As I wrote here last night to impart the news X is to become Mrs. Douchebag, I used all the powers at my disposal to dramatize the event and my reaction to it. Here was my typically over-wrought prose and tangible hand-wringing in all its glory. There was just one problem.
It wasn't true.
In trying to set up a satisfying (for you) narrative, I diverted off into dissemblance. The truth is, the news left me profoundly ambivalent.
Which is not to say I don't have an opinion. Several, in fact, and due to a recent event, my beliefs have only strengthened as to the viability of this proposed union. I was, however, correct, when I said, "It doesn't matter what I think," because a) X doesn't care and b) because it's really none of my concern. I have no influence on the state or veracity of the impending nuptials.
All that matters is how it affects AJ.
Lemme tell you a story.
We had a mixed birthday party for AJ last year. It included The Douchebag and members of his family. He's a "doofus," (my brother's word), if you want to know, but that's neither here nor there. At one point, AJ took a sock in the eye and tumbled crying out of one of the inflatable playgrounds. I happened to be right there, cradled his weeping head and soothed his hair, telling him it was going to be fine. In the middle of this, The Douchebag walked up behind me and started in. "Are you okay, AJ? What is it, AJ? I'm a doofus, AJ." I turned and looked at him and I think I projected incredulity--which I was certainly feeling--rather than the burning hatred of a thousand suns. Is this idiot kidding me? I'M HIS FATHER YOU DUMBFUCK. And I was right there, taking care of it and any assistance was unnecessary and unwarranted. For him to be so oblivious as to our respective roles in the child's life, not to mention the chance I was carrying something sharp and unable to stem the urge of plunging into his neck.
Even AJ assessed the situation and completely ignored him.
The last piece of bile stuck in my throat in this whole mess is that this asshole, who can't even be bothered to live within two time zones, let alone parent, his own kids, wants to play fucking house with mine. Considering his catalystic role in physically taking my child from me (and vice-versa) for half of his youth, one would think he'd be sensitive to the relationship between AJ and I. Perhaps he would extend an olive branch of some kind, participate in a discussion of the ground rules set forth by the divorce mediator, say, in his monosyllabic grunting, that he has the boy's interests at heart.
None of this has ever happened.
"AJ likes him," X says. Well no fucking shit. AJ likes everybody. Literally. He's downright worshipful to a good 85% of the people he's ever met. It's not what you'd call an exclusive club.
Dad. Me. That's an exclusive club.
But now, by virtue of this upcoming event, he will ascend to Step-Dad.
In my stoicism upon hearing the news, I did not raise my opposition to this term. Though it is but a term, though there have been exactly zero instances where I have been forced to take a submissive fatherly role, though AJ fully understands the difference between the Douchebag and I, this is like a chunk of stew meat jammed in my esophagus.
He is undeserving of the title, of any role in my child's upbringing.
My options? None, I guess. As I said, I'm unmoved by the news. Concerned? Sure. That this change of status (ain't I romantic?) might give The Douchebag some idea that he has a voice and I'll have to face down increasing stridency and demands from that quarter.
From where I stand, this changes nothing in regards to AJ. I hope that belief applies to all.