I did not have to go anywhere. But I did. I was not sure if his father had taken care of sending a book for Sage's Christmas party book exchange. My guess was no. Emailing him was useless as he has developed a habit of either not responding to my emails or being selective as to which email he chose to respond. So, I drove the 15 minutes to Barnes and Noble where I spent over an hour searching for books.
The book for the book exchange was simple enough to find. I should have stopped there and gone home but wanted to get something for the three as they would arrive at my place after school where they will stay with me for the next three and a half weeks until their father returns from his travels to Germany with his new wife and two stepsons.
His having taken her two sons was revealed to me by Cinnamon this past weekend and was news to me as I had thought this was a honeymoon. It is not. I wondered why he did not simply take all of the children during this winter break and give me the chance to have the children next Christmas when Mario will [hopefully] be here.
The afternoon looked promising until the children discovered their new books. 'Why did you get me this?! Why can't you ask Mario to get me the next Frozen magazine?' started Cinnamon as she descended the stairs full of drama. I tried to explain to her this was the American version and the one I usually get - the one with the plastic toy attached - is the 'special' one I get her on my trips to Ireland.
I assured her I would bring back another one the next time I went to Ireland. Though I knew this would not be anytime soon, it seemed to calm her for a while until the next dramatic event of the evening. The one with the candy cane.
Before the candy cane incident, it was Sage's turn in the ungratefulness department. 'Why did you get me this book? I have this book at Papa's.' He was referring to the Lego book I set on his bed. When I told him I also got him another Frog and Toad book his response was 'You know I don't like these books!' One, I do not know this. And two, I did not care at this point. I grabbed the book from him and told him it was going back to the store. I also mentioned something about not getting anyone anything anymore. After five minutes he reluctantly asked me to return the book to him.
The magazines where wrong. The books were wrong. Everything I did or said was wrong or not good enough. I was angry and sad at the same time as all I do is solely for the sake of my children. I left my marriage to their father because I did not wish them to grow up thinking that was an example of a healthy and loving relationship. For this I have no regrets and hope they will one day understand my reasons. I gave up several job opportunities in order to be able to be home for them when they finished school. I lost my latest job two days before I was to start simply because there was nobody to watch them on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
How did they not see this, I wondered. How could they be so ungrateful when I try my best to give them everything I think they need. I certainly did not need to have a house if it was not for them. I did not need to have a big car or extra furniture or at least half of what is in the house. But I do. For them. Certainly the challenges of raising the children in two homes with them switching every week come into play as rules differ with each parent and adjustment takes time. Therefore, when I was greeted with an apparent attack from all three of them today at the same time, I was not happy.
I thought about taking them to Ireland this Christmas break to meet Mario in person even though it would have been a great expense. Then I thought how that would most likely be met by some sort of complaining of not having anything to do which would have made for a most unpleasant trip.
The evening ended with another dramatic performance by Cinnamon. I refused to allow her to eat a candy cane - one we still had from last year's Christmas. I told her she already had cookies for an afternoon snack and would not be getting anything else today. 'Ok. Then I will stand here until I do!' she retorted.
'I'm still standing here' she continued five minutes later. I looked up at her standing in the middle of the staircase. I was not about to give in. 'You can stand there all night if you'd like but you're not getting any candy canes'.