Mexican Salad and ‘The Good Witch’

mexican-saladWhat is worse – having a narcissistic father that fights for custody and makes the kids’ lives miserable on a daily basis, or having a narcissistic father who wants nothing to do with his children, if they won’t do things his way?  I think Will and Jenny have it better.  While they will certainly be hurt by the fact that their dad can so easily walk away, they won’t have to deal with the day-to-day dismissals of who they are.  They won’t have Mark belittling them or using them as extensions of himself.

In Mark’s lengthy email, he had asked me what I proposed as a solution to this problem – like he’d actually entertain any of my suggestions.  He hinted at the possibility of resorting to calling lawyers again, and forcing visitation.  I speculated that things would go something like this:

  • He wouldn’t call the attorney because, after himself, and above all else, money is the most important thing to him.  Attorneys cost money.
  • He would not agree to adapt his behavior in an effort to have a better relationship with these two precious people.
  • I guessed that he would not address any of the kids’ requests.  I was pretty convinced that he’d tell them he was trying his best and that he loved them.  Then, as per usual, he would not call a couple days and wait for the dust to settle.  Then, on about the fifth day of no contact, he’d call, and with his sing/song voice, he’d invite them to do something, pretending like nothing had ever happened.

I did not guess that he would walk away from his kids.  I did not let myself believe that he was as low as he apparently is.  I did not see that coming, even though I have written about the fact that, if the accommodator stops being the source, the narcissist will completely dismiss her, and search for a new source.  And there lies the trap in all this.  As schooled as I may think I am in all this narcissism stuff, there is still something (frickin’ Lizard Brain) that makes it hard to comprehend that another individual – someone I thought I knew, and loved – is capable of such things.

__________

So now what?

The night they learned that their dad was essentially saying, “goodbye,” I took them under my wings, turned on the TV and promised their favorite foods.  Yes, I am setting my kids up for food issues.  Luckily their metabolisms appear to run on high, they are active, and they like to be outside.  Why do we use food for comfort, anyway?  Because it’s comforting.  I’m not handing them a bag of chips, a soda, and candy.  My version of comfort through food is making their favorite dinners – even if it’s two different things.

We vented for a bit.  Talked about how it is even possible for a dad to say, “I’ll leave you alone.”  And then we agreed that it’s his loss.

In an effort to change the subject, I said, “Boy, it’d be great if ‘The Good Witch’ was on tonight. ‘The Good Witch’ is a Hallmark Movie that the three of us have watched a few times.  It’s a quaint story, and a break from Nickelodeon and Disney for me.  So we checked the guide, and as our version of luck would have it, ‘The Good Witch’ was going to be on that very night.  That provided us with a nice distraction.  And the lesson there is, we have to capitalize on these little high points of the day.  They may seem insignificant, but they serve as vehicles for taking us away from the crap.  We are getting really good at turning little bright spots into large, happy, shiny moments.  If you string enough of those moments together, pretty soon, you are transported away from the negative.

 

 

Then I promised Will I’d make Mexican Salad.  Jenny doesn’t care for salad.  Her first choice is PBJ.  So, with my menu planned, it was time to pour some wine and get to work, and stop thinking about Mark and my desire to go to his house and beat him to a bloody pulp.

__________

It’s particularly funny that I’m writing about this recipe.  I got it from my Aunt Pat.  She doesn’t mince words when she tells you that she hates to cook.  In fact, Uncle Dave has taken to the kitchen recently.  Pat was over for tea on Wednesday.  She told a sweet story about how one of their girls was over while Dave was fixing dinner.  The daughter sighed, said she had to get home to start dinner, and said, “I wish I had a husband who’d cook once in awhile.”  Uncle Dave gave her a warm smile and said, “Your mom spent a lot of years in the kitchen cooking for all of us.  I figured it was my turn to take a shift.”

