My father called me back last night. Over a day since his first phone call.
Right away I asked him about the "stuff" that he said he had for the kids. "Oh, they're, you know, Easter things, for the kids."
Cool, what kind of things, I asked.
"They're...[Father's Wife] what are they?" At this point I hear my stepmother in the background getting frustrated and upset with my father. Then I can make out her saying "Oh, what difference does it make?".
My father gets back on the phone with me, "They're just presents, let’s leave it at that."
Oook, I reply. Then I ask him about having dinner with me. He replies it was just to spend some time together "you know, like we used to."
Dad, I'm married now, I'm kind of a package deal here.
"Oh, well yeah, well they can come too, I don't care."
Ok, well Dad, I'm not going to dinner with you by myself, I have a family. Plus, we haven't gone to dinner in a long time anyway. I'm married now. Why would you want to go to dinner with just me anyway?
"Oh well, you know, to talk about guy stuff, to have some guy time."
Anything you want to say to me you can say to my wife.
"Well no, there are some things that maybe I don't want [wife] to hear."
At this point, I told my father I had to call him back. I repeated this conversation to my wife and she promptly told me to call him back. We did and we were on speaker phone with my father and his wife. My wife told him how it was sneaky, and deceptive, and unacceptable to not include me in discussions he has with me. My stepmother chimed in and attempted to explain that it was her idea for my father to attempt to spend more time with me and maybe going out to dinner was a good way to do that. Well, the last time my father and I went out to dinner, he gave me a book on courage and told me to forgive everyone. Translation: you are a coward, grow some and be a man, and stop hating everything, and let everyone walk all over you. Thanks Dad.
My father tried to reiterate that he just wanted to go out to dinner "like we used to", and my wife and I told him again that we were a package deal. My step-mother responded with projection: "you know, it's very hard to schedule you in, you're very difficult."
This coming from the couple who came down for a half an hour last Christmas. Who show up late to their granddaughter's birthday party because they were doing other things and lost track of time. Who WE have to schedule time with because THEY are too busy to have their children and grandchildren show up on a Saturday out of the blue. I conclude they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes and are not willing to change their lives to show me and my family that we are important.
My wife let them know that they were projecting and we would not take responsibility for their actions. They both flared at this: "What?! What does that mean?!"
My father spoke angrily, "You know what [LSV's wife] I'm done talking with you, I want to speak with LSV now."
I said, Dad, anything you have to say to me, you can say to my wife as well.
"Then I'm going to have to say goodbye."
Translation: I only want my son, and I don't want his wife, and if I can't have my way, I'm going to let the world know about it by making a fuss and storming off.
^^There it is: my father, the child.^^
A few minutes later my stepmother called back to say that she "didn't want things to end on a bad note." Right off the bat, she said to my wife, "you know, [LSV's wife] I hope your heart is open to this, what I'm going to say", implying that my wife was close-hearted to begin with! That did NOT set a good tone to this second conversation.
She tried to explain that she goes out with her girlfriends and her daughters and well, it's ok do that because SHE does it. And so because SHE does it, that must be a universal truth to all marriages. Was she talking down to us? Looks like it. She wanted to smooth things over but only if my wife and I did what she wanted, which was to see things her way only. She began asking my wife about what she had done to wrong her, "seriously, I don't know what I have done, I'd like know. I want to know."
That's not with this phone call was about - it was about why my father wanted to have dinner with me and only talk about "guy stuff" and not let my wife be a part of it. We asked were my father was.
"Oh, he's cooling off right now. He's too upset to talk, and he doesn't want to say the wrong thing because he's angry."
We explained that we shouldn't be having a conversation that directly involves him without him. She didn't want to hear it. She told my wife that she was very "sharp" and very "difficult".
My wife: Ok [LSV's stepmother] I'm going to hang up now.
"Listen sweetheart, you're going to have to grow up --"