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Monday, June 17, 2013

Vacation Part II

Go grab a cup of TEA and sit for a few minutes.  This might be a bit of a long story.  I'm going into the mysterious part of our vacation here.  I'll keep it as short as I can, but you know me.....

 One thing I can't help doing when I am in Charleston is take pictures of all the gardens and flowers.  The first time I ever visited Charleston, we came home and made our own Charleston garden.  I'll show you pics sometime, I have them, but that's all I have because that garden was at our house in town {sigh}
 Charlestonians have the most beautiful gardens, even though they are small, they are gorgeous.  There is usually a fountain or a water feature of some sort, a flowering type plant or two, and lots of green.  They also incorporate bricks (Did I mention we finished moving the brick pile before we left? My Shug brought home the last two loads.)  and ironwork.  Oh yeah, and a tree or a bush.  They cram it all in a small space and it works.












Even their window boxes are fabulous.  One time My Shug and I went there in March and we went on the garden tours.  I have an entire album full of window box pictures!
 But there is one plant I want to tell you about.  It's beautiful.  I used to have a couple of them in pots and I'd put them inside my potting shed during the winter months.  I had them for my Charleston garden.  I've since thrown them away.  This plant is called Oleander.  Have you heard of it?   Do you know about Oleander tea?  When you are in Charleston you hear a lot of history and a lot of lore.  Some stories are embellished upon by tour guides so they are more interesting.   One story I heard was that the South gave Oleander tea to the Union soldiers!  Don't know if it's fact or fiction, but here's the thing.  Oleander is a poisonous plant!  And  one consistent story I have heard is that back in the day before divorce was allowed, when a person was unhappily married, they would serve oleander tea to their spouse.  It would kill them dead and it wasn't traceable!
 This plant is EVERYWHERE in Charleston.
 See the hedge behind my Shug.  Oleander.
And no I'm not serving any oleander tea!  Nor did we!  This is a lead-in to the heart of the story.  ...the divorce part.  I know...what a way to lead into this.  I didn't even know I was going to talk about it today....or bring it up like this, but here you go.....
You see, what you might not know about my Shug is that he was married before, and had two sons by his first wife. And I'm going to tell you this up front, my Shug is a nice man.  He really is.  And he didn't deserve the treatment he got from his ex-wife, even while they were married.  Last night he said if he could have been given one piece of advice it would not have been to buy Microsoft stock...it would have been to RUN as fast as you can and do not marry her.  He was 18 years old when they married.  Crazy.

Now, I have always been apprehensive to talk about this stuff, especially on my blog, because
1) it's very private and
2) there have always been repercussions and
3) because of the repercussions, I'm always afraid.
 But I'm going to make a point here and I'm not afraid anymore.  I'm telling the truth. 
And this was a HUGE part of our vacation.


While we were on our way to Charleston my Shug told me he found an address to one of his sons and it's in Charleston and he THINKS it is close to where we are staying.  Well, I didn't believe it could be true.  You see, we haven't heard from his older son in about 12 years, and the younger one we have seen once in the same amount of time.  The one time we saw him, he came to our house in town and had a lot of questions, but we were afraid to say anything.  We were so shocked that he just showed up after all those years and we didn't want to make him mad, for the same reasons as 2 & 3 above.  Plus we thought maybe it was a new beginning.  It wasn't.

You see peeps, there are some people in life that like that constant adrenaline rush.  My Shug's ex-wife was one of those people.  Affairs...moving (14 times in ten years when the boys were younger-I tracked them down almost every time)  If you look her up on the internet you will find several alias names and P.O. Boxes for addresses.  We are not those type of people.  We lived in the same house for 20 years, our phone number is still the same, we have one name.  Hell I even married someone with the same last name as my maiden name!!!!!  We do not like adrenaline rushes, we do not like upheaval.  It's one of the reasons we go to the same vacation spot.  It's known. 

We've had people ask us how we have survived this house building episode, that most people don't survive having one built, yet we are building our own.  It's not to say we haven't had our disagreements.  We have.  But we always explain that if we can survive the antics of his ex-wife, we can survive anything! Rather than tear us apart, she made us stronger. I will not go into what we have had to endure.

When the boys were out of high school, we no longer had a way to get in touch with them.  I had always stayed in touch with their teachers.  We heard rumours and we'd try to find them, but found out years later that both sons changed their last name to their step-fathers name. So we had social security numbers that did not match names.

Now I'm sure you are wondering what kind of people we are at this point.  I will tell you this.  Those boys came to stay with us every summer and many holidays.  And we always had a blast.  I have tons of pictures, as you can imagine.   We would do fun stuff, and were happy together.  But when they would go back home we would never hear from them.  We never even knew if they made it home safe, and most of the time they had to fly home.  Imagine putting your 10 and 12 year old child on a plane, and not hearing if they made it home or not.  Our phone calls and letters were always ignored.  Then out of the blue, we'd hear from her or them, wanting to come and visit, and of course we always said yes.  Many nights we laid awake wondering, worrying, what was going on in their lives.

