Feeling Mortal

Today’s my birthday.

I’m 45, if I’m figuring correctly. Something like that. And I’m feeling my mortality, not because I really care how many years I’ve been alive, or even how many more I have left. I’m feeling mortal because my world is bashed in like an old box that holds some of your favorite things but fell off the moving truck on the highway.

The overwhelmingly most important thing about my birthday is this: I’m not spending it with my son.

This is, literally, my own fault, because my ex offered to swap days this week to accommodate my birthday, and I declined. I’m planning to celebrate with him when he’s back in a few days, and I really don’t care much when the day is celebrated, just that I get to celebrate with him.

So, then why is the fact that he’s not here today the “overwhelmingly most important thing?”

Simply because life has brought me to this point, at all. There used to be no question about whether I’d get to be with my kid on my birthday, or his, or Christmas, or Saturday. Now, it’s an issue to be decided, to be bartered with, to dwell on.

So, really, the important thing isn’t that he’s not here on my birthday…it’s that he’s not here.

Add to that the Damoclesean blade hanging overhead that is the custody fight, and my ex’s stance that she should have him 75% of the time, and the dreary fact that instead of doing something enjoyable today, on my birthday, which I’m not going to spend with my son, I’m being forced to do legal discovery paperwork to defend the time I do still have with him (and defend his desire and right to have equal relationships with his parents)…and I sort of feel too soul weary to give much of a damn that I was born on any particular day a lifetime ago.

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Fractured Holidays

It’s been a weird holiday season.

As some of you know, in May I moved out of our family house and my soon to be ex and I have been splitting custody of my son 50/50. The divorce is in progress, a constant source of joy in my life, as you can imagine. Nonetheless, things are largely amiable between my soon to be ex (soon2bX? Maybe I can get that bit of 733t speak going), and my son has adjusted wonderfully.

So this is the first holiday season of our fractured family life. We spent the first several months of the year in mediation working out in tedious detail an agreement that the soon2bX has largely torn, shredded, and shat upon, but in that agreement we’d planned for my son to be here, at my new place, for Christmas this year.

As we got closer to the season, we realized that, if we stayed with our usual schedule, she’d have him for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, though I’d have him for the other five days of the week. I suggested we just do the holiday as a family this year (we did that for Thanksgiving, and it went well), and I’d just come to the house on Christmas Day.

So that’s what we did. I told my son to call me when he got up, and I’d head right over, because I didn’t want to miss anything. He called at 1:50 am. I headed right over, because I’m game and, as I said, I didn’t want to miss anything.

As you can imagine, it made for a very long day. Naps were taken by the older two of our trio. But we had a great time, because we always functioned very well as a family, even though my romantic relationship with my wife was as vibrant as that between two corpses. Who never knew each other. Buried in different cemeteries. In different nations. On different planets. Ah, good times.

Now, the fracturing of the holidays gets even more granular, as it’s New Year’s Eve, and within the hour I’m due at the house for dinner…then we’re all coming back here to my apartment to hang out, play Little Big Planet, watch something maybe, listen to tunes, and welcome the blessed year when we get rid of the worst damn president this country has ever had. It’ll be a good time.

But still, there’s some psycho-spiritual whiplash, all the jumping back and forth, and the times my son isn’t around are shadowy. I feel even more mortal than usual, and I feel pretty damn mortal as a general rule.

But hey, I’ll be seeing him in about forty minutes, and my year will begin in his presence. And that should chase some shadows away.

Happy New Year.