Every now and then, I have nightmares about the X. Sometimes, I'm the idiot who goes back to him, and watch the things that happened back then happen all over again, knowing all the time they were going to happen, and wondering why I was so stupid to go back. Or he's somehow infiltrated our lives; he's friends with my friends or works where I work. He starts being a real father to the girls, and then doesn't show up for some important event and breaks their hearts all over again. Sometimes, I've awakened from those dreams crying, and I go through the next few days on alert, afraid he'll show up around the next corner.
I had one of those dreams recently. When I woke up, there were no tears, no fears that the roller coaster was about to start all over again. I just felt relief that that's not our life anymore.
X still calls the girls every so often, but there are fewer promises to call back in a week or so. The girls catch him up and then it's over and everything's still normal.
There were times when news of the X would throw us off balance for quite a while. Eventually, we'd find our way back. Sometimes, it took therapy. Sometimes, it just took time. We don't go through those cycles anymore.
I never thought this day would come. I remember thinking that this was going to be our lives forever because he's their father forever. Somehow, we've worked it out, and any drama in our lives is about us, not him. And maybe someday, the nightmares will end, too.