came on while we were stopped at a long red light. He started singing to me, waving his hand in front of me when it got to the part about "swimming through your veins like a fish in the sea". When he was done (he only sang part of it), he kissed me, a very sweet kiss. Part of what makes that such a good memory is the fact that it was such an ordinary thing - couples all over do this. My dad does this to my mom on occasion, I have watched some of my friends husbands do this, too. It was so ordinary, so normal and natural, not forced. Part of it, too, is that in that moment, it really felt like we were together. His parents couldn't stand me, but he (I thought) loved me and was on my side.
Now, yes, I am well aware that the lyrics of that song really could be interpreted as being about cheating. I am also well aware that at the time this happened, in all likelihood, he was cheating on me, had cheated on me, or was planning to cheat on me, or quite possibly all three.
But, I still choose to ignore all of that and keep that as one good memory. There are others, of course, because we did occasionally actually get along rather well. Unfortunately, the majority of them are tainted, by the lying, cheating, fighting, ignoring, or any of the other countless things he did. For example, the roses.
Again, I don't remember exactly when this was, I just know it was sometime between when C was born and I got pregnant with J. He was working full time, possibly even two jobs (it was rare, but he did occasionally), so that I could stay at home with C. One day, he came home from work with two dozen of the most beautiful purple roses. I have a tattoo which has a purple rose in it, so he knew I liked them. I was totally blown away by the generosity, the thought that I thought he'd put into it, and I even took pictures of the roses, so that even after they died, I'd still have them. Shortly afterward, it came out that he'd been cheating on me (again) and that he'd bought the roses out of guilt. Which is why I now associate roses with doing something wrong. If D brought me roses, my response would not be "Oh, babe, they're beautiful!" but instead "What the hell did you do and am I going to kill you or is my dad?" So, D, if you read this, remember...no roses. Any other flower is fine, but not roses. :)
So why do I choose to remember him singing to me as a good memory even though I could think of reasons not to? Well, it's really pretty simple. Some day, C & J may come to me and ask me if there were ever any good times between SD and I. By not tarnishing this memory with all the reasons why it shouldn't be a good one, I can honestly tell them yes, and have one memory to share with them. One that I won't feel the urge to add, "But he was (cheating, lying, whatever) so it really wasn't all the great" when I tell them about it.
So, that's my one really good memory of my ex. And the fact that it's really the only one should show exactly why I chose to end things. In the short time that D and I have been together, I have already gathered countless good memories of him: the first time we talked by e-mail, the first talk on instant messenger, first time on the phone, first time I saw him, our first kiss (and second, and third, and the fiftieth...yeah, I really like kissing him). The first time he told me he loved me is a very special memory. The first time he met my kids. Several of our phone conversations are favorite memories because of something discussed during them. If D & I broke up, and my friend asked me the same question about our relationship, my answer would have to be yes, I would very much regret it. Whether it was his decision or mine, I would be devastated and I would definitely regret it. I'm sure eventually I would move on, but it would not be the way I did when SD and I ended.
Ok, so that's all I have to say right now. Now, I'm off to support those I care about in figuring out their lives. And to tell my kids that I love them and they can do anything they want in life.