From Medium: The End, Standing When The Ground Shakes

*These are final thoughts on a story that left off here last week. 

This is what you’ve “always wanted.” That’s what I hear over and over again, from a human who doesn’t deserve the limited brain power it takes for me to process his latest tantrum.

I heard it just this week, right now (in 2020, during our isolation), well after the story that has been publishing each week ended (back in 2017). The moral? It never ends.

This is what you’ve “always wanted.”

I’ve heard those few words quite a bit. This time they refer to me having the kids full-time.

It is a constructed victim statement, designed to inspire guilt and shame. Not the other way that phrase could be used, for triumph and optimism and accomplishment. That phrase though, his go-to when he screws up (again) and needs someone to blame (again) after making his own choices to get him where he is (again) — is true for part of my life.

I’ve always wanted to feel loved. Everyone does. In a real way, a way that doesn’t depend on the outfit you choose, the hairstyle you pull together, the food you cook, the elements of who you are.

I’ve always wanted peace. Everyone should, because it is the best feeling, especially when contrasted against a special kind of chaos that is unlike anything — and most like some type of constant electrical short circuit. A blast of negative energy that is always unexpected and universally unwarranted.

Yes, this is what I’ve always wanted. Love and peace, with a person who dreams and acts and gives and laughs and creates and understands and thinks and listens. And sees me.

I have not “always wanted” to pay for everything, to support three kids on my own. Entirely. No. I have not always wanted that. Girls don’t dream of that one day.

I haven’t “always wanted” to have to explain why this person has been arrested, again. I have not “always wanted” to give hugs to my kids when they cry because they don’t understand. I also have not “always wanted” for other people to worry about me, quietly, knowing another storm could come rolling through at any moment.

I haven’t “always wanted” to be both parents. It’s hard. And exhausting. And it leaves little time for anything other than parenting.

I haven’t “always wanted” to know I’m the one they have, the consistent one, the one who holds down the house, handles all the bills, keeps them insured, makes sure they’re visiting the dentist and doctor, and now…ensures they handle their schoolwork, in a classroom or at home.

I have not “always wanted” to do everything, over and over — when he’s in jail or out — and still be accused of and blamed for orchestrating his mighty mistakes. I have not “always wanted” to be all these things with no thanks and no acknowledgment — instead being met only with spite and animosity.

Because, he says, this is what I’ve “always wanted.”

I have not “always wanted” to worry about my kids when they are not with me.

I have not “always wanted” to pay for police reports, and read them in horror, learning that officers required spit guards and foot restraints. I have not “always wanted” to hear the sounds of my kids’ voices on police recorders, or see their names blacked out of police reports as they tell officers how their dad picked up a teenage boy by the neck.

I have not “always wanted” to be blamed. For everything.

I haven’t “always wanted” to feel the need to write — about this. Who would want to write about this? If you are, it’s because it’s happening to you.

I have not “always wanted” to fear the direction a human tornado will take. If it will spin towards my house, or show up at work, or inch towards someone I love or swallow my children whole.

I haven’t “always wanted” any of the chaos.

I’ve always wanted what I have outside of it.