New here and not familiar with this series? Catch up!
ANATOMY OF A DISASTER
“This isn’t supposed to be my life, you know.”
Sarah didn’t want to talk about the divorce just yet, and had started crying.
“When I got married I was sure it was forever. I wanted to be a wife and mom and grow old with Sam. Does it sound stupid to say this isn’t fair?”
“Of course not,” I replied, “but your life isn’t over.”
Archie jumped on Sarah’s lap and sniffed her jealously, wondering who these other dogs were who left their scent on his friend.
“Once you are ready to start dating, you will have lots of opportunities to be disappointed by men again. Who knows, maybe your next husband will be a closeted gay man, or a sociopathic serial killer!”
I got a smile out of her with that one.
“Let’s set aside your complaints that life isn’t fair for a moment and talk about the children’s estrangement from their father. How did it start?”
Sarah sighed and rolled her eyes.
“The vacation,” she said. “That’s when everything really fell apart.”
The Vacation from Hell
This sub-story within the story is important, because it illustrates how confused and scared the children were and Samantha’s choice to put her own needs before those of her kids.
Katie and Chris were understandably struggling with their father’s announcement that he was going to transition from Sam to Samantha. Any teenager will have a hard enough time with a divorce, but if you throw gender change into the mix you’ve got to expect some difficulties to arise.
But the kids were trying. After all, they loved their dad.
Sam proposed a two-week trip with his family but Katie and Chris were hesitant. However, they met with Sam and a therapist and agreed to the vacation on one condition:
The entirety of the time was to be spent with Sam.
They were not ready to be with Samantha yet. Sam promised his kids that Samantha would not make an appearance.
I think you all are smart enough to guess what happened.
Samantha did indeed make a dramatic appearance and to say the vacation turned sour at that point is quite an understatement.
The trip started badly.
Sam arrived to pick up the kids and even though he and Sarah had been cordial in recent interactions, on this June day he was furious. Sarah asked him what was wrong but he refused to speak with her or get out of the car.
Unbeknownst to the children, the family they were having dinner with had moved to a town about 85 miles away. Already unhappy about the long drive, the kids became more upset when Sam spoke openly about Samantha with his friends, and when the kids were in the next room, trashed their mother.
Unbelievably, Sam was angry that Sarah wanted a divorce. Like a true victim-mentality narcissist, he had already developed the position that everything bad that had happened and was to follow was Sarah’s fault.
Obviously, this was a poor start to the vacation.
At some point in the next two days, Sam asked his daughter if she would go to the nail salon with Samantha; an activity they had done a couple times before but with which Katie was very uncomfortable. Like any loving person, she didn’t like upsetting her dad, and when Sam felt rejected he cried.
Like, a lot.
Samantha is a big-time weeper. I think I can hear her crying right now, in fact. I assume taking massive doses of women’s hormones will do that to you, because I know what an emotional teary bitch I can be every 28 days or so.
Not wanting to make her dad cry, again, Katie acquiesced and accompanied Samantha to the salon. Samantha then refused to change clothes and dinner with both kids did not include the dad that had been promised to them.
I’m trying to be sympathetic because this is a terrible struggle and I can understand wanting to finally be yourself after years of living a lie.
He promised. He promised while sitting with those two kids in a therapist’s office that they would have two weeks with their father.
He lied to them, and he broke his promise. And I for one cannot imagine what he was thinking.
He had 40+ years to come to terms with his true gender and be honest with who he was, but he expected his children to adjust overnight.
That’s selfish, arrogant, and narcissistic.
Children must be put first in situations like these and they must be able to believe their parents when promises are made.
/climbs down from soapbox
The Shit Show
The next morning Sarah received a text from Katie. She had forgotten to bring her violin and wanted Sarah to bring it to her so she could play it for her family.
Sarah contacted Sam and let him know she was coming the next day and he said that was fine.
Then, (in a bizarre turn of events that makes perfect sense in hindsight because Sam and Samantha do not operate on the same plane of reality as the rest of us), Sam claimed that he had no idea she was coming.
He was absolutely livid when Sarah arrived and accused her of showing up unannounced and trying to steal his time with the kids.
When Sarah went to leave, Katie was in the car and wouldn’t budge.
She wanted to go home. She was not happy about Samantha’s appearance on the vacation and she refused to get out of the car.
There was yelling. There was wailing. There was probably gnashing of teeth, for all I know. It was quite a scene, with Sam calling his mom to come over and Sarah getting her sister Carrie on the phone to talk with Katie.
Carrie is calm, thoughtful, and wise. Both Sam and Sarah depended upon her counsel during difficult times, as did the kids.
Sam stormed out to the car, demanding to know what was going on, and Sarah handed him the phone.
“Talk to Carrie, please. Katie told her how she feels but she does not feel comfortable talking to you. She wants to go home. You promised Samantha would take a backseat to the kids but you went back on that promise.”
Furious, Sam let it be known just where his priorities stood, as he barked:
Samantha will never take a backseat to anyone.
That was that.
Chris was desperate to leave too, so with both kids in the car Sarah drove away. Chris and Katie wouldn’t see their dad for a year after that broken promise and drama-filled day.
Looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing Sam in a sobbing crumpled heap on the ground she wondered,
“Did I ever really know him at all?”
PS: Darling readers, this morning I was informed Samantha has filed a bar complaint against me. This should be fun! After all, we know how much I enjoy answering bar complaints, don’t we? In case you have forgotten: