Just two weeks ago, I know exactly how this day would have gone.
Two weeks ago, Samantha would have come into our bedroom as soon as she woke up and said she wants to watch a movie. I would kiss her on her forehead, tell her good morning, and start looking for the remote. Nicole would groggily tell her to go to the bathroom first. I’d get out of bed and go to the bathroom with her. While we are there, I’d have her go ahead and brush her teeth. We’d head back to bed. I’d put on whichever princess movie she requests, sit her at the end of the bed and try to fall back asleep. I wouldn’t, but that’s OK.
Two weeks ago, I would finally drag myself out of bed and Samantha and I would feed the dogs and cats. Afterwards, we would make ourselves breakfast. Depending on what we were having, we’d either sit at the island in the kitchen, laughing, or we would move to the living room and watch this weeks episode of DC Super Girls. At some point, Sam would see something that she thinks Mommy needs to know and would run into our bedroom. I’d go grab her and shut the door to the room and remind her that Saturday mornings are Daddy/Samantha time and we let Mom sleep in.
Two weeks ago, once we finish breakfast and watching our cartoon, Samantha would decide that she wants to play some thing. I’d chase her whims all over the house. Maybe we would reenact her favorite scenes from Tangled, where she would play Rapunzel and I would plat all the other characters. Maybe she would get out the Play-Doh and we would have a BISCUIT PARTY! I’d explain it but I don’t really understand it. Maybe we build something with Legos or bristle blocks. Maybe we play a board game or two.
Two weeks ago, as we are playing, I would have realized that it was getting close to 10 and wake Nicole up. She would slowly drag herself out of bed and after finding Sam and giving her a little love, she would head for the shower. Afterwards, she would get dressed and tell Sam and I that it was time for us to get ready too. While Nicole dressed Sam, I’d clean up and get dressed to head over to my In-Laws house to celebrate Tony’s birthday.
Two weeks ago, I would have spent time basking in the company of my extended family. I’d see Tony’s new baseball cards and listen to him bitch about the Braves and the state of the world. I’d greedily wolf down the meal that Sheryl cooked to celebrate the day. I’d watch them both shower my daughter with love and affection. I’d fell content.
Two weeks ago, we would have left Tony and Sheryl’s in time to get Samantha home in time to take a bath and head to bed. While Nicole bathed Sam, I’d lie on the floor in her room looking for a book to read while Nicole brushes her hair. Samantha would emerge from her bathroom either naked or in just a towel and would run into the bedroom and jump into me laughing. Nicole or I one would get her into her pajamas. She’d then sit in her Mom’s lap to let her brush her hair while I read about three little space aliens and a giant robot that wants to destroy their homes. After, Samantha would do everything in her power to get out of having to go to bed, but would eventually give us all love and succumb to sleep.
Two weeks ago, I would have climbed into bed having had a terrific day with my family and looking forward to spending Father’s Day with my wife and daughter.
Two weeks ago, every exchange with my wife would inevitably end with “I love you”.
Today, I woke up in the spare bedroom. I took out my white noise sleep earphones when I heard Sam call my name. We yelled back and forth comically for a few moments. She said she needed my help because she was dead and needed a Prince’s kiss. So, I kissed her on her cheek and she immediately sat right up. I made her go to the bathroom and then we brushed our teeth. We split a pop tart and a small baggie filled with Lucky Charms for breakfast and watched our usual cartoon.
Today, I decided to let her keep watching one cartoon after the other because the thought of getting out of the chair and confronting what’s become of my life was terrifying. Finally, I decided enough was enough and turned off the cartoon. We started making a “Cake” for a party. Nicole woke up.
Today, as soon as my wife woke up, I wanted to get out of the house as quickly as possible. I did not want to watch her and my daughter leave without me. It’s bad enough to know they are going without me. It’s bad enough that this is now my life. To watch it? Too much.
Today, I left while Nicole was still getting Samantha ready. I drove around for three hours listening to podcasts and some new music. I tried to clear my head and forget that everything has turned to shit, but it didn’t work. So I went home.
Today, at home, I laid down on the bed in the guest bedroom and tried to sleep. It came in fits. I tried to read, but my eyes couldn’t focus on the words. I tried to do my physical therapy, but I couldn’t find the energy. I tried to work on my list of tasks that need to be done around the house, but it seems pointless. I feel lost. And alone.
Today, it hit home that Nicole’s life and mine and now only related in matters of Samantha. Her parents, no matter how much I love them, are not my parents. My family is now, literally, only my family. And my family is a long way away.
Today, I’m typing this in my office filled with self-pity. I know that this is not healthy. I know that this accomplishes nothing in the long run. I know that this does nothing to ease the transition that my daughter is facing. It’s all I have to offer right now. Even the fun I’ll have with my little girl tomorrow will be tinged with sadness. I’ll do a good job of faking it, but deep down, I know she’ll be missing. I know that she’ll ask questions about why Mom isn’t there. I’ll lie convincingly. Still, on nights when Nicole would go out and we would have Daddy/Samantha time as we call it, at bedtime, she would miss her Mom. We would talk about how much fun we would have together but how it’s always better when it’s the three of us.
Today, I face the same reality I’ve been trying to face for the last week. My marriage is over. I’m alone. And sad. And desperate. And healing seems so far away.