The next day we returned home with our clothes from the back of my car and our pillows and blankets that we took the night we left. Everyone was walking on eggshells, but Jolly Guy and I were trying to stay on the same page. I actually saw a glimmer of hope between the two of us. It was like we were super charged with making things work. It felt like we were a team and the next few days were tense, but felt more like us against the kids then all the kids and I against him. I was starting to feel better when I realized that our “family” vacation was coming up in less than a week. No one wanted to go. It just didn’t feel like the right time. We had only been back in the house a week or so and no one was in a place to really go and enjoy themselves. I know he put money out for it, but the kids an I all agreed that it wasn’t a good idea. He wasn’t hearing that. He said “Maybe what we all need is to get away, enjoy ourselves and relax. It could be good for all of us.” It made sense in theory, but I really wasn’t feeling it. I know he had his heart set on this vacation for a while, but I just didn’t want to go. What if it all went south while we were away, I would be a few hundred miles from home and in the middle of a huge mess. A few nights before vacation I was still holding my ground that I didn’t want to go when he handed me a box. Jolly Guy looked at me in my face, eyes all a glow and said “Just a little something to wear on vacation.” It was a beautiful white, Michael Koors watch that I had been eyeing. At the time I was insulted that he would give me a gift to try to convince me to go on vacation, but on the other hand maybe I was being too harsh on him and he wasn’t all that calculated. Maybe he just wanted to break the ice and try to let me know he’s thinking of me. It felt a little like a payoff though I must admit. I wasn’t over the week my kids and I just had living at my parents house out of the back of my car, I wasn’t over that he took the money out of the account and had no regard for what the kids and I would do for a week. I wasn’t over the fact that he went out on his boat and had friends over while I was trying to figure out how to get from one day to the next. It didn’t seem right to take the watch, it didn’t seem right to go on vacation, it just all felt off still. I was nervous about vacation, but he was gung-ho. So over the next few days I packed, bought beach chairs, got food and blankets together and prepared for the six of us to go away for a week together. The girls, all the girls begged me to convince him not to go. I was between a rock and a hard place and then I started on the mantra of “We will have a great time, it will be fun and maybe we can all reconnect.” I said the words over and over to them and over and over to myself in my head. They knew I wasn’t convinced and I guess was obvious my lack of interest, but I went through the motions anyway. Fake it till you make it kind of thing. I think that was part of the problem, we all felt like we were faking it.