The 11 hour flight back to the US was excruciating.
I didn’t want to bother Eric anymore since I was trying to honor his “let it go” request, yet sitting around confused and in the dark left me subject to a full blown attack of neurosis.
I’m not big on sharing my personal conundrums unless I have already resolved them
OR I have no choice but to vent in order to prevent spontaneous combustion.
Thank God for inflight Wi-Fi, because after several hours into the flight I had reached the latter.
I texted one of my best girlfriends, Maebry, whom had been one of my most reliable shoulders and ears for over the past decade. I knew if I told her what was going on,
1. She wouldn’t pass judgment
And 2. She’d keep it real with me.
Her advice was as follows:
In a nutshell, Maebry was yet another person in, what was turning out to be, a long line of people telling me to LET IT GO.
Is Biomom really just flexing her muscles?
I still had a few hours left in flight, so I had no choice, but to let it go
...for now, anyway.
Of course, by the time I got to the house Eric wasn’t home yet, which left me with even more time to drown in my anxiety-ridden thoughts. I promised myself that I would stay relaxed, calm and listen to Eric without interruption. To aid in this task, I poured myself a big glass of my Israeli souvenir Passion Fruit Arak to numb the nerves.
I was sitting on the couch, two glasses in, ice clinking, when the front door opened and the dogs went bizerk over daddy coming home. Once he was able to get the dogs calmed down with lots of pets and pats, I calmly asked him how his day at work was and we did our usual post-day-at-the-office chitchat. However, the tension of knowing we both needed to have a ‘talk’ invited a giant pink elephant into the room to join us.
“I’m gonna go slip into something a little more comfortable and sexy.” Which is Eric’s way of saying he’s gonna put on some sweat pants, a sports team tee and some camo-patterned Crocs to unwind.
When he came back in the living room I had mustered up the courage to ask, “Okay, are we ready to rip this off like a bandaid?” We both chuckled nervously, neither of us particularly enjoying these sorts of conversations, but knowing that they are necessary.
Eric led by explaining in more detail the way the weekend went down, and ending with, “It is my impression that Biomom has been putting these ideas in the girls' heads. I think when they share their stories of when they’re at our house about you giving them chores or reprimanding them when they don’t do them she takes it and runs with it.“
“I think so too. I talked to Maebry about it and she thinks that Biomom is still stewing about our phone conversation, and trying to put me in my place. She thinks by Halloween, she’ll retract.”
“What do you mean?”
I then read my texts from Maebry. When I was done I looked at Eric, “What do you think?”
“I think Maebry’s right.”
“So what are you going to do? “
“Right now, the girls are with Biomom for this week anyway. I’m just going to let it play out, and see what happens.”
It was hard for me to wrap my head around the potential for Biomom to actually admit that she was in the wrong, but it was doubly difficult to imagine her standing ground and keeping the girls from me for no reason other than a little ego bruising. I loved those girls as if they were my own flesh and blood, and it literally ached at my insides to think of my life with less of them in it.
I internally Ohm-ed, Let it Go.
We tried our best to go about the rest of the week without thinking or speaking too much on the topic. Eric and I had already planned to go up to the cabin that weekend for Labor Day, so that’s what we did.
It actually felt really nice to not worry about things for a change, though it wasn't without effort as I was consistently repeating the mantra in my head: Follow Eric’s lead. Let him be the one to figure this out. Let it go. Let it go.
Ultimately I would have the Frozen soundtrack stuck in my brain as well; Regardless, it seemed to work, and we had a fantastic Up North weekend.
Tuesday we were returning the rental car when I hesitantly asked, “Any word from Biomom or the girls?”
“Oh, Eric, I am so sorry. They’ll come around. Those girls adore you. Seriously. Don’t worry. I really think Maebry is right. I think Biomom will change her mind.” Though I said it I don’t know if I truly believed it, but I knew I had to be strong and confident, for Eric's sake.
We both slept the majority of the flight home, the thump of the airplane wheels touching down upon landing jolting us awake. Like habit, we both turned our phones back on immediately and waited for the screens to load. Normally I would eye roll at myself, because, I mean, how much can really happen in a two hour flight that we have to immediately get on our phones?
Although, in this case…
As soon as his phone powered up, Eric flashed the screen in front of my face to read.
A text from Biomom:
“Hey, I was wondering. I have a hair appointment and a bunch of errands to run this week. I don’t think I will be able to get them done and get the girls to and from their activities on time. Is it possible you can take them a little earlier this month than we discussed?”
I tried to hold back a wry smile of astonishment, but it was hard to mask the gleeful feeling of triumphant retribution.
“What are you going to say?”
Eric didn’t mutter a peep, and just typed the following:
“I’m sorry, but I’ve already built my work schedule around the dates you requested. I won’t be able to help.”
Immediately a ping, “Oh. Okay.”
That didn’t take long.
When I got to my car, before turning the ignition, I sent out a quick text.
“Hey, Mae, looks like Halloween came early this year. You’ll never guess who just texted.”
To which I received the infamous 'laugh til you cry' emoji followed by the even more infamous “Told you so.”
It was in that moment that I realized:
Sometimes it's better to just let some things go, let them play out, ‘loosen the grip’ and see what happens- because as it turns out, in this case, it seemed to lean in my favor.
The girls would be back at our house the next week, and I was hopeful that this was ultimately what had to happen for Biomom to come to some sort of unspoken acknowledgment that it's actually kind of nice having two extra sets of hands (and car keys) to aid in the raising of one's children.
It took only 10 days for Maebry's foresight to come to fruition. Perhaps now, Biomom will realize that I'm not such a wicked stepmother, after all.
*thinks on it, grabs coffee, takes sip, puts down, lets it go*
~names have been changed to protect the innocent~