I Will Never Understand

The boys’ father is now complaining that I have enrolled B1 I the Little Brother/Little Sister program. Seriously…could you PLEASE get your own life and stay out of mine now that I have moved on with mine? He fought over hockey (and lost), now he’s trying to fight over this. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to realize that THIS is a moot point. It in no way interferes with his parenting time and there is no cost involved that he would be responsible for splitting.

The following is the redacted response I sent to his whining email this morning:

After reading through and discussing with the LBLS coordinator, I enrolled (B1) in the program as a way for him to have an adult mentor who is able to spend dedicated time with him and give him time to explore what his independence and build his self-esteem. The mentor chosen for him works at (PERSEC).

 

A Big Brother is not in any way meant as a replacement parent. He is only a friend and mentor to the Little. (B1) will be able to spend time with his Big and do things that he might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. There is no cost involved in this program. They will spend approximately two hours every other week together and build a relationship that is meant to be lifelong. As we figure out our schedules it is likely that he will have his time during the time when (B2) and I are at hockey practice. I feel this will give (B1) more of a sense of independence as well as to build his self-confidence.

 

The following is from the Little Brother/Little Sister brochure:

 

Youth mentoring exposes a Little (B1) to a positive role model. Mentoring can help focus on their future and on setting academic and career goals. Our mentors work to expose them to new experiences and people from a diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and professional background. The one on one environment provides Little’s with attention and a concerned friend to encourage emotional and social growth. Mentoring can foster increased confidence and self-esteem.

~~Pardon my language~~

Now go fuck yourself you piece of shit. You have never EVER tried to involve yourself in any of the children’s passions unless they align with your own. Now I have a ten year old boy who has no idea of himself. B1 NEEDS to find his own passion, not isolate himself because he doesn’t want to ‘put you out’ by needing a ride or any sort of compromise between the parents as he already understands that it will be me who will be the only one to go out of my way to make sure that he gets to participate because you refuse to budge on ANYTHING that is not your idea. He already sees that he and his little brother are nothing more than an inconvenience to you when it comes to activities. While they hate missing out with either of us, he already sees that I am more than willing to give up time, money, anything…for him and B2. How sad for him to already think he does not matter. Fuck you for making him feel this way. Fuck you

The fact that you feel threatened as a parent by a two hour commitment every other week…four hours a month…should be an eye opener. Of course it won’t be though because you cannot see past your own insecurities and hang-ups to provide a childhood for these boys.

I will continue to fight for my boys and their future. You were the one who wanted a divorce, you were the one who wanted to split up our family. THEY shouldn’t have to suffer, their future shouldn’t have to be shaped by your inability to move on.

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Rant

I do my absolute best keeping things positive and seeing the lighter side of my current situation. I might ask why me every now and then and usually answer myself that I’d rather it be me than my sisters, my mother, or any of my friends.

Today though, I’m pissed. I’m sick and tired of cancer.

On Monday I will leave my boys AGAIN and head back to the USA. I will fly to Winnipeg then drive home (should arrive about midnight). Tuesday I will procrastinate as long as possible until I finally get off my butt and take off to drive the 384 miles to Rochester, alone; again.

I have done every one of these trips solo. Yes I’ve had offers of people to come with me, I just choose to do it alone. It’s easier in a lot of ways to do it alone. Then I can process my emotions without a filter. I don’t have to worry about how anybody else is doing or that they feel like they have to take care of me.

The other reason is that I would hate for my reality to become real for other people. I am broke; actually beyond broke. People often realize what broke really looks like. Here is what broke really means:

  • Stopping for gas and ONLY gas. No snacks, no coffee, no drinks, no anything.
  • Checking in to my room and staying there (unless I go for a walk).
  • Not running to the corner store for a few comforts or a candy bar or bag of chips.
  • Looking longingly at that Sudoku book in the check out at the grocery store thumbing through it, and putting it back because that $4.95 is so far out of your budget that it makes you cringe.
  • You would rather drive late in the day when you have an early morning appointment so that instead of spending the night in a hotel, you drive until you need sleep and find a public rest area to grab a couple hours of sleep in the back seat.
  • Staying home when my friends invite me out because eating is where we usually gather and ordering water while everybody else orders drinks and apps brings on the pity looks.
  • Except for church, there are no social outings.
  • Not having cable TV (which means no television at all where we live)
  • Cutting the internet while the boys are gone because it’s $40 you just don’t have
  • Leaving the AC off even though it is currently 90*F in your apartment because you electricity bill is already three months behind.

