Monster’s school has decided this year that, rather than do a Christmas concert, they will host an “evening of winter fun festivities”. “Card making, a bake sale, drumming, cookie decorating, and photo fun.”
Sounds like it could be a good idea on the surface: make it more interactive so parents and their children can do things together. And it will probably work well for most families out there. However, for children with parents who are separated and don’t get along, it may not work so well. At a Christmas concert, separated parents can sit on either end of the gym, and any animosity between the two parents doesn’t need to affect the children at all. At an evening of activities, this is not possible.
My ex-wife and I divorced, in part, because our constant conflict was making a toxic environment for the M&Ms. Our relationship hasn’t improved since then. The event is next Wednesday, during my time with the M&Ms. My ex-wife, meanwhile, has indicated that she will attend, that she’s bringing her boyfriend, and that I have no say in the matter. Ok, so adding to the conflict between her and I, we have her boyfriend, someone whom both of the M&Ms have said they dislike and are not comfortable around (putting it mildly).
So rather than subject the M&Ms to the tense relationship between me and my ex-wife and another person they’re not comfortable with, I pitched another idea to Monster. Why don’t we go to the movies instead? He’s been asking for a while if we could go see Ant-Man again, so we’ll be doing that. [Edit: apparently my ex-wife went out and bought the Ant-Man DVD for the M&Ms when she found out that we were planning to see that instead, we’ll have to find something else fun for the M&Ms to do.] I offered him the choice, and he was hesitant, but finally decided that he’d rather go to Ant-Man. Despite all this, I can’t help but feeling that I’m somehow letting him down or missing out on “important childhood memories” that I can never get back. Even though I know, in my head, that the M&Ms will be better off not to be subjected to our arguments, I’m sad that they will miss out on this event because of things that had nothing to do with them.