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Chapter 4, Part 1: Summer of Terror 1.0

caninelover's picture

The summer of 2016 rolled on and SD returned home.  SO was still living separately in his 2 bedroom apartment while I was waiting for my new home to finish construction.  After SD returned home, we planned some dinners and outings for the three of us. 

All went well initially and maybe a little too well – SO seemed to form a pattern of making plans with me and then the next words out his mouth would be, ‘Can SD join us?’  At first I would say yes, basically out of politeness.  SD (who turned 19 that summer) did not have her drivers’ license and was home a lot.  She did have a part-time job at a local store within walking distance, as well as an unpaid internship answering phones for our local congressperson (also in walking distance).  But both of these jobs combined were < 20 hours a week so she had a lot of free time, especially evenings and weekends.  Without a license (and not many friends) she would want to tag along with us a lot.  This grew to be frustrating to me because I was missing alone time with SO, and whenever SD came along I would be left out of the conversation.  At one dinner I stopped trying and just picked up my phone and started reading.  They didn’t even notice, lol.  I didn’t say anything at the time because for one, I felt sorry for SD being home a lot and two, I did want to spend time with the three of us together.  But it wasn’t really clicking for me.  I should have said something sooner but instead I didn’t want to rock the boat and kept going along.

During the summer, SD decided she finally wanted to get her drivers’ license.  She got her learners’ permit and would practice driving with SO.  Eventually towards the end of summer she passed her road test and got her license.  Of course then she promptly got into a fender bender – she was trying to park SO’s car in their assigned carport (which are really wide spaces) but turned at a bad angle and hit the car parked next to her.  True to form, she tried to blame the other car for ‘parking too close to her’.   LOL.  SO told her it was in fact her fault that she hit a parked car but as a new driver these things happen but be more careful going forward.

As the pattern of SD tagging along continued to grate on my nerves – I finally sat down with SO and told him that we needed alone time as a couple and SD couldn’t tag along all the time.  He did understand and said it just hadn’t occurred to him that it been awhile since we had a 1:1 date night.  We resolved to invite SD occasionally but not all the time – maybe once a week or so with the three of us together.  So the first date we planned together, a local outdoor play, SD of course asked if she could go.  SO let her down gently and explained it was a date night for us.  I wasn’t there but he said she got quiet again.  During the evening, SD texted SO some snotty question about if they had more cereal because she was ‘having a date night with herself’.  Whatever.

Again this look-back has really helped me see the undercurrent of resentment that was present in SD from the beginning.  It also created resentment in me that simmered through the summer and really started to boil over during a mid-summer trip to SO’s family reunion – the scene of Lasagna-gate – which I’ll focus on in Part 2 of this Chapter as it was a high peak of the Summer of Terror 1.0.


CLove's picture

We used to do date nights. That was a gimme. But in the beginning I too tried including kiddos in outings. At first with everyone on best behavior it was ok.

Then SD21 Feral forger (15 at the time) would start picking on SD14 (9 at the time) and me as well. Snotty comments.

We started leaving her at home, and sneaking out. I know, bad move, but the three of us had so  much fun together.

When she was there it was just all negative.

caninelover's picture

I'm learning that the Road to Step Hell is paved with good intentions.  Most of us start out wanting to be inclusive and create some kind of a bond.  But when the kids are so damaged it makes the task nearly impossible, I think. 

I think what Bratty McBratFace was always concerned about was maintaining her position at the center of SO's life.  

Gimlet's picture

A former poster here had Potato Salad Gate, I am dying to hear about Lasagna Gate! 

This is a great way of looking at your backstory, by the way. 

caninelover's picture

I am finding this therapuetic, to look at past events from the perspective of what I know now!

Cover1W's picture

Oh man, the dire idea of leaving a kid at home while the adult goes out with another adult to have adult time. Unheard of!

LOL - DH and I used to go out when he had the SDs, WITH the SDs. My g*d their restaurant behavior was sooooo bad that eventually I just refused to set food in one with them. And these were 'family friendly' local places. I mean, NONE of the other kids acted like SDs.

caninelover's picture

that is wasn't good for SD to be spending so much time with us and not with kids her own age.  He still is a bit blind to her social anxiety and trouble with forming friendships.

caninelover's picture

But just the conversation was like it was just her and SO.  She would never ask me any questions and if I tried to interject she would just look at me and move on.  Really if a person picks up their phone and reads through half of dinner you would think something was wrong LOL.

Bratty McBratFace still has trouble with letting SO and I have our adult time together without trying to insert herself somehow, as we'll cover in future chapters!

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I don't get how kids wait so long to get their licenses these days. And the pathetic whining because she wasn't included on your date?!

The whold skid/clingy dynamic is strange to me. I would have rather stayed home and watched MTV alone than try to tag along with my parents at 19.

I wonder if it's specific to the dysfunctional situations where the kids are alternately fought over and ignored, this clinginess and arrested development? Like, the parents fight over them but don't really teach them anything. They just want to possess the kids and/or make money off them. Idk. 

CLove's picture

He mother started medicating her at 13. No drivers license, no job, no ambition. So, she steals. And parties and gets high. And cries "Im a child of divorce!"

caninelover's picture

A lot of kids, even from intact families, grow up stunted nowadays.  Because they are wrapped in bubble wrap being transferred from one activity to another - they never 'grow up' and learn how to fill their own time or set their own goals.  Plus since they are social-media obsessed they fill alot of social time that way.  I didn't have that growing up (thank god).

I think these kids of divorce do get very clingy - especially SDs with fathers.  In SD's situation the mom was strict and they fought a lot, but SO was permissive so SD clearly preferred him and wasn't about to lose her #1 postion in his life.

PetSpoiler's picture

This is sad.  I am a COD, a stepdaughter, and a stepmother.  It never once occurred to me to try and tag along on dates when my dad and stepmom started dating.  I was just glad he was seeing somebody.  He was so lonely after he and my mom divorced that I knew the best thing for him was to date and eventually get remarried.   I was actually happy when they got married.  She made his last years happy and when he got sick with cancer she took care of him.  Why are these SKIDS so selfish?  All I wanted was for my dad to be happy.  My step mom was good to him and made him happy.  She was also kind to me and my siblings.  My two stepsisters absolutely loved my dad too. Do kids just not care about their parents being happy?  

CLove's picture

Why? Look to the parents, is my opinion. And SD's tend to reflect their mothers the most.

nice that you had a postive experience, as did I with my stepfather.

caninelover's picture

She had some issues with the Stepmom at first but it worked out largely because she felt like you do - her father's happiness was most important.  

But my SD unfortunately is an immature narcissist and simply can't fathom that her needs are not the most important to everyone at every moment.