Aunt Pat’s Mexican Salad

  • 1/3 head of iceberg lettuce – torn into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tomato – diced
  • 1 avocado – diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion – finely diced
  • 1/2 pound hamburger – browned
  • 1/2 C red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 C grated cheddar cheese
  • about 2 C crunched up tortilla chips – not pulverized
  • Taco Sauce – I use Old El Paso Medium Taco Sauce
  • Italian Dressing

After the hamburger is browned, add the drained, rinsed kidney beans and cook on low for about 10 minutes.  Add a little salt and pepper.  While this is simmering, put the vegies together.  How come people don’t like iceberg lettuce anymore.  It may not be as pretty (or as healthy) as all the highfalutin fancy greens out there, but it has crunch.  This salad needs crunch.  Take the meat and beans off the heat and let cool a bit.  Add the grated cheese to the vegies, top with the crunched chips and spoon the meat/bean mix on top.  Pour on several glugs (about 1/3 C) Italian Dressing, and the same amount of Taco Sauce.  Toss it together gently, so the lettuce still has a bit of crunch.

This makes a complete, quick, healthy dinner.  Top the salad with a glob of sour cream.  Serve with a coke.  It’s a killer combination, and about the only time I have a coke.  Although, the salad is excellent with a Corona, too.  It seems to make a ton, and it doesn’t keep since it has already been dressed.  Will can eat three big servings.

So Jen, with her PBJ, and Will and I with our salads, sat in front of the TV watching Cassie Nightingale dole out her mysterious version of wisdom, in ‘The Good Witch’.

I’m sure Mark is not thinking I’m a good witch.

I’d turn him into a frog if I could.

 

 

 

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7 comments

  1. I wonder if frogs like nasty, wilted Mexican salad? Nah… that frog doesn’t deserve even that.

    I’ve made that recipe for over 40 years … long before a taco salad became a staple on restaurant menus. Both Katie and Susan used to request it for their birthday dinners, 11 days apart. Dave liked it the first time, but twice that close together was a bit much for him. But he would grin and bear it for his girls.

    Because I invariably make too much, when I serve it now (on the rare occasions I DO cook (O: ), I put the cold ingredients together and let people put the meat and beans and dressings on at the table. No muss, no fuss, no problem.

  2. Yep. Will requests this for his birthday dinner, too.

    That’s a great idea about serving the dressing on the side.

  3. Yes!! Thanks for including the recipe. I was going to ask for it since the picture looked soooo delicious, but that was before I scrolled down far enough. I also love the specificity of the directions: three big glugs, indeed!

    I’m sorry that the kids are having such a sad time about their ‘dad’. I know it has to hurt.

    At the same time I’m happy for them! Having grown up in one of those households, and consequently dealing with depression and PTSD for my whole life, I agree that not being pecked to death on a daily basis would have been easier.

    Maybe you could consider a father-mentor guy for Will? He might need a healthy male around in a year or two for some male ritual stuff. I’m not sure what it is that guys need to do, but I’ve heard they need time together too. :)

  4. My step-dad and a couple uncles have really stepped up to the plate. I know we’ll continue to lean on them.

  5. Kids always forgive their dads to a certain extent. They never forget, but they always seem to forgive. He will need them to admire him again and he will bounce back like nothing ever happened. It could be months – I’ve seen my son go through 7 months and then things are good and then not so good. It’s sad the kids have to be so young though.

  6. This is months after this post, but I’m finally getting to reading some of my favorite blogs. It’s funny that I’d comment on you-know-who, but his mom and dad were divorced when he was about 12 and his dad was NOT GOOD… did some psychologically abusive and borderline physically abusive stuff… but YEARS later, he reached out to his dad…

    It sort of reminded me of my cousin on the other side (whose dad left when she was young) who said, “my dad was a good dad to people who didn’t NEED him.” Interesting…

  7. SES,

    Perhaps – and sort of speaking from experience here – it is possible to have a semblance of a relationship with an absentee parent once an age is reached where boundaries can be set. Maybe it’s possible when the child is able to define the terms of that relationship.

    But what’s the point by then? (Okay… that’s old resentments rising to the surface.)

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