So, fast forward to this vacation and my Shug has an address he found on the internet that he wants to explore.  We went to the house on our first full day there, but no one was home.  It was a big old historic home that has been converted into six apartments.  We decided to try again the next day after 5:00, in case he was at work.  Again...no one home.  But there was mail sticking out of the mail boxes so we looked at the names.  None of them were his son's name.  A girl came walking up so we asked if she knew him.  She said she didn't know him, but it's probably "the guy that moved out a couple of weeks ago".  (Heavy sigh here)

Then I remembered, a couple of months ago I learned how I could send a message on facebook without being a 'friend' to someone.  I sent a message.  (he can be found on facebook, his brother cannot)  I didn't expect a reply but the next day I got one!

I have told My Shug many times if I ever got the chance again to talk to him, I would NOT hold back.  I would tell him how I felt, the truth, and what we went through.  My Shug said he would too.  Well peeps, remember this relaxing pic! 
 
 We were not that relaxed Wednesday evening!  We were on the porch, drinking wine, and anxiously awaiting his son's arrival.  The plan we made was to meet at the Palmer Home and walk to a place for dinner.  My Shug told the owner earlier that day that his son was coming for a visit and told her how long it's been.  She got all excited.  She came to the porch for wine with us.  So did her boyfriend(?) and so did some other people that were staying there.  It was wine and cheese social time and that's what you do there.  But the owner told the others our story.  Her version was this...."this guy's son is coming to visit tonight and it's been years since they've seen each other.  You know, it was a divorce situation...we've all been there...."  So we all sat....and drank wine....and waited.....and he sent me a message.  Going to be a little late.  I was afraid he wasn't going to show.  But he did.

We all visited for awhile, then everyone excused themselves except for us three.  Now, if I were them, I would have retreated to the upper balcony to hear what was going to happen next.  Maybe they did...who knows.  But about 30 seconds after they cleared the balcony, the barrage of questions started...from his son.  And guess what folks.  I didn't hold back.  Neither did my Shug.  This went on long enough that I ran downstairs to ask Francess for another bottle of wine!

Now this part is kind of funny.  The wine is kept in a cabinet up high.  And I had to stand on a chair, and she was holding me up by my butt so I wouldn't fall, as I was trying to reach a bottle of wine!  Apparently, they must have had people steal it.  It was late in the evening at this point....like maybe 10:00 or so.....and we never left the balcony.  No dinner.  So, I also grabbed a couple of granola bars, an orange that I had in our room, and some bread we had bought that day at a bakery!  Being ever the hostess that I am, I put it on a plate from the dining room, and called it dinner!

Then a rainstorm came, and we were still talking but we had to move to the back of the balcony (where you see me sitting in the above pic - we started out at the front) and his son made a comment... something like...."I feel like we have just been on a Jerry Springer episode!"  We all laughed at that.

We talked and talked some more.  And being even later, his son ordered pizza to be delivered at the Palmer home!  Oh My Gosh!  I don't know...you just DO NOT order pizza delivery on the battery! LOL!
But by then a lot of the tension was gone, and we talked about other stuff going on in our lives, and after having consumed too much wine, we asked him to spend the night.  To our surprise he did.  He said it was the weirdest night of his life.

The really weird part was we weren't going to Charleston until the last minute.  We didn't want to stay in the carriage house, which happens to have an extra bedroom, and I never knew until about a month or so ago how to message someone on facebook that I wasn't friends with!  Now,  I would love to go on with the story, and I hope someday I will be able to.  But when he left the next morning, we didn't exchange numbers or anything.  I have since contacted him on facebook, several times, and I actually heard from him once.  I will continue to send him messages.

I will not apologize for the following.  The reason I risked putting this out there, is because I have some points to make about some things I have learned.

1)  If you are divorced PARENT, act like a parent...and act like an adult.  You are not their friend, you are their parent. DO NOT talk about their Mom or Dad in a bad way to them.  EVER!  They WILL figure it out on their own when they get older, and you may find that the trash talk you told them will backfire on you.  Many people use mental abuse as an excuse to not let their child visit.  Well, trash-talking about a child's parent, whom he/she loves, is mental abuse in and of itself.  It may take years, but they will figure it out.  My Shug's son is 29.  And from a comment or two he made, it appears he has nothing to do with his Mother.  Who knows.

2) If you are an older child that went through that hell, don't judge.  Find things out for yourself. His son was late because he had to stop and have a drink.  He was nervous.  I asked him if he thought we weren't! You see, being the child, he thought we didn't have the same emotions as him.  We did.  We were nervous.  We were afraid he wouldn't show.  We were anxious.  We were afraid of what might happen....again.  When we went to that house to see if he lived there, our hearts were beating like a big bass drum.  Parents, and step-parents, have emotions and feelings too.

