D and I were laying in bed chatting on Halloween morning when I had an idea..."I bet you a hundred bucks that you can't be nice to C for the whole day. No yelling at him, no glaring at him, no nothing." D replied with a pretty confident, "ok, you're on." We weren't really betting a hundred bucks, we both like to win and it was just a friendly way to hopefully have a great day as a family.
Thankfully, I lost the bet. The only time I can recall being very truly happy about losing. I lavished D with praise and love that night and he "felt" good. I quote felt because he shoots his vibe off for the world to feel. When he's happy I can feel his happiness radiate through me. When he's angry I can feel it ripping me apart inside. When he is calm and complacent his presence can ease all my fears. Even if he's not talking it is eerie easy to "feel" how he is feeling.
We didn't talk about it at all on Monday and to be honest I had put it completely behind me just thankful for the one peaceful day. Long after we had tucked the kids into bed we were getting ourselves ready to call it a night. D was standing at his dresser and said, "Now you owe me 200". I asked, "200 what?" totally confused. D often has part of a conversation in his head, thinking he is having it out loud and then asks a question as if I can read his mind. But this time wasn't that...he said again, "you owe me 200 for going 2 days". I giggled. He was referring to the bet. He was keeping a running total in his head to motivate him to keep trying.
I was shocked. And pleased. And delightfully thankful that finally something was going our way and D was doing it all on his own. I asked him for the day and he was giving me so much more. It has been 2 full weeks and I owe him 1400 bucks. If we had the money I'd gladly pay up and let him splurge on whatever his heart desired. But we don't and he's not looking for it either.
I asked him why the change all of the sudden. He told me that we were having a conversation about a week prior to "the bet" and I had mentioned that if we ever didn't make it as a life long couple it would be due to the relationship he had (or didn't have) with C. He reminded me that I had said I can tolerate anything and everything that he can dish out, except for the hurtful words directed at C and on occasion J.
I didn't know that he was really listening during that conversation. I remember it vividly as well. We were in the car driving to dinner. It was a pretty rough day and I was just irritated and rambling. It is very true though. I can handle his naps on the couch while I clean, I can deal with paying all the bills and keeping the family's schedule pulled together, I can tolerate the scary driving (I'll just continue to twitch in my seat), but it is really really difficult to sit back and watch as he destroys his bond with the kids. I've always thought that D would be a great weekend dad. He wouldn't take seeing them for granted. He's a kid at heart and loves to play. He's the center off all the kid birthday parties: holding the pinata rope, throwing the football, or keeping the bonfire going strong. There is no doubt in my mind that he has always had the potential to be one of the greatest dads ever. But I wasn't sure what was holding him back. I still don't know nor do I care.
For now I am going to enjoy our time together as the family we were always meant to be. With a patient I'll-do-anything-for-you Mother, a playful I'll-always-protect-you Father, a sweet I-am-a-genius Son, and an energetic I-can-always-make-you-smile Daughter.