Thursday, December 10, 2009

::eighteen minutes::

That's how long our conversation lasted.

It started with me offering up common ground. "It seems we got off on the wrong foot, and I'd like to try to fix that. We actually have a lot in common: we both knit and sew and read the same kinds of books. We have the same political leanings, have the same values and interests and I think we could be friends."

...she stares at me with her usual pinched look, saying nothing. So I continue.

"I know that our....tenuous relationship causes Eric stress, and he feels caught in the middle. It's not fair for him to be in that situation, and it's not productive to the relationship that you have with Anna, either."

Again, she stares at me, silent.

I go on to say that I think she has so much to offer Anna (ok, I was being generous there), saying "You are a smart, strong woman, passionate about what you do and you could be a really positive role model for Anna."

Her first words of the night: "Well, first of all, I disagree with many of the things you just said."

I swallow and regroup; this is not off to a good start. I try another angle and I ask her what her concerns are.

She said that Anna doesn't respect her a parent, and I said "Ok, well, I think that right now you are outside the loop, by choice. Eric and David and I present a united-front; we have created this really healthy and positive model of parenting-after-divorce, and you have avoided participating in that. Therefore Anna sees you as an outsider."

She said "I don't want to be a part of what you've created. That's not the only choice here."


I said "Of course it's not the only choice, but Eric and I brought a child into the world, and it's our life-time responsibility to raise her in the way that works best for all of us. We communicate about everything, we make big decisions together and most importantly, Anna knows she is being raised by people working together for her benefit. We will always parent this way, because it works and because when Eric and I divorced, we agreed that this is what we wanted it to look like."

"But not every divorce looks like that."

"Well, it's what every divorce should look like when there are children involved," I say.

"That's YOUR opinion."


At this point I think there might have been steam coming out of my ears, but I remained completely calm and said "But J., it's working for everyone else but you. And it's not going to change, because it is working and we are all very proud of the situation we have created. I'm not going anywhere and Anna isn't going anywhere. You happen to be dating a man with an ex-wife and a child, and really, you should be thrilled that he is the kind of man that he is, who adores his daughter and maintains a healthy, cooperative co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife. "

"Well then, maybe I have a choice to make".

"Yes," I said, looking her right in the eye, "Perhaps you do."

"Well," she huffed, scooting her chair back to leave, "It's obvious you didn't come here to accommodate me."

Oh yes. She did.

So, I tried.

And the thing is, you know how when you have these big, important conversations with people and later you think of a million things you wish you had said? Well, amazingly enough, I said every single thing I wanted and needed to say, and better yet, I didn't say a single thing I regret. I stayed completely (and uncharacteristically) calm and level-headed and gracious the entire time, even when she was completely unreasonable.

Now. Does anyone know where I can find a voodoo doll?


tallulah said...

Umm....and why is Eric with this woman? Clearly Ana will be the person that Jennifer takes this out on. Shame on Eric for involving such a person in Ana's life.
P.S. They have some awesome voodoo dolls in New Orleans. I bet you could google them and have one shipped to you overnight. :)

kate said...

Oh T, I have no fucking idea why he is with her. She is stiff, cold and controlling, and he knows that his family (parents, siblings etc.) can't stand her either. I can't tell you how much time I've spent trying to figure out what he is doing, and I'm just done.

The thing is, you're right, she DOES take it out on Anna, and that's exactly why Anna doesn't like her.

Anna told me this morning about an incident last week: Jennifer had come over to Eric's house for dinner. Shortly afterwards, she left, but as soon as she got home, she called Eric and Anna could hear what Jennifer was saying through the phone. She said "I thought we'd agreed that Anna would eat what WE eat. Why did you not make her eat her entire dinner?" (ok, let me pause here to ask WHY DOES SHE CARE WHAT ANNA EATS?)

Eric, bless his heart, said "Because we were having pork for dinner, and Anna is a VEGETARIAN!"

Apparently, that wasn't a good enough reason for Jennifer, and they fought until Eric hung up on her.

It's a frickin mess, and I keep thinking that any day he'll wake up and dump her scrawny ass.


Jodi said...

OH. MY. GOD. That is the funniest thing I've ever read! I wish I could have seen it!

Maybe it's time you INSIST that when Eric has Anna, that the fish is not allowed over and he is not to take her to the fish's house.

Then again, it sounds like Anna knows that she's a moron and pretty much handles her the proper way.

However, that story just made my day! I'd love to be put in a room with her! I'd have her scary ass in a choke hold so fast I'd pop her head off.

kate said...

Oh my god, I love you Jodi. Can you come to Spokane on the next plane? I'll drive you straight over to her house.

Dee said...

Can I watch ? I'll bring pompoms and cheer and even jump up and down. I really want to see Jodi take that scrawny ass down and THEN we could ALL jump up and down on her.

David said...

You Pogue women sure like a good fight. I'd pay money to see that, but, be careful Jody she seems like an ear biter. I call Jennifer one of the dumb smart people. She can't seem to remember what it was like to have been a child.

Whosyergurl said...

I am so proud of you that you didn't dive over the table and strangle her.

Whosyergurl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kate said...

Cheryl, it took every ounce of self-composure I have not to!!

David, it's true: Jennifer is highly educated, but emotionally retarded. And frankly, I'm not sure she ever WAS a child.

robyn said...

I was just in New Orleans - should have grabbed you a doll.

You did awesome, she's an ass. The universe will weigh in your favor in the end.

Ariadne said...

Okay, Kate... is this woman the ex wife of Captain Hotpants? Because they SOUND LIKE FREAKING TWINS. Cannot believe you didn't kick her in the face.

So nice meeting you today! You know, we could go TP her house. HA!

Dee said...

Who is Captain Hotpants ?????

Megan Walker said...

I don't think it's a voodoo doll you need. More like a shotgun. Did I just say that? :/