Welcome to the side of cancer that is hell. It sucks. I can’t work, I can’t do anything. It hit me the other day that once the boys start school I can’t even take them for my visitation as it will be impossible for me to drive them back and forth to school and their father will not give a shit, only see it as an advantage to himself. He won’t care that the boys need the emotional connection to me as they get no emotional support from him regarding this journey.

It means that B2 will likely not play hockey this year, and I won’t be coaching, because I can’t afford it and the ex refuses to help pay for it OR provide transportation. Even while undergoing chemo last winter I had to drive 90 miles for him to attend a 45 minute practice because according the his father, hockey practice didn’t fit in to HIS schedule. It didn’t matter that all the kid talked about from October through April was hockey. It didn’t matter that there was a significant drop in behavioral issues throughout the hockey season, that the grades improved…all that mattered was that HE doesn’t want to be involved with hockey therefore, he will make it as difficult as possible for B2 to be involved.

Did I mention that at the beginning of the year, B2 could hardly stand on skates and was placed in Level one (as all first year kids are) and he along with only ONE other kid of the 28 child roster moved all the way to level THREE in one season? Ya, he done good. The kids usually spend one year at each level, B2 spent a total of two practices at level two before they shipped him to level three.

I’m ranting…and sick and tired of the bullshit that is cancer.

If it weren’t for cancer I would be back in court asking for full custody after social services has been to his house FOUR times in t last year to educate him that the boys are too young to be left home alone…FOUR TIMES.

I’ve been out of work since January. Hockey registration is in October. If I am LUCKY I can look for work starting near the end of September. There is no way I will be able to have bills caught up and enough money to pay for registration and the means to provide transportation back and forth for school and hockey…fuck cancer.

This Could Get Interesting

The ex signed the boys up for Summer Rec baseball in the town where he lives. I am glad to see them involved and enjoying it.

Today after their game, B1 called to tell me they lost and said that B2 played right center field (whatever that means) and that when a kid hit the ball to him he forgot to throw it in and instead ran to the home plate from the outfield…and BEAT the kid!! He told me “…his tiny legs were going so fast Mom…”  Apparently the batter was B1’s age or older (9) and B2 is only 6! LOL

But I digress…as usual

Summer Rec takes place beginning at 9 am and for away games the bus sometimes leaves as early as 7:45. I am now working in the town where I live. I made it clear to the ex that I would not be able to get them to ball when they are with me due to my schedule and was willing to exchange parenting time so that the boys stayed exclusively with him through the ball season and I would exercise parenting time every other weekend. When ball finishes up, I would take the boys exclusively to make up for the time I missed with him exercising every other weekend through that time.

Although the divorce decree clearly states it is the responsibility of the parent with parenting time to provide transportation to and from the children’s activities, it also states that the parties are to work together in the best interests of the children.

I was told what my duties as a parent were when we exchanged the kids yesterday (to get them to baseball during my time) and a few other things…apparently I don’t know how to read or understand the divorce decree “…as it says right in there…” And right in front of the boys…good one dad…good job motherfucker.

This morning I sent the following email to the parenting time expeditor and the ex:

This email is regarding the boys playing summer rec baseball in Dad’s town.
 
I understand that it is reasonable for the boys to be involved every week with their friends and team in this sport. Up until this last week there had been no issue with the boys missing the week they are with me due to my work schedule. They understand that there are things that are not the same when mom and dad are divorced and living in different towns.
 
I also believe it is in the boys best interest that I remain employed to support them. My current work schedule prevents me from taking a minimum two and a half hours off three or four days per week.
 
I am still offering to switch parenting time so the boys spend the weekdays in Dad’s town so they don’t have to miss any baseball games or practices (I offered this when they were first signed up). I will continue every other weekend parenting time through those weeks and will then make up my weeks missed after the season is over; allowing parenting time with Dad every other weekend during that time.
 
