For Part I, read here. For Part II, read here.
Yesterday started off well. I deposited Franny at the Y for her Saturday morning yoga class, then headed off to start my long weekend to myself. I met a friend for coffee, took a jog, and was about to launch into some writing when I got an SOS call from Luca asking me to pick him up from his dad’s.
I had previously told Luca that if things got hairy at Prince’s, he should call me immediately, and I would fetch him. Luca had insisted he couldn’t do this because he was afraid his dad would confiscate his stuff. Since Luca was now risking the confiscation of said stuff, I knew something ugly had gone down at Villa di Machiavelli.
I pulled up outside the house to find Luca waiting in the driveway with most of his wordly possessions: surfboard, longboard, remote control airplane, suitcase, duffel bag and backpack. Prince came outside, looking a bit shaken, and announced that he would be e-mailing me about the “perameters” of Luca staying with me for awhile. He then handed me a newspaper article about children and busy streets, in case I hadn’t heard that they shouldn’t play in them.
I closed my car door and glanced over the top of the surfoard at Luca. He and I and all his stuff were packed in my Prius like sardines.
“So what happened?” I asked.
“My dad told me I was being disrespectful. We got in a big fight. I told him he and Sarah said mean things about me and you. Then Sarah called you a ‘fucking lunatic.‘”
“Well, I guess she proved your point,” I said, driving around the corner and up the winding hillside that would take us home.
“Then when I said things were so mucb better at your place, she screamed, ‘then why don’t you go live with your mom?!’ So I said, ‘okay,’ and went back to my room and started packing.”
“What did they say?”
“They were all –” Luca bugged out his eyes and waved his hands around his face. “I don’t think they expected that I’d go to your house, like it was no big deal.”
“Sarah really called me a fucking lunatic?”
“Yeah. Oh, and get this! “She told me, ‘your mom doesn’t love you quite enough to get a 3-bedroom.'”
Luca started cackling.
“What?!'” I sputtered.
It’s one thing to call your stepson’s mother a fucking lunatic. Poor judgment, and not classy, but awful things are blurted out in the heat of an argument. It’s another level of awfulness, however, to tell your stepson that his mother doesn’t love him because she can’t afford an apartment with a bedroom for him.
It’s conceivable that Prince, whose silver spoon is permanently lodged in his mouth, can’t fathom how a therapist would not be able to afford a 3-Bedroom apartment in one of the priciest cities in the country. But Sarah has worked her whole life. She’s an executive at a large company and makes $250,000 a year. She has to know how I’m struggling without child support.
So the fact that she would attempt to feed Luca such complete and utter bullshit is heinous. Before this, I had allowed myself the wishful thinking that Sarah was a decent person with a really big blind spot. But any woman who would spin something so patently manipulative, who would say about the worst thing you could ever say to a child — that his mother doesn’t love him — deserves a blue ribbon in the Evil Stepmother competition.
“So where was Franny when Sarah was caling me a fucking lunatic who didn’t love you?”
“In her room. I don’t think she heard anything.”
“Right,” I said, drily.
* * *
As I write this, it is Sunday morning. Luca is asleep on the chaise, along with the cats. I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m., chanelling Gandhi, and trying to sweep away the fantasy of whacking Sarah upside the head with a two-by-four. I have not yet received the e-mail explaining the “perameters” of Luca’s extended visit, but it promises to be entertaining.
To be continued…
Elizabeth Burke says
Ugh! I have been following you closely since Luca has decided he’s unhappy living with his dad. I would be filled with a white, hot rage if someone ever said this to my son. Her freak-out is telling, I think. something is unnerving her, I would love to be a fly on that wall to see what is causing her to crack. Desperate women say desperate things and her reaction to Lucas newfound ability to reason on a more mature level is really throwing her for a loop. Prince’s Kool-aid might not be going so smooth anymore.
Pauline Gaines says
I think having Luca there cramps her high-living style. And she may be upset at the possibility that he will have to pay child support. That might mean they can only charter the 100 square foot yacht instead of the 150 square foot yacht.
