"I opened a door for my date, you would have thought I gave her a million bucks," my oldest said as he held my car door open for me en route to college drop off.
His dad, two brothers and I made the trek to Blacksburg, Virginia this week to deliver him for his freshman year at Virginia Tech. His father and I are no longer married. I'm proud of the work he and I put in to make it so we can still function as a family. We created our 3 sons together, so I am glad to be able to witness their milestones simultaneously.
He and I could always connect over the boys, it is good to continue to do so. It's the connecting with each other that was tough.
As we began our 4.5 hour trek and got on the nearby interstate I realized I had forgotten my daily medication. I mentioned it out loud.
He responded, "I've got mine."
And there it was, in the first 5 minutes of the two day tour: the reason we didn't work out. I felt like I didn't matter.
Sure, I may have said we didn't need to turn around for my medication. I might have said yes to turning around and apologized profusely for the delay and my error.
Whichever it was to be, it wasn't: he never offered, I didn't ask.
Now juxtapose this to the special trip he made to the store prior to departure to make sure there were Diet sodas in the cooler: those were for me. And that when we stopped at the rest area and I came out of the bathroom he was waiting on a bench and said, "I didn't want you to get nabbed."
Am I just impossible to please? Is it never enough for me? Am I ensnarled in the quest for a perfect mate?
That confusion sums up years of my life. You matter. You don't. You matter. You don't. You matter. You don't. The lack of consistency was a roller coaster of despair.
Maybe I just wanted to be someone's number one. I think he thought he treated me that way. Truth is, a lot of the considerations like the diet soda came about after the split. I swear over the last year he has called me pretty more than he did our entire 19 years of marriage.
I don't resent that. I think the more he treats me like I matter, the better a lesson it is for the boys, even if I'm not their father's wife. I am the mother of his children, and that is important.
So my son opening the door for his date, that is worth a million bucks: to me.
That girl, the one who was out with my son, in that small moment: she knew she mattered.