Thursday, December 27, 2007


It's Different This Christmas part I

This is really therapy for me. If you're not interested in some fool's situational drama, some of which will sound like whining, you can go somewhere else. I just need to vent to get my head straight.

Last Christmas, I was only 3 months off of a 12 month deployment to Iraq. I was living in Germany, even though my family was living in Texas. They had left Germany early because my wife was having medical and emotional problems. She needed a support network that wasn't available to her in Germany, so I had the Army send her home. I had spent a month with my family in October - block leave. I took another 3 weeks in December and used Space Available flights to get back to the states (they cost $6.95, if you buy the meal). I had to go through Dover, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Austin, TX to get back. Even then, my Dad picked me up in Austin and drove me half way to Abilene so my wife could pick me up. It was a round-about way, but nothing was more important to me than spending time with my family.

I'm the cook for the major holidays. I've got the system down. I make the pies the night before (pumpkin, apple, peach, and others). I know when to start the Turkey, vegetables (green bean casserole), mashed potatoes, and rolls in order for everything to be ready to eat at noon. My wife's family all came over: her mother, 2 of her brothers, her sister from San Antonio, her niece and nephew, in addition to our 3 kids. I say "our" kids because I'm the only Dad they've ever known. Her daughter was 18 months old when we met. She was pregnant with her 1st son when we met. Her 2nd son was (I was told) the product of a rape that occurred while we were in Hawaii.

It was a good Christmas. The kids got the video games and other stuff they wanted. The meal went off with only a small hitch (forgot the gravy). And it was the best Christmas I had had in three years - I had missed Christmas in 2004 (Cuba) and 2005 (Iraq). My wife and I were even on the best terms we'd been on in a long time. The separation seemed to bring us closer together. I went back to Germany right after New Year's. Things couldn't have been better. I was still in Germany, but I was scheduled to return to the States in April. I could move the family in with me and start making up for lost time.

12 days later, my world fell apart.

The phone rang in my apartment in Germany at about 2:30am. That's late evening in Texas. "I'm pregnant" she said. I knew it wasn't mine because it had been years since we'd had sex. That's another story: "It hurts", "I don't like it", "I can't deal with it"(because of the "rape"), "it's too important to you". OK. I went without it to prove that she and the family were more important to me than sex.

Who was it? "Just some guy". Did you love him? "It was just one time - I was drunk". Hadn't I heard that before? Oh yeah, the first rape when she was drunk. Fool me once...Still the family is the most important. I even offered to pass the kid off as mine. She declined. She even offered to let me out scot free: no child support, uncontested divorce, the works. I said, "No". I still wanted to see if there was a way we could salvage things.

After a few months of torture, I went back to Texas in April. I spent time with the kids, and started packing her stuff up in storage. She was going to move in with the guy. OK. Well, she left her computer logged on....that's when I found the pictures of her and the guy from 9 months before - just about the time I sent her home early from Germany. I saw all of the e-mails claiming mutual love for each other (and mutual hate, it was a turbulent relationship). I also found the half-naked pictures of her that he had taken - in the apartment I was paying for. I also found the e-mail that revealed that he had been sleeping in the apartment with her the night before I came the apartment I was paying for...with our kids in the apartment. That's when I finally decided to file for divorce. There's more...but I'll save that for part II. I will say this, though: Christmas without kids sucks. It just serves to remind you how old and alone you are.

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