The most depressing conversation I’ve ever heard

For as long as I can remember I have said that parenting sucks, being a dad rocks, and being a father comes with a weight of responsibility I still can’t get my head around.
Today was a dad day.
Or it should have been.
Today should have rocked.

One of my big dad things is birthday cakes. The decorations are always themed to match the appropriate party, they take hours to decorate and are meticulously detailed.
And arrogance aside, they are universally applauded as looking A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !-!-!

Today was a day for cake decorations.
But today, whilst the concept worked, the execution fell pitifully short of my usual standard.

Hanging over my head is a cloud: this could be the last time I get to do this.
And I am so close to tears.
Not for me, but because I’ve let my kid down.
And if this does turn out to be the last time I make their birthday cake, I’m torn apart that it’s not what they have come to expect, and what they deserve.

There’s no time to start again from scratch. What’s done us done. Badly or not.

I need to get out of the house.
I make my excuses, and go to get some fresh air.
Presumably my Wife knows as well as I do that that means I’m going to the pub.
I’m going to drown my sorrows … albeit with no intention of actually drinking enough to drown … for a change.

As I walk to the pub, I can’t help but muse on the phrase – drown your sorrows.

When it comes to the subject of divorce, it was me that loaded the gun. Me that made the threats.
It is oft said that many suicide attempts aren’t truly intended to succeed, but are rather cries for help. One wonders how many second attempts succeed because no one listened to the first.
Can the same be said for threats to leave?
Recently it has been my Wife that has mentioned divorce as a realistic prospect and I find myself standing with my back to the fan, staring down the barrel of the shit cannon and wondering if it’s loaded.

Maybe now I’m drowning, not waving.

I find a quiet corner of the bar and take a seat. Unexpectedly I see, at the table across from me, sat alone, a kid about the same age as mine. They are far, far too young to be sat in the pub on their own, so I have to do a double take. (It turns out their dad is sat at the bar.) They pay me no heed, focussed instead on the screen of their tablet.
As I sip my pint of self-pity, I intermittently hear the kid’s voice, and realise they must be Skype-ing a friend (or whatever it is the kids do these days).
I can only hear one side of the conversation:

Did your mum and dad separate?
Oh. That s sad.
Do you get to see him?
Nearly everybody’s mum & dad in our class have separated.

And as I thumb this into my smartphone, over the pub’s stereo, Annie Lennox sings some of them want to use you, some of them want to get used by you …

4 Responses to “The most depressing conversation I’ve ever heard”

  1. corsetandstockings Says:

    This made me feel so sad but also, having been there, filled me with hope (for you all)
    It will be painful, it is now, but in the long run you can all move on
    Thinking of you…

  2. Yes, a tough conversation to hear, I’m sure.
    I just want to remind you of one thing: before, parents stayed together because they had no choice.
    Usually the mother had no way to move out without fearing being on the street with her kids ( women rarely had good paying jobs at the time). I just read a book written by a friend where this same subject was a leitmotiv as important as the abuse suffered.
    One of the difficult things for me, still, years down the line, is to not have the time or energy to throw the wonderful themed parties I used to throw.

    As for the divorce threats… it reminds me of my marriage again: I asked, pleaded for years to do something about the state of our marriage.
    And then, all of a sudden, when he started to feel me slip away,he gave me an ultimatum of sorts.
    But wasn’t ready to follow through with the needed counseling. Eventually, I am the one who said ‘enough’.

    Don’t feel threatened about mention of divorce. It’s also a way to try and get us back to behave as before, like they expect.
    If you need to, get in touch with an association that supports victims of domestic violence, be it emotional, financial, sexual or physical, even though the last one didn’t concern either of us. At least I hope for you.

    Hang in there. The kids will have to get used to a different setting with their parents. But at least know that they won’t suffer bullying from their peers because of the divorce, like it happened to kids in our generation.

    • I don’t remember any of my peers with divorced parents ever suffering bullying. And there were several
      As for fear of divorce – if you’re going to play with guns, you have to expect someone to pull the trigger, whether you want a death or not.

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