Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun

2006-11-09

Part 2: Rob's first visit

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Okay, so last we heard Caroline was sleeping soundly at night and Ethan was in a forest in Oregon.

Just before the Organized February Kidnapping (OFK also referred to as Ethan's early morning escort) Rob called me from work on a Monday morning and asked if he could stop by for lunch around 1 pm. I thought it was slightly odd, but agreed to it.

He brought Taco Bell for lunch and I put the kids down for their naps. He basically told me he felt like a failure as a parent because Ethan was out of control, he felt that Caroline was steamrolling/emasculating him (those are my words) as a husband and a father and he was in the midst of a spiritual crisis.

Most of the conversation consisted of him filling in details to stories Caroline had already shared with me regarding Ethan. However, his version of events cast him as an innocent bystander when it comes to the state of their family.

This conversation came about four days before the OFK and he mentioned that Caroline was looking into a "brat camp" type of organization and he wasn't so sure he wanted to do that. But he admitted that things were really out of control at home and that he was worried about getting physical himself with Ethan, i.e., he felt he was on the brink of beating the shit out of Ethan.

He then admitted that the previous Easter he had Ethan in a choke hold on the floor of the living room. (What better way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the promise of life ever after?)

The fact that he lost it physically with his son freaked him out and he admitted that he had pulled back from his family emotionally and physically from that point on. He said he didn't trust himself to find a middle ground with that situation. He felt his choices were to pull back completely or be completely immersed in it and re-create the abusive childhood he had. He didn't like Door Number Two so he chose the isolation of Door Number One.

Okay. So I tell him it must be difficult, this family situation, and I know that Caroline can be less than empathetic at times like these.

Then he proceeds to tell me that the conversation we had the last time I saw him and Caroline regarding my evangelization class was really interesting to him. He felt he was currently a lapsed Catholic (our whole family is Catholic) and he was intrigued by what I had mentioned earlier.

He said he and Caroline felt their parish had let them down, the priest was not helpful and they had not attended mass for over a year. (He also said Caroline was really uptight when she found out that I knew they hadn't attended mass for a long time -- I thought that was interesting that she cared about my religious opinion of her.)

So he said he wanted to know more about this class I was taking. So I told him we were working on listening and sharing our own spiritual stories. And that I find it interesting that he approached me regarding this spiritual "drought" of his. The leader of this class had said that God puts these people in your life at a certain time for a certain reason, so maybe I was supposed to share my story with him, now that I have listened to his "story."

So I tell him about a time, maybe three years ago, when I was feeling really isolated from God. My issues revolved around the fact that my mother has Alzheimer's and my brother has a very progressive, debilitating form of Multiple Sclerosis. He is bedridden, cannot feed himself and his personality has really changed, in that he is extremely paranoid, etc.

Again, I have so much to explain and I will get into the details of my mother and brother at a later date, but right now all you need to know is that both of them are in a pretty advanced state of a terminal disease.

So three years ago I kind of had a spiritual smack down with God. I did counseling with my current therapist, I did counseling with my deacon and I did a lot of reading.

I sent a letter to a guest priest who really spoke to me via a homily and that jackass never responded to my heartfelt letter. I told my parish priest about that and he told me to send the letter again. I did. Again, nothing. No response. I stopped attending mass for a good six months after that and bitched to God on a regular basis.

The crazy part of it is that through all of that I just knew God understood me. I felt sort of like I was walking away from Him, but I knew He was okay with that and would not send me to Hell for this. He would wait patiently and be happy when I sorted my shit out and returned, new and improved.

I cannot begin to explain to you how earth-shattering that concept/feeling was for me. I had grown up being taught that God was a vengeful God and that any impure thought, no matter how fleeting, was enough to send you to Hell. For. All. Of. Eternity.

I don't mean to get too Freudian here, but I realized, during that time, that my impression of God was based on my impression of and relationship with my own father. That felt like such a massive breakthrough to me and Paula, my therapist, was like "Oh, yeah. I could have told you that a long time ago. But good for you. You figured that out on your own." Way to deflate me, Paula.

Okay, so something else you need to know about me is that I am extremely private. It's a defense mechanism and I don't share anything of substance with anyone but my husband Bill, my therapist, Paula and Kim (also known as Sister#3). Again, without getting into too much detail right now, I have tried that out in the past and have learned it's best for me to hide my heavy shit except with the three people mentioned above.

So it was a major deal that I shared what I did with Rob. But, I felt like he was sharing with me, God placed him in my life at that time to share my story and maybe I could help him out with the heavy stuff he was dealing with by listening and sharing a bit. Ooh, look at me Evangelize, I thought smugly.

Back to the narrative, though.

I looked at the clock and I realized, damn, it's 3:00 pm. Rob has been here for two hours and I have to pick up my daughter from school. I tell him, okay, I gotta go. Thanks for the taco salad and good luck with all of this stuff.

As he's getting his jacket he says to me, "Is your e-mail private or does Bill see everything that you get?" "No, no my e-mail is not private," I say as bells and whistles are going off in my head. "Thatís why our e-mail is billandconnie94 because it's both of ours."

"Oh," is all he says.

He puts his coat on and then gives me a hug as another red flag is raised in my head. I was surprised and went along with the hug strictly because it caught me off guard. So I was kind of stunned when he held the hug longer than I wanted to. I was pulling away from him as he was holding on to my shoulders. I mentally pushed down the red flag, though, attributing this display of affection as a special one-time-only thing due to the somber subject matter of our conversation.

Normally, Rob and I have a very sarcastic, brotherly/sisterly relationship. We air kiss at holidays only. We never touch each other, not to hug, shake a hand or give a high five. Also, he's 17 years older than me.

At the door he asks me, "Can we keep this conversation between just the two of us? Please donít tell Caroline or Bill, okay?"

"Umm, okay," I answer, again thinking well, I guess I'll treat this as a one-time deal like I'm a quasi-priest at confession. I guess I can do that, as long as this is only a one-time deal.

So we say goodbye and I get my kid from school. That night Bill gets home from work and I say nothing about my conversation with Rob.

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2006-11-09 at 2:46 p.m.

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