I do not think it reasonable to be told what my duties as a parent are while exchanging the children in Exchange Location as happened during the exchange Sunday, July 6, 2014 in front of the children. While I understand the court decree states it is the parent who has parenting time’s responsibility to transport the children to their activities, it is sometimes necessary to make changes for the best interests of the children as it is the CHILDREN’S time, not the parent’s which is the priority.
 
Mom
 
I have no idea what will come of this…I just don’t need the threat of being taken to court over Summer Rec baseball or whatever the next petty thing he comes up with…
 
With our parenting time expeditor, we are to try and make these decisions on our own, amongst ourselves but include him in the emails we exchange so he can have all necessary info if and when he needs to make a decision.
 
Will I miss the heck out of the kids when they are with Dad and I only get every other weekend??? You know I will…I will also make sure our weekends are full of mini golf, fishing, bike rides, adventures, and cool stuff to enjoy every minute of what time we have.
 

Expeditor

No idea when life got so busy…but it has lately.

My divorce is final, the papers arrived in the mail on Saturday last week. FINALLY FINAL.

Custody is legally and physically 50/50 which means we are both granted equal decision making and parenting time with the boys. We were also ordered a parenting time expeditor which is a person who will make decisions on the boys behalf that is in their best interests. Although I believe that what I ask of the expeditor will eventually be the outcome, the fact of having to go through a mediator to make simple decisions is so unbelievably childish in my opinion.

First up…summer vacation. The boys are finished school today and I have requested (for over a month now) to change the visitation schedule from weekly to biweekly (two weeks with each parent). This cuts down on transitions for the boys and allows for easier scheduling and such.

To date I have received no answer. I keep getting “I’ll think about it” from their dad. Today I sent the request to the expeditor. He will review my request and then contact the ex for his response. We also have to PAY for this service…billed in 10 minute increments at $150/hr. Anybody else see the ridiculousness of the situation? We have to pay a stranger $150/hr to make decisions on how the kids should spend the summer???

It will be nice to have a third party involved…maybe I am completely off base when it comes to what is right/reasonable for the boys. I’m willing to be told that from a neutral party. I also have a significant request I will go straight to him with as I know the other parent will vehemently deny that idea. That will get extremely ugly…not looking forward to that.

The expeditor has the ability to make binding decisions…it can only mean great things for the boys.

 

Home Alone

I don’t have a problem with teaching children responsibility and independence. I DO have a problem with leaving a nine year old home to babysit his six year old brother when the parent is not even available to pick them up from daycare to drop them off at home…how can he claim to be available if they need something important (because apparently picking them up from daycare before they close is NOT important).

The other night the ex did not pick the boys up from daycare (she is licensed as well as one of his very close friends) so I can only assume that by prior arrangement she was to drop the boys off at home after she was closed for the day (5:30pm). The distance from his place of work to her daycare is about two and a half blocks. The distance from his work to his house is about three (maybe four) blocks. He could not be bothered to pick them up at daycare and take them home…but claims to be available to them if they had called needing anything.

On TOP of this information…I’m not sure his daycare is even licensed to transport children in a personal vehicle or whether or not they had car seats in use (both boys are still required to be in booster seats according to their height).

From 5:30 pm until 8:30pm the boys (ages six and nine) were left home alone. They have a bedtime at my house of 8:00pm. They are sleeping within 10 minutes of going to bed (it’s ok…be jealous). I understand that their bedtime at his house is not until 9:00pm. I do believe that they need to be fed supper before they go to bed and that neither one of them should be anywhere near anything that gets hot with no supervision…AT ALL.

I also know my boys…I know that if B1 and B2 started wrestling and B2 got hurt…B1 would feel EXTREMELY guilty and would try to take care of it on his own before calling dad…case in point…the other day they had been wrestling in the bedroom at my place and when I heard B2 start to cry I could tell it was muffled. When I went to investigate, B1 had his hand over his mouth trying to get him to stop so he didn’t get in trouble…it doesn’t take long for things to escalate at that point to all out war between two very active boys. They just don’t even have the brain capacity to take a step back and review the situation.

