Wednesday, July 7, 2010


My mom and step-dad have been working on their divorce agreement for over two years. They were weeks away from finalizing the deal. I couldn't wait for the whole damn business to be over and done with.

But then... plot twist! Surprise developments! My step-dad decided that he'd had enough of his new girlfriend. He told my mom that he wanted to put the divorce process on hold, because maybe now he wants to stay married to her.

Santa Maria!

When he told me, I didn't know what to feel first. Happy because they might get back together? Upset because we all had to go through so much pain and then he went and changed his mind? Confused because I don't yet know if this development will make things better or worse?

My mom, of course, has similar mixed emotions, multiplied by a factor of 100. But the bottom line for her, after having had a few weeks to digest the news, is that she's happy. His desire to return to her is flattering, at the very least. He's going to have to do some fancy footwork if he ever wants to move back in with her, but he seems willing to try.

How do I feel about it? So far it seems to be making them both happy, so I'm happy. Tentatively happy, pending God knows what might happen next.

They have always been an odd couple. For every nice thing I've ever heard my mother say about my step-dad, she's tabled twenty complaints. Yet, she insists that she loves him, and thinks the world of him.

For his part, my step-dad has proved to be very difficult to live with. In the past, and I'm guessing this will have to change, he expected my mom to do every speck of housekeeping, including the traditional husbands' jobs of taking out the trash and yardwork. He's also an untidy, disorganized person. When my parents lived together, every spare inch of the house was covered with his stuff. Papers, bags, unopened mail, discarded socks, used plates, etc. My mom would clean up, and within hours the mess would grow back, like mushrooms spontaneously springing up after rain.

He seems to be constitutionally incapable of overcoming this problem. His brain just isn't wired to catagorize and control the physical world. I do believe that this is the case, that he's not just being a selfish jerk. He's both brilliant and eccentric, like one of those absent-minded professors who win the Nobel prize in chemistry and then go out in public with their pants on backwards.

My mother is wired for tidiness. A place for everything and everything in its place. Of course his messiness drives her crazy.

Another thing they differ on is public perception. My mom spends a lot of her time worrying about What Other People Think. My step-dad just does his thing, his eccentric, sometimes embarrassing thing, without a care in the world. For example, Scene: My parents enter a restaurant. There are no empty, cleared tables, so they sit down at one that still has plates on it from the previous diners. My step-dad begins to eat leftover french fries off one of the plates. My mom wishes she could put her head inside her purse and crawl under the table.

(He's also been known to lick his finger and press it against the surface of a dirty restaurant table to gather cake crumbs, then lick his finger to eat the crumbs. Judge if you must. )

These are some of the reasons why I'm not jumping for joy. How much have they each changed? How much room for adaptation is there as they rediscover their lost love? That remains to be seen. Certainly there are many ways in which they may still irritate each other. So. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

The restaurant thing, yes, I'm judging. C'mon!!! That can't be real. You're making that up. Unless the guy is from some poorer than poor as dirt third world country and it's his very first time in a restaurant, then that behaviour is completely unexceptable.

Jameil said...

Wow... But I can't say I didn't expect this. You don't know what you've got til it's gone. I hope they can both get peace in whatever their final decision is.

Jenski said...

I hope your step-dad's change of heart is not due to his change in heart. (I didn't plan the pun, but it just worked out that way.) I can imagine being faced with a difficult health situation wanting to fall back on what makes life easier and comfortable (because I've been there). So whatever happens with their marriage/divorce, I hope both of your parents take to time to figure out what will be best for them and their relationship!

DarcsFalcon said...

What an interesting change of plans! I mean, was it the girlfriend, the medical diagnosis, age?

Yes, they have a lot to figure out, but life is short and hopefully they'll come to some kind of understanding soon. Clearly they still care about each other a great deal, especially if your mom is even willing to take him back after being cheated on.

Maybe they'll just date long term because she doesn't want to pick up after him anymore, or she'll make him hire maid service, heheh. I wish them both happiness, and you sanity thorough this time! :)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I truly hope if it makes you mother happy that things work out. With that said I would have such a number of trust issues that I can't even begin to wrap my head around the situation.

LL Cool Joe said...

"He's both brilliant and eccentric, like one of those absent-minded professors who win the Nobel prize in chemistry and then go out in public with their pants on backwards."

Sounds like my brother! Although he wouldn't eat left overs off someone elses plate!

I hope they get back together for the right reasons. Maybe your Step Dad just realises he messed up with your mother and really wants her back. It happens.

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: I only wish that I was making it up. So does my mom.

Jameil: I wasn't expecting it at all. I was completed taken by surprise, but in a good way. At the very least he's not going to marry the awful girlfriend. I never even had to meet her. Hurray!

Jenski: I should have specified: my parents started their reconciliation before my step-dad got the news about his heart. Which is a good thing, so we can all be sure there are no ulterior motives at work.

DarcsFalcon: I think it was just that the novelty wore off with the new girlfriend, and he decided he'd much rather get back to my mom than start dating strangers. He didn't get the news about his heart condition until after he decided to approach my mom about re-uniting. (I confused the matter by writing about the events in the reverse order.)

Ron: I'm not sure how she's going to work out the trust issues. I would have a hard time myself.

LL Cool Joe: I think your assessment is sound.
I've always liked very smart, eccentric people. I have a high tolerance for inappropriate behaviour on account of my upbringing. It makes life interesting.

Ily said...

You paint a realistic picture of both of them. A few couples I know come to mind and they still happen to be together (my parents' friends).

Eccentricity is wonderful; however, that type can be fickle (as you know) who's to say he will want her once he has her again? I'm not a big fan of men who come and go with their emotions like that, but at least your step dad is being honest. Right?

I wish your mom the very best and it's nice to know that she feels flattered. I'd tell her to make him sweat it out a little. ;)