The featured photo is another I took of a very fragrant bush in our neighborhood, as I walked my “furkid”, Noyzi. Just so you know, it pains me to write “furkid”. He’s my baby, but I don’t think of him in that way. Guess it’s my pragmatic side.
This morning, I decided to write a travel post about our progress in booking our summer vacation. It’s not surprising to me, but traveling in Scandinavia and the surrounding areas is EXPENSIVE. And that’s pretty much what the post is about, along with the hassles of using an American credit card in Europe. I’m not trying to complain, though… I knew it was going to be expensive. We’ve been to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden before. This trip is going to be especially luxe, and it’s going to last for about sixteen days. So yeah, we’re shelling out lots of money, although I found out this morning I could have shelled out a lot less. The price of the cruise we booked last week dropped significantly this week. Such is life.
As Bill and I have gotten older, I’ve found that I have less interest in traveling on a shoestring budget. And though Bill is a lot more tolerant of being uncomfortable, he’s come aboard the luxury train with me. 😉 Seriously, though. No one can ever accuse us of not having the experience of traveling on the cheap. I once spent three days on an Armenian bus to Istanbul. Three days with no showers, no bed, and lots of outside pit stops made less painful with someone else’s vodka. I lived for two years with no hot water and, often, no electricity.
Bill has been to actual war zones. I probably don’t need to say much more about that.
So yes, although we travel more like royalty these days, we definitely punched our budget cards along the way to get to where we are. As long as we can actually afford the travel and aren’t going into debt to do it, I don’t think there’s a problem. One main reason why we can afford such travel is because we don’t own a house, nor do we pay college tuition, or for orthodontia.
And… although Bill has two daughters, they haven’t really been in our lives. That wasn’t our choice. That was a choice their mother made on their behalf, when they were still kids. Bill paid generous child support for years, and that was pretty much the only part of “parenthood” I’ve personally experienced. Since it wasn’t really my money, nor did I have anything to do with the marriage failing, or the ensuing parental alienation campaign, I can barely say it was my experience. Not having children in our lives was a byproduct of an unfortunate decision Bill made years ago, having kids with a very selfish person who loves power and revenge more than she loves her children.
Now… having stated that, I want to make it clear. Bill loves his daughters and certainly doesn’t regret having them. He just would have been better of having them with me, instead of Ex. Because if he’d had his daughters with me, they very likely would have had much better childhoods. At the very least, they’d know their father, and have a less toxic relationship with their mother. As it stands now, my husband’s older daughter is still estranged from him, and his younger daughter, who has chosen to reconnect, is getting to know us both.
My husband’s younger daughter is a very lovely young woman and a fantastic mother. I’m glad I’m getting to know her, especially since I had a very bad first impression. It turns out she’s very much Bill’s daughter, and has his kind disposition. I wish I knew her better. I wish she could have been my daughter. I would have been proud to be her mom. But she’s not my daughter, and I am not her mother.
I always wanted to have children, and expected that I would have them. But having children obviously wasn’t in the cards for me. I’m grateful that I chose not to force the issue by either having children with a person (or people) I didn’t love, or resorting to medical means to have them. I know other people have made different choices. I don’t judge them for their choices. They just weren’t choices that were good ones for me, personally.
Why am I writing about this today? It’s mainly because as I was putting the finishing touches on our vacation, I saw a couple of things on Facebook that set me to thinking. One was a rather offensive meme someone shared. She is someone from my past, who married a man with children. Their mom died a few years ago, so she’s taken over the motherhood role. Today, she shared the below photo, though the children were way beyond babyhood when she married their father.
On the surface, this seems kind of like a sweet, comforting message, until you consider that some mothers are pretty terrible people. And some people who don’t have children are pretty wonderful people. I don’t think it really has much to do with God’s choices. Instead, it has a lot to do with very human choices, some of which are good, and some of which are tragically bad.
Nothing against my friend, who has taken on quite a challenge that involved a big lifestyle adjustment. But I totally disagree with the sentiment shared in the above photo, and I find it kind of triggering. I don’t want to be offensive, though, so I’m writing about how that photo makes me feel here, instead of on Facebook. Maybe she’d be upset that I’m writing this post… but I think I’m showing her more consideration than she’s showing people like me. 😉
I consider Bill’s decision to have children with his ex wife a terrible tragedy, mainly because he’s a loving, warm, nurturing, caring, and generous man, who would have loved to have had the chance to raise his children. Instead, he was replaced by Ex’s third husband, with whom she had more kids. Today, his younger daughter is getting to know the man she was denied the chance to know when she needed him the most. That opportunity to know Bill is a saving grace, but it’s a small comfort. She should have had him in her life the whole time, whether or not I was the one “chosen by God” to be her mother.
