One small step for me, one giant cocktail for me, too.

Suggested pairing: The Adios Motherfucker

 

½ ounce Vodka

½ ounce Rum

½ ounce Tequila

½ ounce Gin

½ ounce Blue Curacao

2 ounces sour mix

2 ounces lemon – lime soda

 

Pour all ingredients, except soda, over ice. Shake until combined and top with soda. Cheers motherfucker.

 

My son loves to swim. Like most activities, he takes his time immersing himself but, once comfortable, he dives in, headfirst and doesn’t turn back. His aquatic evolution has slowly moved him from swimmies, goggles, a life-vest and an irrational, and equally overwhelming fear of water in his eyes, to full-blown cannonballs and literal jumping of the shark. Not a real shark, fools, a giant, blue pool toy with a mischievous grin that our family has lovingly named Al Sharkton.

My love of swimming does not quite rival that of my boy’s. Beside the fact that I don’t actually know how to swim, I am also exceedingly particular when it comes to the temperature of the water. Anything under 85 degrees just isn’t happening. Sorry.

I prefer laying on a raft, if in the pool, or laying on the sand, if at the beach and choose to interact with all that is nautical as little as humanly possible. I don’t want to be splashed, or do handstands or play Marco Polo, I just want to relax, which proves easier said than done when summer vacationing with a wild child.

Thank God for uncles.

As my mother would say, “Hooray, the boys are home!”

As much as my son loves the pool, there is nothing he loves quite as much as his uncles, and for obvious reasons. Not only are they super fun companions to slingshot water balloons over the house and shoot Nerf guns with, they are pretty much the extent of positive male role models in his life.

Now, I’m not saying that he doesn’t adore me and his grandparents but, let’s be honest. No one is as sought after as an out-of-state uncle who swoops in bearing smiles, gifts and a penchant for play.

On occasion, when the boys are “uncling” in the pool with my son, the force will be strong enough and the outside temperature high enough, to draw my mother and I off the deck and into the water.

Once I have sweated sufficiently through my clothes whilst baking in the sun like a sizzling bacon strip, I gather my gusto and inch up the ladder to join the pool party. I like to sit with my feet on the first step for a while, adjusting to the coolness and formulating an exit strategy, until I finally cave in and climb down.

Feet in is fine.

Step one is tolerable.

Step two is the “ooh ooh” step, as my mom calls it.

This is the step where you’re just far enough in to realize it’s uncomfortable and want to turn back, but too invested to actually do so, because half of you has already acclimated to what lies beneath. This is the step that forces you to reason with your inner psyche and to negotiate the terms of a self-induced cost-benefit analysis for your well-being.

I hit the ooh ooh step yesterday with regard to my memoir.

Let me just preface this seemingly irrational, internal, emotional turmoil with the fact that I am completely over the fucking moon that I have managed to, not only accomplish the task of writing a book, but to have experienced the much needed catharsis pertaining to my feelings about my ex-husband, his relationship with my son and the constant onslaught of damage and destruction he has inflicted over the years, in doing so.

I am seriously fucking proud of myself, and the half of me already submerged in the writer’s pool, the half with the full manuscript, positive review and overwhelming support from friends and family, firmly believes I should be.

But I’m still standing on the ladder, rationalizing between fight or flight, paralyzed with fear and hovering above a proverbial baptism.

I slipped on the ooh ooh step while at the movies, of all places, with my son this weekend. One of the characters in the film, on the verge of a remarkably selfless feat that would potentially redeem him from his scumbag past, said that he wanted his daughter to know that her father is not a piece of shit.

Ooh, ooh.

I echoed the same sentiment in my mind, reflecting upon all of the piece of shitty things my ex has done to my poor child, and that’s when the half of me, not yet in the pool, began to panic and want to wrap myself in a warm towel and cower on the deck with my bevvie.

I truly do not want my son to think his dad is a piece of shit. In fact, I don’t want anyone to think he’s a piece of shit, believe it or not. Most days, I don’t believe he is a piece of shit either, but that is a battle I fight within myself constantly because there are some days, more often than I’d like to admit, that I think he’s just a piece of fucking shit. And maybe I’m right.

Or maybe I’m wrong.

I don’t think, in my heart of hearts that he’s a bad guy. I don’t believe that he intentionally neglects my son’s physical, emotional and psychological needs. I don’t think he’s an asshole for being an alcoholic, but I do think he’s an asshole for being an asshole.

I do firmly believe, however, that in order to be a functional parent and to raise subsequently functional children, one needs to be devoted and selfless and honest, none of which can be said about my ex-husband.

Devoted, he is not. He spends what equates to a fraction of a day per year with our child, and that fraction of a day is reminiscent of Groundhog Day, comprised of the same redundant cycle of pizza, arcade games and talks about the weather. Phone calls go largely unanswered and, in the entirety of my son’s nine years on this planet, only one birthday card has graced our mailbox.

Selfless, don’t get me started. He has consistently chosen booze and girlfriends over his son, ever convinced that I will take care of everything he cannot, which I do, by the way. He cannot be bothered putting him on or taking him off the bus, but once a year, and shirks any responsibility when it comes to parent/teacher conferences and report cards. He buys cigarettes before sneakers and pays for all of his own shit before his son’s health insurance. He, in my professionally pissed opinion, is a selfish bastard.

Honesty is certainly not his policy. His deceptions run so deep I don’t even bother to attempt deciphering them anymore, despite my occasional desire to do some late night PI work to fill some bizarrely masochistic need to catch him in the act of being him.

All that being said, I still do not think he is a piece of shit, and I sincerely hope that anyone who reads my stories doesn’t either. Because they are just that – my stories.

I do not air a shit ton of dirty laundry in order to expose all of his shortcomings. I am not publishing a book in an effort to stick it to him in any way, although sometimes my ego gets “hangry” and wants to ice that cake.

All of this I do for me, and for my son.

My actions and my words, however salty, may paint me a vengeful bitch in the eyes of some but, at the end of the day, both halves of me are certain that I am devoted, selfless and honest when it comes to my son. At the end of the day, I am not merely his only parent, but a damn good one at that.

I may not be as fun as an uncle or the dad he desperately yearns for, but I am his mother and I will do whatever necessary to keep us both above water.

This next step may be scary as hell but I’m diving in, sink or swim. It’s time to say “adios motherfucker” to everything holding me back, hold my breath and cannonball!

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.