He who never came close to carrying 50% of the parenting load now argues that he should have the boys 50% of the time. I have done the vast bulk of the parenting, from the logistical management side (birthday parties, homework, doctor’s appointments, school shopping, etc.) to the emotional support side (conversations about emotions, religion, relationships, life goals, growth and development (i.e. "sex ed"), etc.) to the fun side (play time, toys, wrestling, tickling, etc.), to the discipline side. I've done it all, and more often than I liked, without appropriate backup and support. I used to joke that he had never taken two boys out of the house by himself at one time until we had number three, and I don't think that he had ever taken all three of them out of the house until I started working Sundays last fall and he needed to pick up the older two from Hebrew school. And now, he wants 50/50. I suppose the silver lining is that in many ways he has spent more time with them in the three months since his departure than he ever did before. Though he doesn't see it like that of course. He is utterly unable to see that he wasn't carrying his weight as a member of the parenting team. That's what kills me the most. Not that he wasn't doing his part, but that he indignantly argues that he was. Never mind that EVERYONE I talk to about this confirms that their perspective on the matter lines up with mine. More often than not, even without me mentioning anything, they make some disparaging remark about how he repeatedly didn't step in as a parent and support me as he should have. Of course, he has a vastly different perspective on that and everything else in his life.
Meanwhile, he has been complaining bitterly that he doesn't have enough time with them, but when given the opportunity for more time, doesn't take it. Yesterday evening I texted him and said:
I know you are scheduled to have the boys until 3 tomorrow, but I wanted to tell you that I'm flexible about that. I'm happy to have them back anytime between 12 and 8. That way you can choose whether or not you want to attend the TT picnic or not or if you want them later. Or even if you want a break in the middle of the day and then a little more time with them in the afternoon/evening. I would like them for bedtime, but I'm flexible about the rest of the day. Your choice.
He choose to only keep them until 3. Fine with me. We had a lovely afternoon. I just think that it's a little ironic since he's been complaining about how little he gets to be with them, but when given the chance, two days is more than enough!
I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about how much I'm not going to see my boys over the next two weeks, between their trip with him to see his family (which I am now shut out from), and my trip to Mexico. I've been so excited about my upcoming trip, but it's tainted now because I will be missing them so much more due to their beach trip preceding it. Of course, the timing wasn't supposed to be like this, but that's because he wasn't supposed to have given up on our marriage. I was supposed to be with him on the beach trip with his sister and her kids. I've been more of an auntie by marriage than he has been an uncle by blood. Granted, I haven't been a perfect auntie. I haven't called regularly or sent presents for every occasion, but I did make them both quilts and I have made or purchased many presents over the years. But now because of his desire to throw away our marriage, I've been thrown out of the equation too.