Tonight was a girl’s night out with friends. Dinner, a few drinks, and then the conversation really got rolling. Listening to the recent details of everyone’s lives, what their children have been up to and the dilemmas some of us are facing brought to me a sigh of relief. The back and forth chatter enlightened my own daily drama of family, kids, and an EX husband. One conversation that seemed to get a lot of attention was regarding cell phones. Who knew a conversation about cell phones would bring anger, frustration, opinions and a lot of advice.
A newly divorced friend was aggravated that her EX was constantly calling her home looking for their children.
“He knows he can contact the kids at any time on their phones, I don’t understand why he has to bother calling me.”
Oh, how I remember this frustration! And actually, the frustration, and calling, still exists in my life.
When my children were younger, my EX demanded that I get a cell phone for each of them. Why was he so insistent?
As he constantly reminded me…
“I want to avoid speaking to you.”
Believe me, speaking to him was not on my priority list either. When my EX’s phone number displayed on our phone, I would get a chill up the back of my spine. His calls always ended with degrading comments towards me and, of course, the back and forth arguing between us.
To avoid confrontation and to fulfill his request of not speaking to each other, I would yell out to the kids in desperation for someone to answer the phone. I found myself constantly yelling and pleading for anyone to just pick up his call. I went as far as bribing the kids with money. Every bribe got higher in value just in the hope that someone would relieve me of answering his call. Okay, so this wasn’t the best parenting skill but it saved me from his bullying, continuous calls, and relieved both of us of speaking to each other. That ringing black box haunted my every existence. I have to admit, listening to his frustrated tone and angry messages when I let his call go to voicemail did bring me much joy.
Why the kids would not pick up the phone is beyond me.
Every night I heard myself saying, “Will someone pick up the phone?”
“I’m busy, Mom.”
“I’m doing my homework, Mom.”
“I’m in the bathroom, Mom.”
“I’m sleeping, Mom.”
The kids had a list of excuses to avoid the simple task of answering a phone and saying hello.
Not picking up the phone did come with consequences; nasty emails and even letters to my attorney accusing me of isolating our children from their father.
To avoid false accusations and attorney bills, I finally gave in to his demand and purchased each of our children a cell phone.
I hoped that giving in to his demand would bring me some relief from his torture, relief from the constant ringing, and relief from everyone screaming at each other for someone else to pick up the phone!
Some peace of mind did come with giving into his demand but it was very short lived. Nine years, and many lost cell phones later, my EX continues to call my home looking for our children.
When he does call my home, I get such enjoyment in saying to him, “Call the kids on their CELLLL PHONES.”
The advice we all offered to our friend tonight did lighten her drama. As the laughter and chatter started to quiet down, one of our friends lifted her glass and made a toast.
“Here’s to your EXES and for their need to call you just to hear your voices!”