As I look back on my life, there’s no one that stands out as a person I hate. I’d like to think the same about myself–that no one I’ve ever met hates me–but I’m sure I’m wrong about that. I’m sure I’ve had students who have hated me, old boyfriends, and people I’ve met in passing.
But no one stands out in my life that i hate. I certainly have disliked many people, but that’s a far cry from hating.
I think this comes from my grandma. Ever since I can remember, she told all of us to never use the word hate, stating, “it’s too powerful of a word.” I think I could have said “fuck” and she would have been less disappointed in me than if I said “hate.” Which I still did. I did say “I hate…(so and so)” and she would catch me right away and say, “Never say that word.” Even if I would say “I hate the liver you just served me,” which I believe is an acceptable use of the word, she would reprimand me.
The lesson stuck with me and now I repeat it to my kids and friends all the time (though I do allow for the use of it with inanimate objects–like liver. I still really hate liver.).
This is all to say that I’ve come really close to hating my ex, Luke’s father. And I’m pretty positive he hates me.
Luke’s father is a good dad and I really try to stay out of his business, his life, and his parenting. But I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that can get under my skin faster than him. I used to spend so much energy on this until my wonderful therapist taught me how to let go of my anger and constant worrying. It wasn’t easy, but once I realized that I was giving Luke’s dad exactly what he wanted–my anger and constant attention–it was easier to just take some deep breaths and move on.
For the most part this has worked brilliantly.
Until last week. Luke’s dad and I have been arguing for a few months about summer. He and his wife both work and so they decided to put Luke in a summer day camp from 12:30-5 for the cost of about $800. First they wanted me to pay half, and I outright refused because I have summers off and since I’m home I can take care of Luke, which I consistently offered to do, but they didn’t take me up on my offer. Then they tried to get me to switch our time frame to a week on/week off schedule for the summer only, which I also refused, believing it was too much time away from each parent. At the same time, I had signed Luke up for swimming lessons, which began at 10:45 and ended at 11:15, so I told Luke’s dad (now referred to as LD) that on his days, he could take Luke to swim lessons and on my days I could.
That’s where the problem started. Because then LD had to admit to me that he had signed Luke up for camp that went from 8:30-5 p.m. I was upset about this schedule and so I said, I’d take Luke to swim and then drop him off at camp, meaning he would only be at camp from about 12-5, which seemed more reasonable to me than the longer day..
So summer started and Luke went to swim and then camp. And it was a disaster. He hated the field trips. He knew I was not working for the summer and questioned why he couldn’t just stay with me. It all came to a crashing halt on the first week’s Friday when I dropped him off at camp–he was crying–and told the camp director that if he kept crying (since she had informed me that he cried everyday/all day since camp had started), I would pick him up. She went to the directory to make sure she had my number where we both discovered that not only was my phone number not listed, but I was no where on the form. Instead his step-mom was listed as “mother.” I gave the woman my phone number and left pretty pissed off, having to actually explain to someone that I was Luke’s mother. Within a half hour I received the phone call to get Luke: he was crying so hard he started hyperventilating.
So Maddie and I picked him up and took him home and he calmed down. That’s when i called LD to inform him that I had Luke and he could pick him up at any time from my house. The conversation started off fine (I was polite, I promise), but the escalated to a full, throw-down argument.
I don’t know what was said exactly, but I do remember refuting LD’s arguments at first by pointing out the lack of logic and numerous logical fallacies he was using. Not smart. I teach this and know when someone is using fallacies or wrong logic, but it doesn’t always play out in the real world. But while I know this,my first instinct is to say stuff like, “So then, LD, the premise of your argument is that Luke needs to be in summer camp for socialization reasons. Well then the warrant there is that all the millions of kids not in summer camp are not socialized.” or saying things like, “That’s false analogy/non-sequitur/red herring/etc, so can you please explain your claim in a more logical fashion, without the use of logical fallacies.”
Anyways, the argument quickly got emotional with LD’s saying that I just want Luke all to myself so that he’ll hate his father and me saying things like “you’re a fucking liar.”
It actually just got worse, if you can believe it. By the time we had hung up on each other, I was full on crying and LD was on his way to immediately get his son.
Which is how we ended up in mediation with the same wonderful woman who has worked with us since Luke was in my tummy.
Mediation started out fine. LD and his wife had already reconfigured Luke’s camp schedule so that he was in a new camp, 9-12, 3 days a week with no field trips. Which made both parties happy. We also decided to change our schedule once school starts to a 6-1 schedule–again this was mutual–and I felt this would be a short mediation.
Until the mediator said, “Anything else you’d like to discuss?” to which LD’s wife pulled out a list. A list I like to call, “Things that are wrong with Courtney.”
#1 on the list: Luke sleeping with me. We spent 45 minutes talking about this. I have co-slept with both my kids–Maddie slept with me until she was 9 and then moved into her own bed, no problems. I couldn’t get Maddie to sleep with me if I paid her these days. And Luke refuses to sleep in his own bed, which is fine with me. So I explained my rational and how this is how much of the world does it–not just underdeveloped worlds as LD pointed out–but most of Europe. Don’t believe me–look it up. But according to LD and his wife, this is the biggest problem in Luke’s life and the cause of all his anxiety. LD took it the point (slippery slope though I didn’t say it) of saying, “So what then? Luke will sleep wit you until he leaves for college? Oh wait, he won’t go to college because he won’t be able to sleep without you.”
The poor mediator tried to get us to compromise, but I refused to budge. I don’t know what this says about me, but I honestly see no harm in Luke sleeping with me, nor do I believe this one thing is the root of all his problems (an oversimplification though again, I didn’t say this).
#2 on the list: LD and his wife do not approve of my lifestyle of having roommates. This went on for awhile, but my basic answer to this was, “Until you can finance me being able to afford to rent a house that meets your standards then I’m stuck with roommates who help pay the bills, and until you can prove that I’ve put Luke (and Maddie for that matter) in an unhealthy and dangerous environment, I see no reasonable argument to change my living situation.” To boot, LD and his wife were even upset that I have a Spanish exchange student (16 year old girl) living in my house for two weeks–a program we did through Maddie’s school.
I think the root of their anger about this came down to when LD said that Luke gets upset when LD calls my roommates “roommates.” I guess Luke stomps his feet and says, “They’re not roommates; they’re family.”
To which I just said, “It takes a village.”
There was more on the list that were smaller things–really not that important in the bigger picture of life.But this mediation session reminded me that haters are gonna hate no matter what. There’s not much I can change about that.
But I can add a graphic to all those who hate me because while I truly don’t hate them, I am tired of feeling the need to defend myself to those who have no idea how my life works, and to how beautiful of a life I’ve managed to achieve.