Lisa Thomson says
Good for Luca for packing up and getting away from their verbal abuse! Step Mommy blew it and she may not recover in Luca’s eyes. She’s probably being brainwashed by listening to Prince’s constant drivel about you and the divorce. I enjoy reading your posts, Pauline as you write like I’m in the middle of the drama with you. I will stay tuned and hope you and Luca and Franny are all doing okay in spite of these recent events.
Pauline Gaines says
I want to say “you are so lucky, I am so happy for you” but I know Prince will continue to make your life hell. I feel like I am losing Grant, like more and more of the real “him” is being sucked out and replaced byTed’s narcissism. It feels like nothing I say anymore even gets in. I wish you the best of luck. You emotionally have your baby back and that is huge.
Pauline Gaines says
Thanks, Bella –best of luck to you too.
Rachel Lipman says
Her outburst may be one of the best things that’s ever happened during one of Luca’s visits. She has revealed her true evil stepmother self (think the witch falling off the mountain in Snow White.) And you should be so proud of yourself for remaining calm, remaining loyal to your child, and offering him the trust and the patience to figure things out on his own – which he has, and he will repay you with love and gratitude for being a REAL mom for the rest of your life.
Pauline Gaines says
Thanks, Rachel. I’m just really grateful he’s learning to think for himself.
Angela Edwards says
Pauline, Do you know what got me the most? The newspaper article. It really made me laugh (as opposed to cry) because it’s the kind of thing that’s hard for other people to get. The constant condescension that is so ludicrous it is amazing that they can take themselves seriously, and yet they do. (Hmmmm….was that what started the fight? Prince lecturing Luca about the dangers of skateboarding in the street or somethiing? Funny that he had that article in hand like that.)
Sara doesn’t have to know anything– in order to love Machievelli, she’s bought in. She colludes because she needs to believe in her man and that automatically means she can’t believe in you, so she doesn’t try. Also, the worlds of those who make $250,000 and the worlds of those making a small fraction of that are too different for much relating. She’s just usually more tactful about hiding it from you. You CHOOSE to make so little money that you can’t afford a three bedroom apartment. My ex calls it my ‘lifestyle’ choice.
This is my guess anyway based upon my own failings– men are naturals at dividing and conquering women. My ex had me incensed over the wrongs his ex-wife did him in court– and she was dead! He said that she showed up to court in a wheelchair JUST TO GET SYMPATHY (she had severe diabetes, was awaiting a liver transplant, and her body’s rejection of the new liver is what ultimately killed her). After I started to experience his punishment for leaving, I went to the courthouse and read their divorce file (I got a bit worried that maybe HE’D killed her). He’d said the court had ordered him to pay her alimony and medical insurance for life– after only 2 years of marriage– and the only reason he didn’t still have to pay was that she had died. The truth was that he’d been ordered to pay those things for only 2 years anyway. He seemed like such a nice guy, I didn’t question his truthfulness. I guess my point is that it’s easy to be stupid when you think you’ve got a super nice guy in front of you. And it’s hard to believe in the woman you don’t know at all.
I wish I could say that it was the first time a man had lulled me into believing that his story about an ex-girlfriend or wife was perfectly true. It’s a really big blind spot. But with men like this, there comes a day when you wake up one morning and think, “Oh.” and you start imagining HER point. So, you can choose to feel empathy for Sarah even though she doesn’t have any for you– you know the husband she’s got– and she didn’t even need the money! These blind spots always broadside you later.
Then again, maybe she is evil and they deserve each other. In that case, when she gets broadsided, she’ll deserve it but that will never occur to her.
Pauline Gaines says
Your ex sounds like a doozy! I did, actually, get a 2 line e-mail from Sarah apologizing for “losing composure”. But I would have lost my composure if I responded, so I didn’t. 🙂
Jocelyn Simon says
what does Prince think of her behavior? did he want his son to be dared to leave?
Jane Thrive says
OMG this is just crazy. I’m so sorry you guys are living with this craziness. My ex says similar things about $$ to my small children (pre school and elementary age, mind you) and it boggles my brain. These people are nutjobs who care more about themselves than the children 🙁