I’ve always been against Valentine’s Day due to its contrived nature. As a romantic I feel that love should be expressed regularly and special moments and gifts aren’t nearly as special when they are dictated by the date. But this year has got to be the worst ever.
I’ve spent the last two years devoting 99.5% of my time to caring for others and trying to make their lives better. I left my entire life behind and moved to Morgan Hill to be a bigger part of my daughter’s life and try to build a relationship from scratch because I’d missed the first 9 years of her life. In the process I took a job as a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults as it gives me the freedom of schedule required to be available to my daughter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And I made a vow to myself to put aside the anger and frustration with my ex-wife and do whatever favors I possibly could for her in order to make it easier to be a part of Z’s life.
Today is Valentine’s Day. The day set aside for all American sto honor and show their appreciation for the people they love. And I got nothing.
Well, that’s not exactly true. Here’s how the day’s played out so far (I started writing this at 9:50am local time)-
6:15 – Wake up and ensure Roommate 1 is up and getting ready for school. Get myself ready to drive 25 minutes to Gilroy in order to take Z and her half-brother, G, to school. I’ve been doing this for the last few months because their mother (who’s been off work since last summer), was unwilling to get up in the mornings and drive them to school on time.
7:00 – Head out on the drive, thinking about how much fun it’s going to be teasing the kids about school romance on Valentine’s Day. I was hoping to take the kids to a surprise breakfast and had purchased V-day cards (something I NEVER do) for everyone in their family (X, Z, G, and even the newest half-brother, 5-month old J).
7:30 – Open the door of X’s house, nearly bumping it into Z who has just carried the remains of her mother’s special V-day breakfast downstairs. I receive a half-hearted, one arm hug and a brief hello. Since the kids clearly made breakfast, that plan is out. But instead of offering me some I get told that I have to go upstairs to talk to X.
7:35 – Wish X a Happy V-day as she tells me to sit down because we need to talk. I tell her it needs to be quick. She agrees and then goes off on a 15 minute story about how Z lost her phone last night, but it was found and is being recovered. This turns into a fight since a) she’s now wasted every minute I am allowed to have with my daughter on Valentine’s Day, and b) despite her throwing a fit two weeks ago because I spoke to Z about a problem before speaking to her (X) she not only had a big conversation with Z about the phone without calling me, but instead agreed with Z that I’d “just lecture her about responsibility” (wrong) and wouldn’t allow her to get a new phone (wrong). So I was pushed even further into the bad guy role (since , X of course just hugged her and solved the whole problem without taking the opportunity to try to teach Z anything other than that there are zero consequences to anything) when I wasn’t even aware of the situation, much less permitted to take part in the conversation myself.
7:52 – Now late (and seething) I drive the kids to school in silence. If you were in a car with someone who’s usually laughing and joking and carrying the conversation and they were silent wouldn’t you ask what was wrong? Especially if you cared about that person? not these two. they just ignore their chauffeur and cary on their own conversations.
8:00 – Drop Z and get a perfunctory ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ as an afterthought as she closes the door.
8:10 – Drop G and get the most genuine sounding wishes for a good day from the unknown 5th grader working safety patrol at G’s school.
8:40 – Return home (sprinkling bits of valentine cards along the way) to shower in hopes of calming down.
9:00 – Still angry I write X an email trying to explain why I was so upset this morning, hoping writing it out will clear my system.
9:50 – That didn’t work either so I start this blog post with the same hopes.
10:00 – Stop blogging to walk Roommate 2 over to laundry room to start his laundry.
10:15 – Return from laundry room and resume this post.
10:40 – Pause again to walk Roommate 2 back to laundry room to change laundry.
10:55 – Return and attempt to finish post before Roommate 2’s laundry is done drying.
The rest of the day will be devoted to meeting Roommate 2’s needs (doctor’s appointment, cooking, cleaning, errands, entertainment, etc) until Roommate 1 returns from school this evening and I spend a couple of hours doing the same for him.
In the brief moments in between I’ll try to work on my blogs and online ’empire’ to earn money to give to X (who makes twice as much from unemployment as I do working 500 hours a month and earning online) or spend on Z (who refuses to earn any of her own money). If recent history is any example, I won’t hear from either of them (or anyone else) unless they are calling to complain about some slight they think I’ve made against them or they need a favor of some sort. Any calls from me to them to ask about their day or offer something will go unanswered and unreturned.
I don’t know why I feel the need to vent about all this today. It’s not really any different than any other day of my life over the last couple of years. It’s the life I’ve created for myself, but I still feel trapped in it and am clearly all alone in the world as a result of my own actions. But it’s Valentine’s Day. Sure I haven’t had a Valentine for roughly a decade, but at least before, when I was living my life primarily for myself there were always platonic relationships with people who took a few moments to show they cared.
It’s just been wearing me down lately. I’ve been trying to do my damndest to do the right thing – having the briefest of moments, separated by days if not weeks, to try to both build a relationship with Z and set her on a course to successful adulthood. Meanwhile everything I’ve tried to do in those brief moments is actively undone (intentionally or not) by her mother who has nearly 5 times as long with her between my visits.
I’ve just lost track of the point of ANY of this.