Wife 2.0’s (two-dot-oh’s) birthday was 14 February. In 2011 we went to Columbus (OH) to celebrate with her 3 daughters. I knew we were going to dinner, but beyond that, I knew relatively little about events planned for the evening.
We were married in Apr 2006 after 3 years of dating. For the first couple-few years everything seemed to be ‘fine.’ Then the union began “going South.” There are a myriad of reasons why the marriage failed, some of which I am yet to understand. But suffice to say at this juncture, in February 2011, it was ‘precarious’ at best. Oh well…
We all met at a very nice Italian restaurant on High Street in Columbus. There were the two of us and her 3 daughters. In addition, her middle daughter had her fiance, and the youngest brought along her boyfriend. A festive gathering it was!
We were all seated in at a nice round table, and the conversation was cordial. For the most part, the other men at the table just sat their throughout the evening, speaking only when directly addressed. However, they were both very ‘pleasant,’ and polite…
After dinner, the oldest daughter stood up to make a presentation. First she began by offering 4 ‘Pandora Bracelet’ charms, one of which was an airplane. “Oh how cool,” I thought to myself, “recognition of my career as an airline guy.” Stupid me, little did I know!
In the next bag came the big surprise – for the both of us.
“Mom,” she began, “you were always there for the three of us when we were growing up, and you stayed behind as we traveled all over. We know how much you would like to go to Europe so…” and she handed over a nice pretty bag. Inside the nice pretty bag was an itinerary and two tickets for an 11-day trip to Italy – only I wasn’t listed on the itinerary! The trip was set up for Wife 2.0 and her oldest daughter! Well, wasn’t that swell? Both of us were surprised.
As all the hooping and hollering and crying was going on, I just sat there – kinda shocked, but revealing nothing. I just sat there; unbelieving, not quite knowing what to think. The other two guys were also just sitting there, visibly hunkered down, staring at their plates.
I said hardly nothing throughout the rest of the evening. Wasn’t sure what to make of it all. Never had been associated with anything remotely like this…
The next day, on the way home, I finally asked her, “Why do you think the girls didn’t say anything to me about your trip?” Awkward!
She squirmed a bit, then told me that the girls wanted to keep it all a ‘secret.’ What she didn’t know is, I had asked one of the guys when they he knew about it all. “More or less, from the beginning,” was the reply. Then it dawned on me the airplane charm (probably) really wasn’t representative of my airline career… oh, more heartbreak!
‘Can’t keep a secret?’ I then began to wonder if she ever listened to anything I told her about my former career – as a military officer, with a Top Secret clearance at one time.
By the time this all went down, we were just beginning to think about going our separate ways. We had talked that past August about “issues” between us, but nothing was resolved, one way or the other. I don’t know today if I was ‘hurt,’ as much as I was ‘stunned.’ Just had not ever seen anything like this before.
For what it’s worth, I found great comfort in knowing my kids would never have treated her in that manner! They were both shocked, to say the least… and I am so proud of them.
The final ‘irony’ of this whole thing? The trip departed on my birthday that year…
So, what do I think of it all today? Don’t think I’ll be having ‘Italian’ in Columbus on Valentine’s Day this year… LOL!