Phils, I Am so Mad at You

 

Phils, I Am So Mad at You

Phil and I had a good marriage–a great marriage–for 23 years, but neither of us was perfect. I would say and truly believe that he was a bettter person than I am still. We had staying power and we were both committed to our marriage through thick and thin, but there were hard times. There were many times when I felt lonely, invisible, last priority, and less of a woman. It wasn’t intentional often, but we had more children than most and Phil was an incredibly hard worker. Make no mistake, we were involved in everything our children did and during 23 years of marriage, Phil was deployed nearly half of the first 12 years of our marriage. When he was home, he knew that he had one chance to be a good father. Since he was raised with absent parents, he craved the family he always wanted. So often, I got lost in the shuffle.

We married just after Phil’s 21st birthday. I had three children from my first marriage and their birth father chose not to be involved at any level. Phil was the only dad my three children knew (and the two that were added to the family)–he was simply dad. We did things as a family because there were no other choices. We chose for me to stay at home and as an enlisted man with five children, we certainly lacked any money to have couple time. I waited. Waited for it to be my turn.

My birthday was more often forgotten and when it was remembered, it was remembered at the key birthdays to tell me how old I was getting. I saw (and see) the wrinkles etching my face. While I never felt old (still don’t), the numbers tell the truth. In the craziness of giving to everyone else, I was often the person whose birthday or key days got lost which made me feel like I did not matter except as a mom sometimes. I always figured that the day would come and the children would grow up and that Phil would see me again and want just time for the two of us. See, we were great friends. We were the unit that stood strong together and Phil and I were one deep. It was simply the two of us. I figured the day would come when he would give me bells and whistles in terms of trips just the two of us. I thought that one day he would stop chasing his youth and seeing me as old. I thought that one day he would realize that it hurt me every time he blew off the key days or that he made everyone else a priority other than me.

That day came when he finally remembered my birthday, yet he was not alive to see the gutwrenching reaction I still have. I did not want him to deploy and he did not have to deploy. While I do believe that if it is a person’s time to go, it is their time to go regardless of geographical location, I never, never could imagine a fate worse than the one he met. He chose to deploy on his quest to get ahead, for job stability, to mentor cadets and his children, and to prove his vitality to the military. He had his eyes and teeth fixed just before the deployment and he went on an extreme health kick. At the same time, he was a full time student, working full time, and trying to spend as much time as he could with the youngest child (because the youngest wanted the mentorship). there was no room for me. I was patient and the day came about four months into the deployment when Phil wanted to work on us and to work on the relationship minus children. In ernest, he began to pursue me again. He promised that things would be different. Damn you, Phil, for waiting so long. When his things came home, 20 unwritten cards came home with it (the miss you/love you cards). More than that, he had been working on surprises for my 50th birthday–jewelery, scarves, trinkets). He was going to hit it out of the ball park and he never got the opportunity.

So, here I am…weeks away from the next pivotal birthday and I feel beaten. Listen, Phil….I am cranky at myself for never speaking up. I should have. I knew you loved me, but I deserved to be shown once in awhile. I deserved to be priority one once in awhile. Granted, I will tell you that I fell short every day, but why in the heck did we wait so long to enjoy the station of life that we had finally achieved? Why did I make it so damn easy for you to make me priority last? Why didn’t I feel like I could speak up? Why did I let you make me feel old? The onus is on me. I own my feelings, but I let 23 years slide by allowing your star to shine and for you to do what you needed to do. I do not think it was a bad thing, but I was more than a homemaker and more than a good mother. I was your best cheerleader, your foil, your helpmate.

I am tired and feel like less. I don’t feel lovable today. I have never been angry at you, Phil, but I am this week. Listen, I know your eyes lit up when I walked into a room and I know that we were truly the best of friends, but I also wanted your undivided attention at times. I wanted to feel special. I wanted to feel like I was worth celebrating once in awhile. If you were alive, I know that we would have figured it out because even you recognized that we needed one on one time once you deployed. That Venice trip that was your idea? You had so many grand slam ideas and gestures that you never got to see. I wish you would have. I wish we hadn’t waited so damn long. I wish you could see how much I have changed. I no longer can wait when I care about people. I no longer stand mute in the shadows. You deserved the Linda I changed into. You deserved more.

Comments

  1. Marie Edwards says:

    Linda, I have never been in your shoes but I so feel for you. You both were young when you married and I bet, if the truth was known, Phil might have felt that you paid more attention to the 3, then 5, children than to him and you would have had to. But he left you a legacy of devotion with as much as he could. I used to have some of the same feelings and I did not speak up. If I had I am not sure that Steve would have understood as he was developing his business. It is sad that Phil does not see the Linda that you have become but it is nothing less than what he expected. HE believed in you so much. YOU were the capable woman he loved. And hedid.

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