3) When he said it was the weirdest night of his life, I told him it was the weirdest night of our life too.  I gotta tell ya peeps, I didn't know if I was going to wake up alive!  I mean....I didn't think that when we walked in, but when I couldn't get to sleep the thought crossed my mind.  He was raised by a bitter and angry person. One time our lawyer told us he has never seen someone as angry and bitter as she is/was, after having been divorced that long.  And here's the thing...she divorced him.  She was seeing someone else, who she eventually married...and divorced.  Which leads to my third point.
Anger and bitterness will hurt YOU.  Let the anger go and get on with life.  The last time we were in court, many years ago, you could see the anger/bitter lines on her face.  I've been divorced too, I know what it's like to be wronged in life.

 I've seen too many kids get screwed up because parents argue and talk trash about the other parent to the children.  Stop doing it.  Talk to your friends about the other person, but not the child.  Whether you like it or not, that child loves the person you slept with and conceived him/her with!  Let's face it, at one time you did too.  And just like you taught that child love, you are teaching that child to hate.  You are teaching that child to be angry and bitter. It's not a good feeling.

I will say this....when my Shug's kids were growing up, we did not talk bad about their Mom to them.  We did to others...to our friends and family...but not them.  However, on the balcony, we didn't hold back.  We told him about the "Box of Pain."  In that box are copies of letters, cards, court documents, support payments, etc.  We kept it all. Every bit of it.  And at age 29, he is welcome to it and he knows it.  He can see for himself what we went through, if HE CHOOSES TO DO SO.  We still did not talk bad about her.  We gently told him our side...well....except for the one time when I got in his face!

Anyway, I'll stop now.  I just had to say this because of the damage I've seen.  I hope our relationship with his sons can be repaired.  It'll probably take years if it can even happen.  We still haven't found the older son, but we think he might be in the same town.  

What a vacation huh?  I'm ready for another one!

I will leave you with this....

Someone told me one time there are THREE sides to every story.  His side, her side, and The Truth!

Cindy Bee

16 comments:

  1. Wow. I am so proud of you for sharing this and I really appreciate it. There was definitely an unseen plan in the works here. I think you have offered up some very, very wise advice. I'm praying that a relationship will form in a positive way.

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    1. Thanks Jill. It was hard to share. Took a long time to write and made me all nervous, but it really is close to my heart. Thanks for the prayers.

      Cindy Bee

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  2. How brave of you to search him out and to be honest about what you went through. I hope he wants to continue the relationship and maybe put you in touch with his brother too.

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    1. Brave or stupid...time will tell!

      Cindy Bee

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  3. Oh CINDY WOW what a vacation no margaritas on a beach for sure:)
    My Mom was married before and I have two half sisters I do know what secrets and not dealing with the truth does to children. Bitterness and resentment can build and then before you know it someone dies by their own hands never knowing the way it really was,
    This is a very touchy subject and you said it and handled it very well. Good luck.
    Next time maybe the powers that be will send you to a beach with the margarita.
    On another note there would be a lot of lawyers out of business if the oleander plant tea came back:)(I AM KIDDING for those who do not know me) Hug B

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    1. Hey Buttons, Have you tried those Lime-a-Rita's by Bud Light...They are pretty darn good. I did get to relax later in the week, but the way things are going right now...I need another vacay.
      Oh and btw, there would probably be a lot LESS LAWYERS if oleander tea came back!!! And I'm not kidding!

      Cindy Bee

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  4. Thanks for sharing that Cindy. It's very good advice. Im been through similar with my sister and her husband.

    cheers
    Fi

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    1. Sorry you have to go through it. It's tough. I've also been through it with my brother and his wife, and as you can see, my brother's kids do join us. They grown up and as I said, figured things out for themselves.

      Cindy Bee

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  5. Cindy, You are so right. When raising children...you don't have to be the best friend till they are grown. Divorced or not...parents should parent. I know it's awful how some people have to be tearing the other parent apart in front of the kids. I had a s-i-l who seemed crazy. She and my brother always talk bad about each other in front of the children. Some people love the drama. I think like you said children grow up and will see who was wrong or right...but they need to know they were always loved. I hope Shug's son will think it all over and stay in touch.xoxo,Susie

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  6. it will all come out in the wash..

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    1. Who's got time for washing!

      Cindy Bee

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  7. You did such a beautiful job here, speaking straight and straight from the heart. This is fabulous advice and I'm praying that it will be read and taken to heart! I'm also praying for restoration and relationship for you and your husband's estranged boys..

    Blessings, Debbie

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    1. Thank you Debbie. Thank you, Thank you.

      Cindy Bee

      PS - I thought you weren't coming to 'visit' anymore! teehee

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    1. Thanks Feral woman. I need 'em today. I'm just beat.

      Cindy Bee

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  9. Blessings & Hugs...And a Pitcher of Margarita's, Delivered, Anytime you're ready...

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Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment on my blog. I enjoy reading them. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Cindy Bee