I walk into the family room where Drake has immersed himself into a golf tournament. The kids are in the backyard playing and thankfully entertaining themselves, and as crazy as it sounds, it’s comforting to know the children won’t be high maintenance for him while I’m away. That calms a bit of my nerves.
“Hey, I’m leaving. I’ll be at the hospital, but I have my phone. I’ll call you with updates.” The distance between us, and his look of indifference would’ve scared me more than life several weeks ago, but now it’s become our normal.
“Food for dinner is in the casserole dish in the fridge. Instructions are on top for baking. Text if you need anything,” I continue. It’s hard to mask the annoyance and hide my frustrations of his aloofness, but somehow I’m able to do just that.
“Sounds good. How long am I babysitting for, Cams?” he asks flippantly, without bothering to remove his attention from the television that is clearly the center of his attention. “I was planning to watch the game with the guys tonight when you get back.”
I look at my watch. It’s two o’clock. I have zero intentions of leaving my friend that needs me far more than he needs a night out with the guys to watch the game, and it confuses me how he all of a sudden considers time with his own children babysitting. I don’t think I ever, in all our years of parenting, realized that’s how he’s viewed his role. Has it always been this way? Was I oblivious to this? Did I create this? It makes me sad and angry that he views such an integral role in our family life in this way. I believe this too can go on the list of new to us.
I quickly turn and busy myself with paperwork at the desk in the kitchen to avoid him seeing the tears forming in the corners of my eyes in response to his callousness. I cough slightly, clearing my voice of the emotions and slapping on my sickly sweet response. “Drake, sweets, it’s not considered ‘babysitting’ if they’re your children, that’s called fathering.”
I know the anger is seeping through now far more than the sadness that could have overtaken me moments ago, but I’m past the point of being able to cover everything and pretend we’re okay. I know I failed him and I’ll live with that, but him denying his responsibilities to this family and our four children could possibly be my breaking point and it takes so much effort not to scream; but again I don’t.
“I don’t know when I’ll be home, but I can go ahead and give you a heads up that I won’t be home to put the kids to bed. You’ll probably need to let the guys know you won’t be able to make it. K? Thanks.” Secretly, I’m hoping my passive aggressive answer would get a response out of him, but it doesn’t and it never will.
He won’t challenge me. He, like myself, will suck it up and pretend not to be bothered. This, I know about him. He doesn’t like confrontation and more importantly, he doesn’t care enough about me anymore to fight or show that he cares.
As I walk past him out to the backyard to say my goodbyes to the kids, I hear his tensed lowered voice behind me, “wrong choice of words, Cams. I’m sorry.” He reaches out for my arm and I pull away as his fingertips barely brush my forearm.
“If you’re looking for an argument, you won’t get it here, babe,” he continues to speak low from behind me. I know he’s close and the tension in the air is pillowing around me like dense fog.