March 7, he also left them home alone so he could decorate a local venue for a benefit being held for his mother. FIVE HOURS they were home alone…again…no supper. B2 fell asleep on the living room floor for a little while and then woke up again after a while. B1 stayed up until dad got home at 11:30 pm.

As it is apparent that he has no clue on how to parent children I have decided to NOT sign the mediation agreement and to ask the court for full custody. I just can’t, in good faith, allow my children to live under those circumstances without giving it all I have.

Lord, as I go through this next few days and weeks, please continue to fill me with your love and guidance so I can make decisions that put you first. Help me to stay on the path you have laid in front of me with strength, grace, love and honor.

What I Did

After reading the comment from the previous entry, I decided that it wasn’t that big of a deal, it wasn’t that important. Unfortunately he called wanting to know my decision and I, being put on the spot, asked what was in it for me to give up a night with my boys. He asked what I wanted…then had the nerve to say he had been extremely generous on the other Monday’s by LETTING my keep them, what was in THAT for him he asked. Well, not having to pay almost half of your day’s wages in daycare would be one of the benefits. Well, he didn’t care about that…whatever. A short pissing match ensued and I said he could pick them up Monday morning at 8am.

I knew this was only me being spiteful and not the mom I wanted my kids to ever know. I sent him a text on Sunday afternoon and said that he was welcome to pick them up that night. He picked them up after supper that night.

B1 had a tough week. Saturday morning he had a minor melt down and another on Sunday (after several others during the week). Much of it has been put on the new puppy…his new scapegoat. “I just miss Scooby” is the answer I am usually thrown when he is crying. While I’m sure he does miss his dog, I am also quite confident that missing a pup is not a reason for my child to begin to tell me he wished he’d never been born…but maybe it is.

My first thought was that he wants to go back to dad’s so much because of the dog but cannot bring himself to tell me that as it might hurt my feelings; he’s that kind of kid. His father has adequately fostered that responsibility on his tiny shoulders. B2, on the other hand, doesn’t care where he is right now…as long as the world revolves around him.

So if B2 is caused enough turmoil that he now wishes he’d never been born…was the puppy worth it? Do I allow him to go home days/ hours early? I hate that I am making decisions not necessarily in the best interests of the child, but based on how the ex will twist it for the judge…my poor babies.

Maybe (and I’m just thinking out loud here so please bare with me) I need to allow him to stay at dad’s and then explain to the courts that this new addition is a blatant attempt to back me in to a corner as far as spending time with the kids or making them miserable…and I don’t like the idea of my boys being miserable. I’ll talk with the school counselor and their shrink and see what they think. I think I just answered my own question…but that doesn’t make it any less difficult.

If I could, I would allow them to bring the puppy, but my apartment does not allow pets…not even reptiles.

My heart hurts for these poor kids.

Finding Center

People are often looking for balance in their lives. Right now I need to find my center. You can’t balance anything if you don’t know where the center is.

For this I’m extremely fortunate that my unemployment claim was granted. I have 26 weeks (19 remaining) to really make a difference and to set mfr in the direction of a life that is happy and fulfilling.

Yes, money is tight for now; and worth every cut back we’ve had to make. I still have no internet or cable, I quit the bowling league, I do laundry at my friend’s house to save money, and rarely go out.

On the plus side, I have enough to pay the rent, utilities, vehicle expenses, and the boys operating budget. We get SNAP benefits to cover food.

I have been asked to join a “Next Gen Think Tank” for our church. It is a committee focused on the youth, children, and families of our congregation. This is going to be a ton of work to get things going in the right direction.

As of February I am back on the teaching schedule for Creation Station and looking forward to being involved in the direction our children’s ministry moves forward.

I am exiting about getting these children involved in their faith. I’d like to add a children’s choir for special occasions to involve the kids a little more.

So as I find center, I need to decide on a few goals. Career, financial, spiritual, family…

I need to make them as specific as possible with a goal date. Where do I want to be in six months, one year, five years, ten years. I know the five and ten year goals are extremely fluid, but if I  at least have a vision I can begin to take steps in that direction.

Enjoy the next steps of my journey. I’m excited to share it with you.