I held onto the anger at the woman in my seat for longer than I'd like to admit. If my ex had left me for her, my feelings would have seemed justified. But, he didn't. Still, I clung to anger like a drowning man hangs onto a log bobbing in the ocean.
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Thinking back on the scene several years later, she was enthusiastic, eager, bubbly and fresh. I was threatened. Deep down, I was terrified that my children would trade in their old and boring mom for "supermom 2000" — a new and improved mom. She brought out my deepest, darkest insecurities; I became hardened and resentful. 28 Dos & Don'ts Of Divorced Parenting
I hated her for being nice to my kids; I hated her when I picked up my younger son and he didn't want to leave because they were laughing and eating popcorn together; I hated her because I saw my older son talking to her in an animated and smiley way, only minutes after he had given me the cold shoulder; I hated her because she cheered enthusiastically at soccer games and insisted on going to school conferences.
Through the distorted lens of jealousy and insecurity, I saw her as a manipulative person who was trying to steal my kids away. It was especially hard at first, during their honeymoon period. She was working hard to make things work. They were going on outings, having family game nights and generally having lots of fun.
They bought a new home and were busy settling in. They were excited and happy. When I would pick up the boys, I couldn't help but feel like I had dropped in on the stepfamily version of the Cleavers.
But honeymoons can only last so long. It was when theirs ended that some drops of compassion started to seep into my bitter heart.
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My younger son, approaching adolescence, started being disrespectful to the woman in my seat. I remembered how my older son acted at that age. According to the stories, she was handling the situation with my younger son the same way I handled it with my older son, i.e. very poorly.