The second part of this post is inspired by an article I read on the God page. Lately, God has mostly been sharing “Am I The Asshole” posts, but today there was an article about a woman who went viral on Tik Tok for sharing about why she’s glad she’s “childfree”. I can personally attest to the fact that being “childfree” is a pretty good thing, especially in this era of random shootings. It wasn’t what I planned for myself, but it’s not a bad way to live at all. A lot of people have children so there’s someone to look after them when they’re elderly, but there’s no guarantee that a person’s children will do that for them. And, as I pointed out, in this era of random shootings and public health emergencies, there’s no guarantee that they’ll even be around for the job when the time comes. That’s also a pretty crappy reason to have kids. People should have children because they want to be parents, and wish to love and nurture children.
Although there will always be a twinge of regret, in my case, that I didn’t get to experience parenthood, I can also state that not having children also isn’t the end of the world. I’m grateful that I’m not a very religious person, because I think messages like the one in that photo can be extremely damaging and hurtful to people who buy into the idea that children are “gifts to the ‘worthy’ from God.” Life is hard enough without people feeling like they need to prove “God’s favor” by having a boatload of children… especially if they aren’t really suited for the task of raising them.
As for younger daughter, I continue to be amazed at what a kind, patient, loving mom she is to her three children. They are lucky to have her, and I know Bill is very proud of both of his daughters, even though one of them doesn’t deign to speak to him anymore. I guess, if God was involved in younger daughter’s being here, maybe it was so she could be a great mom to her own kids. But if God had anything to do with her birth, I also wonder what she did to “deserve” having an abusive, neglectful, narcissistic mother who has a habit of making her children divorce their fathers.
Younger daughter has said that talking to her mother gives her nightmares. Did God “choose” younger daughter to endure that kind of hell, as God supposedly “chose” Ex to be her mother because she was the “best” one for the job? And looking at that message again, how does it make younger daughter feel to know that God “decided” Ex was the “best” mother for her? See what I mean? That is a very TOXIC message for MANY people whose mothers weren’t loving and nurturing.
Go on YouTube and listen to videos about what it means to be raised by a narcissistic mother. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Honestly, though… I think sharing a photo like the one above could be a sign of narcissism. Ex has often mentioned how God has “smiled” on her by giving her five children, whom she has no problem using to achieve her own aims.
Below is a video H.G. Tudor posted about the potential future for Archie and Lilibet. I’m not sharing this because I think Meghan Markle is a narcissist (because while I do suspect she is, I don’t know for sure). I just think H.G. Tudor did a good job explaining what life is like for the child(ren) of a narcissistic mother.
And another for good measure…
Now… it has been pointed out to me, more than once, that Bill’s daughters are my stepdaughters. Technically, yes, it’s true that they are… or they were, anyway, before their mother (allegedly) got them adopted as adults by #3. But the reality is, I have only met them in person once, and that was twenty years ago. And really, I haven’t had the chance to be a mom figure to them, so I don’t see how I can call myself a stepmother, as opposed to their biological father’s wife.
If the meme above is true, I would hope that God would have done a better job of choosing their mother. I think a loving and just God would have picked a mother who would not have saddled her children with a parent who deliberately complicates her children’s relationships in the way that Ex has, mainly due to her own insecurities and selfish aims. Ex’s three eldest children have all changed their original surnames at least once. Former stepson had his birth name changed when he was a toddler; then it was changed again when he became an adult. Bill’s daughters’ names were changed to #3’s when they were both over 18, and younger daughter changed hers again when she married.
Am I really to believe that Ex was chosen by a loving God to do the “best” job of raising her kids? Sorry, but common sense and my ability to think logically both refuse to allow me to believe that.
Anyway, I have chores to get to, including the dreaded Thursday vacuuming. It’s time to close this post. I’m not complaining… I have a good life, and I know it. I just wish people would think a little bit longer before they share some of the things they do on social media.