Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Takin' out the Trash

Divorced people arguing is similar to a dog chasing it's own tail; you go round and round in circles, but never actually make any progress. Despite an amicable divorce, Oz and I can debate pretty much anything. Last month, our son had surgery. While we sat in the waiting room we watched Good Morning America. Seemed harmless enough. One of the hosts was being given a party. I thought it seemed like a baby shower since the balloons were pink, blue and white. Oz thought it was a wedding shower because of the white balloons. I noticed a gift basket being presented to her with baby bottles in it. But, Oz insisted it must be for a wedding because he watches the show and I don't and he had heard that the woman was getting married. In the end, it was revealed that she had in fact gotten married over the weekend AND had announced her pregnancy. SO we were both right.
And then…we debated the age of one of the guests Jenna Bush. I thought she looked older, Oz thought younger. I felt her make-up and hairstyle aged her. And on and on until Oz looked it up on google and revealed her age was younger than I thought.  Score one for Oz.

Next, we got into whether or not Bruno Mars was actually playing the drums live during the Super Bowl. At that point, the woman sitting next to us spoke up. The poor soul had been trapped in a tiny waiting room with us. She said, "Wow, I can't wait to see who wins this round."  OMG! I was so embarrassed for us.

The thing is no one wins. It just keeps going. I informed her that there would be no winner, but in the end one of us would leave because we are divorced. She seemed surprised. A lot of people are surprised to find that we are divorced.  She revealed to us that she wished she could get divorced too. I highly recommended it to her. Her poor husband was undergoing surgery while we discussed her running away and never looking back.

But, that is divorced fighting. Circular. The topic can be anything. The results are always the same. There is no winner. It is not much different than married fighting, except it always ends with one person leaving.

Unlike married fighting, there is nothing sacred about it. You don't have to be on your best behavior. There are no rules like "don't go to bed angry." There is nothing to protect either person from the unleashing of built up resentment and anger.  You just dump it all out and pray the other person loves your children enough to not destroy you.

It seems at first like divorce fighting is easier than married fighting because you know how it ends. But, it is actually worse.  You have to work twice as hard to resolve issues and you have more to lose because nothing ties you. There is no contract. It is null and void.  Yet, you are bound to the children you have created and their lives can and will be destroyed by your actions against either parent. So for their mental health you work it out. You resolve issues. You move the fuck on.

No matter what we fight about we have managed to smooth things over enough to have a peaceful life. No one has any extra energy to stay angry and what would be the point of it anyway? So in everyone's best interest things get let go. Rehashed several times over and over and brought up many months down the road in a conversation completely unrelated to the actual issue.  But, let go for all intents and purposes so that everyone can live daily life without being dragged down.

One thing that has not changed is that Oz takes out the trash at my house. By Divine providence, one of "his nights" with the kids also falls on "garbage night." So after the kids go to sleep he takes out the trash as he leaves. I am more than thrilled with this arrangement. Growing up the trash was always my brother's chore and when he moved out my Dad took care of it. After I got married that was Oz's job and one that I do not want to take over. The first week on my own I had to drag the trash out and I hated it. Not that I am not capable. Just don't love it. So Vincenzo took over helping out. I reminded Oz that "garbage night" was still the same and that technically his children make most of the garbage so it is really helping them when he takes it out.  Eventually after a couple weeks, Oz took over again.

It is a simple act - taking the trash out. But, the symbolism is there. Despite our differences, our inability to make forever work, there is something sacred about the family we have created. There is a stability in knowing we will do what needs to be done to ensure our children have good lives.

Only once in the past year and a half he told me to take out my own fucking garbage.  Most times the trash is quietly put out to the curb on his way out, I acknowledge it with a thank you as often as possible.

There are other times (like after one of our more heated arguments that occur monthly or every other month) I might receive a text messaged picture of my overflowing trash can. A subtle reminder from Oz.  The line is thin, tread carefully or take out your own trash! Or it can be a sign of forgiveness for something I have said or done. Or a peace offering from him for whatever I have found fault with at any given moment. Either way that blue can sitting out at the curb on Garbage Night equals Peacefulness. There is nothing more valuable to a divorced family than Peacefulness.

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