It is not uncommon for my monthly weekend visits with my father to include him telling me to wear a belt to “hold my stomach in.” he’s 84. i am 52. my father will not share his helpful tips when my husband is around. my father somewhere deep, deep down in his heart, knows other people will think he’s being an asshole. this year my husband’s 93-year-old father trumps my 84-year-old father by 9 years, so I went to celebrate Christmas with my dad. My husband with his.
My husband and I share one car, and we always know i am the one to take the 3-hour drive to southern jersey. my husband hopping on Amtrak for his 4-hour ride. without a car being at my father’s suburban home is like being 15 years old again. my father is cheap and doesn't want to spend the gas money to go anywhere except for when it benefits him. with a car i can drive to the local coffee shop and purchase a latte without my dad complaining how i am throwing money out the window. “I know dad. you are right,” is usually how i respond.
This year of splitting the holiday with both dads is a bit more annoying than others. My husband’s ex-wife is invited to everything when i am not present. His family and his ex about 30 minutes from each other.
“She’s family,” my husband’s father always tells. I respond the same way to Bill’s father that i do to mine. “I know she’s your family. You are right.”
My husband’s adult daughter lives with her mom. His daughter is struggling with mental health issues, addiction, and leaving an abusive marriage.
The sit down was meant to be a time to squash all of the shit his ex put me through. I know that hatred and holding grudge is bad for me. Not for anyone else, “Now Adriana, I know we have our differences…” I ignore the rest of what his ex is saying and stare at the gold band on the fourth finger of her left hand. hmmmm……there is no way this fake bitch is wearing her wedding band. I use my inner voice as I am very tempted to get an inch away from her face to not so politely ask her to take it off.
I tell his ex-wife we now have squashed all of our past shit. Even though i have caused her no grief. She has caused me on a scale of 1–100, about a 105 level of grief.
This year, my husband’s ex-wife gets my husband without me and his 40 plus people in his extended family. They are evangelical Christians who do not drink, curse, dance, attend church 2 x per week, home school their kids, and the women do not work outside the home. They do have an amazing christmas eve ritual of going bowling over pizza and sweet tea.
i on the other hand love dry white french wine, i love to say fuck as often as possible, i never had kids, and i frequently dance and sing on the metro and in marshalls while i am looking for sweaters under $10. Most of his family think i am a WAP Yankee. But there is his one niece who i honestly adore who honestly adores me.
When I got a text from my husband’s niece it said this:
“Adriana, I really miss talking with you. I am here at my mom’s house watching his ex-wife, and i am not trying to be ugly but i see her standing way too close to your husband, not hers, and well i wanted to be honest, and also tell you i got your back. And to be even more honest, i don't like her. i love and miss you!”
I smiled when i read this. This is the text interpreted by my WAP Yankee mind:
“Listen Adriana, you know his ex-wife is a piece of shit for all the reasons we talked about over the years. She won’t get a job, so your husband has to pay alimony forever. She’s always late and never brings a fucking thing to our family get togethers. And I think this crazy bitch, even after 15 years of you and my uncle being together, still loves him. So, i want you to know, I got your back. If i see anything out of pocket, i am going to let you know. i love and miss you!”
I respond to my husband’s niece in the respectful i know you and i would never be friends in the real world way, “I love and miss you too. To be honest with you, I don't like her either :)” I also wanted to tell her there is about less than zero chance my husband will leave me for the sexless, mean, and will never shut up ex-wife.
It’s Christmas eve at my father’s so the smell of fish is making me gag. Seven fishes must be made and eaten on Christmas eve. When my sister, her husband, 2 sons, me and my father sit down to eat, none of us know why this tradition exists. Google had to tell us. You eat a fish for each hour, 7 hours total, for the time a vigil occurred for the baby Jesus. Honestly i don't even know what that means. I just know that i have 5 Philly pretzel factory pretzels that i smuggled in earlier waiting to be devoured.
“Adriana, come put the pasta and crab meat in everyone’s bowl.”
“Dad, I am allergic to shellfish.”
“Just wash your hands afterwards and don't touch your face.”
My dad has essential tremors so it’s hard for him to make multiple plates of food without dropping something. His neurologist tells my dad and i during every 6-month appointment, that because my dad exercises and eats like a professional athlete, his tremors are so much better than they could be.
There are 4 other people in my dad’s kitchen who do not have essential tremors or are allergic to shellfish. My sister, a lawyer who gave my father 2 handsome grandsons that are over 6'2'’ and her husband a judge, would never be asked to make a plate of anything at his house. I on the other hand, married a divorced man with a daughter, i never had kids, and we both have jobs that my dad doesn’t understand. When my husband is here he makes him also plate food and sometimes even prepare it. Honestly, it’s horrible. I would never have the balls to say anything to my father about his at best unfair behavior. My father stopped talking to me for 1 year when he found out that my husband was divorced with a daughter.
The reason my dad told me, “he’s going to spend all of his money on his daughter and he won't have any left for your life with him.” With that statement 1 whole fucking year i was not allowed in his home. my mother was still alive, in which she and i saw each other at a neutral spots like my aunt’s house.
At 8 pm my father is ready to end the day, and I am grateful. I go up to the guest room and pull out the rest of the pretzels. i get on tik tok and explain how i smuggled them in my dad’s house. My father would never allow this salty fatty deliciousness in his house. My college age nephew’s girlfriend adds laughing emoji’s underneath the video. I think it’s pretty fucking funny too. Something else my husband’s family and i do not share in common. i will laugh at my own jokes, because i think i am pretty fucking funny.