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10:48 a.m. - 2013-10-07
happy family
On Friday afternoon and evening (with great difficulty) I finally installed training wheels on Mar's bike.

Training wheels are not a big deal, and I expected this to be a five-minute endeavor, but for the fact that Mar's bike is a five-speed. There isn't room for training wheels and a five-speed gear-changer on the back axle. It ended up taking me several hours, and a lot of not-so-successful ideas, to figure out how to attach them safely and semi-permanently. (I did, of course.)

In the meantime I had the opportunity to work on the bike at the end of the driveway, and take Mar on frequent spins up and down our end of the road, and solicit opinions and advice from the neighbors on my bike quandry. Nobody had solution for the problem of how to put training wheels on a five-speed, but they chatted and laughed and wished me luck.

It has occurred to me several times since we moved in with A that, in order to have the happy family I wanted to have with Matt, I needed to get rid of Matt.

Matt was always way to busy working to make family life a priority; I think he always will be. It speaks volumes to everyone but the hard-of-hearing, which I apparently was, that he preferred having freedom to come and go when he pleased, and work when he pleased, and fuck whoever he pleased, to having a family. The fact that he couldn't install training wheels on a bicycle to save his life is irrelevant. He wouldn't have learned to use tools, EVER, because he doesn't want to. Anything that isn't about him -- ie. teaching his daughter to ride a bike -- is, to him, a waste of time.

Luckily, I do mom/dad as well as I did housewife/househusband. Luckily it has finally occurred to me that instead of compensating for him, I should just do it all without him.

Of course, it's not really without ... I have A., and a is awesome. She is good at routines and structure, which I am not. She actually likes to shop and do laundry, both of which I abhor. She is good to my kids without being fake or indulgent.

The best thing, though -- probably one of the biggest that attracted me to her -- is that she GETS my dream of having a "happy family" and wants one too. We both grew up in fairly toxic families, and we both understand that families don't get that way accidentally. Happy families aren't happy because of blind luck, either. She's willing to read the books, do the work, walk the walk. She's not someone whose starry-eyed talk about the importance of civility goes out the window the moment something pisses her off. For one thing, very few things piss her off because she sees situations in the best possible light. For another ... she takes responsiblity for her feelings.

Which is a rare thing, you know - even among adults.

I like living with A because she makes me a better person. I am a hotheaded, plucky, "do unto others BEFORE they do unto you" kind of person, a little bitch at heart I suppose. I have spent most of my life making sure I am no one's victim, and yes, I suppose I used to kill relationships as a preemptive measure. A's different, though; I am very protective of her. I don't want anyone to ever hurt her, especially me. That has made me a warless war-monger, or else a happy, even-keeled person -- take your pick.

So I suppose Matt did end up giving me what I always wanted -- a happy family, a house safe from anger and yelling, my kids learning to ride their bikes on a safe little residential street, parents helping, house clean, kitchen stocked, happy family, no secrets.

All that -- he gave me by leaving.

It's the only way he could have, probably.



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