Like A Red Balloon

How is this fair?  You flip in and out of our children’s lives like it’s no big deal.  You’re around a couple days a week, then not for two weeks, then you demand to see them.  You don’t take them outside to play, you let them watch crap on youtube, you allow them to sit in the haze of your cigarette smoke until they reek of it.
You make promises to them, and most of the time you don’t bother to keep them.  Yesterday, when you told her you would be at open house at school tonight, you would walk there at 6:00, I was skeptical.  The way she was jumping around excited about it, I was sure you were setting her up to be disappointed.  She wanted her friends to see dad and her baby brother. (Remember when you told them that he’s their baby brother? And remember when you finally admitted to me a couple weeks ago that he’s not? Start saving up for the therapy they’re going to need to get over that when I finally tell them.)
Well, I’ll be damned, there you were, on the bench in front of the school, albeit alone.  I have to say I was much more pissed than impressed.  Not only because I had to be within 3 feet of you, be seen in public in your presence, but because of how excited they were to see you there.
I am the one who cares for them.  I’m the one they climb into bed with after a bad dream, I’m the one they ask for snacks, I’m the one cajoling and reasoning and bargaining to get homework done properly.  I’m the one they get mad at for making and enforcing rules.  I’m the one who knows their routines, their preferences, their dislikes.  I’m the one raising them to be responsible, productive adults someday.  To not be like you.  Yet, they get excited to see you there, at an event you wouldn’t have bothered to know about had you not been told about it, the first you’ve attended in over a year.
I got to follow the three of you around the school, lagging behind while they held your hands and showed you everything she’s prepared for this night.  Everything she’s been preparing for the last 6 months, while I’ve smoothed over your period absences, made up for your lack of financial support, clenched my fists and gritted my teeth while they gushed about their baby brother.
It’s not fair and it makes me mad.  I’m their primary everything, and you get to bounce in and out of it all like a bright red balloon, floating in when it’s convenient, breezing out on an excuse when it’s not.
I say it over and over again.  They’re going to see you for who you are eventually, and I don’t think they’ll like it.  I hope it’s sooner rather than later.  Karma will catch up with you too.

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One thought on “Like A Red Balloon

  1. You’re right. It’s not fair. You are also right that some day they will see the truth. What you need to remember is when they have that bad dream or need support they come to you. You are a constant for them and you are their security. See open house for what it was. They were excited that he showed interest in something, this man they have been trying so hard to gain the attention of. That’s where the excitement came from, but the next time he will be absent again and they already know you won’t ever be absent from their lives.

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