My son shut down my laptop when I walked into the room tonight. He is ten.
I froze, panic sweeping over me as I thought of everything his father had hidden on his computer. I got the old familiar jolt of adrenaline, stronger than electricity, that raced everywhere from my core and made my fingers tingle. My chest got tight – and hurt. As always, I think: shit, finally, a heart attack – I’m too young to have a heart attack – and HE will get my children.
On that last thought, I sit up and breathe and suck it up.
This was my son, not my ex-husband. I would not ruin this special evening with him and his sister. They returned from their father’s house at 5 in good spirits, pounding on the door and throwing themselves into my arms. We grabbed a basketball and walked down to the playground in our new neighborhood and hit the courts.
It was fun. No fighting over the ball, no cheating accusations. For the first time, I really saw my son exceed my physically at basketball. It felt good – and bittersweet. Afterwards, we walked back together up the big hill to our new home.
But after they went to sleep, I opened the computer, finally.
BEST GIFTS FOR WOMEN.
I nearly died. What in the world? I remembered the strange charges on ex’s credit card, and on my credit card – he was even once stupid enough to order bizarre sex items (trust me) using his father-in-law’s credit card, which he stole from my wallet, probably in some drunken stupor. Or worse, someone else stole the card from his wallet.
It haunts me.
But I look again. Another page is open on my laptop.
It is Amazon.com, one of about ten sites my children are allowed to visit on Safari.
BEST MOTHERS GIFT. It’s filled with things called gold rose foil flowers and superpower mom mugs.
I get teary as the adrenaline leaves my body and I realize that I have left my ex behind more than six month ago. He is no longer allowed to affect me this way.
I breathe. The world is a good place, generally. People are good, generally.
My children are good, period.
We are going to make it.