Sunday was the third annual Ride for Kids here. It’s a motorcycle ride to raise money for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Nationwide, it was the 25th year of the Ride For Kids. We collectively raised $87,000 in Albuquerque. Last year, my step-daughter Maya went with me. She’s not a kid anymore, but she went through painful brain surgery, ineffective chemotherapy that made some of the tumor grow faster, and finally radiation therapy that killed off the tumor and burned the area around it to kill off all possible remaining tumor cells. She went through it all. She’s a survivor, and that makes me really, really, happy. I signed her up as a survivor at the Ride For Kids, so they called her up on stage last year, and asked her if she’d come back this year. She said she would, and told me she would ride with me again. This year she said she couldn’t go. I understood. She is finally finishing college after that little break to take care of the brain tumor, and I’m so proud of her. I thought about her on the ride yesterday. I almost cried, I’m so happy she is alive and able to enjoy life. I was a little sad too, that she wasn’t with me, but I knew she had a lot to do to finish school, finals coming up, graduation to plan, etc. She had sent me a graduation announcement, with an invitation to her party. Even though I’m divorced from her mom now, and I really wouldn’t want to see my ex, I didn’t think it would be a big deal, because it was Maya’s day, and I would be nice to my ex for Maya’s sake.
However, when I got home I found an email from Maya saying that she never intended for me to attend the party, just to send me the announcement. It would make her mom uncomfortable for me to be there. I imagine it was her mom that didn’t want her to go on the ride with me either.
The one thing keeping me sane was Maya. I was so looking forward to her graduation. I thought I could help supply food or help pay for whatever she needed for the party, like a regular parent would, and now that’s denied me. I can’t even say what I’m feeling right now.
Here’s what Maya wrote to me:
I’m not going to beat around the bush; this has been an e-mail that
I’ve been putting off for a while. My plan from the get-go was to
always send you a graduation invitation, but I was not going to
invite you to my party out of respect for my mom. I feel if you come
to my party it will make my mom uncomfortable and that will make me
uncomfortable. I really don’t want to deal with all of that on “my
day”. I’m so sorry I hope you and I can do something together
to celebrate . I really hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I
need to respect my moms feelings.
So I wrote back. I know it was not a good idea, but as I was writing, it just came out:
Sure. No problem. I find it odd that your Mom would go at all. She told me she was never going to go to your Dad’s house ever again. She felt Evangeline was always disrespectful to her, and she has always not liked going to your dad’s house, probably because it’s his house and not hers.
Be that as it may be, it was not me that ended the relationship with your mom. I told her I didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want a divorce. Yes, I said I had been unhappy, but I wanted to try at least some counseling. I tried to tell her I still loved her – according to her I am a liar. I told her I wanted to drive her to California – she not only refused but accused me of not wanting to be with her, and then blamed me for her car being in bad shape. I tried everything I could, and calmly, and respectfully. She would not talk with me. She wanted what she saw as her house, so she wouldn’t have to worry about her future. She got what she wanted. She promised, in writing, to give me $2,500 as part of the divorce agreement, which was certainly fair on my part. She has reneged on that. She lied to the attorney who helped her figure out the money – she never told the lawyer about the community debt we got into to pay off your dad’s interest in the house, which reduced the equity she had in the house. My fair part would have come to $13,500, even with the 10 years of my retirement she could claim. Instead, all my hard work on what I thought was our house was just working my ass off for her. I suspect this was her plan all along. I gave her a good excuse to act like the wronged party by not calling her while she was on vacation and I was working on the house. I even told her I didn’t miss her while she was gone. It certainly was less tense around the house when she wasn’t there. That’s ALL I did or said. Your mom accused me of planning to leave her, accuses Evangeline of having it in for her, accused me of trying to turn you against her, and intimated that my having any further relationship with you was inappropriate because of your age. She doesn’t even trust you. Why would it make her uncomfortable that I am at your party? She doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me. She cares about control. She can tell you that it would be uncomfortable, only to have control over who comes to your party. She’ll tell you anything. She’s a total liar, an alcoholic and without any concern for anyone but herself. And she’s insane, in my opinion.
She’s your mom, so you’re stuck with her. I’m sorry about that. I know you love her. Some part of her still cares about you, but not as much as she cares about herself. I wouldn’t wish her on anyone. I’m sorry too, but as you’re an adult, I going to give you truth, as I see it. I’m sorry too, to make you feel bad, and to make myself into an ass. I shouldn’t but, I’m afraid I will never see you ever again anyway, so I might as well say it like it is. I still love you, but I can see that it doesn’t really matter anymore. I will always love you, and I miss you all the time. I wish the very best for you. There isn’t anything I won’t do for you. I didn’t want to see your mom at the party. I was willing to put up with the dragon for your sake.
So, now I’ve made Maya sad, I imagine. Pretty selfish of me. It just made me so mad to imagine that vicious dragon saying something like she would be uncomfortable with me at the party. The dragon is uncomfortable around her ex’s wife. Should Maya also ask her not to be there because it would make her mom uncomfortable? Well, none of this matters. All that mattered to me was Maya, and now I’ve fucked up my relationship with her, if I was ever going to be able to see her again anyway. Who knows? I seem to have this self-destructiveness down cold.
I wonder what else in my life I can sabotage?