The Countdown

There is a court hearing one week from today. Mr. Ex has made a motion to the court to amend the current temporary order in which he is required to pay me $500 in spousal maintenance. In response to his motion, we are asking the court to dismiss his motion in its entirety and have made a motion for an emergency change of custody based on his actions since the temporary order became effective on April 1.

The choices he has made over the last month are (in my eyes) more than enough to prove that he cannot nor does he have any inclination to provide the boys with a stable, nurturing home.

I am terrified of when he gets served these papers as I fear he will (finally) have a ‘reason’ to come home and he will remove the boys from my care before the judge makes a decision. The upheaval of taking them home in an ‘angry’ state will cause so much trauma for these raw hearts.

In my opinion we are talking PTSD inducing trauma. When my five-year old is asking to talk to his psychologist, and when he hears me on the phone making an appointment he says, “Make sure you tell them it’s about my Dad” you know there are issues.

Although my ‘mommy heart’ hurts that my boy is struggling, I am so proud that he is able to ask for resources that are available to him. Yesterday and today B2 has been screaming every time he answers a question everything upsets him…from what would you like for breakfast to was it fun at story hour.

My fix for this is to give him fewer choices, close in around him…make his world safe again. He was doing so well at gaining back his independence. Suddenly he is back at square one. Although I hope it is only a minor setback I worry what will happen if they go back to dad’s house.

The week away from work I believe will be a great time for me to reboot. The boys need it right now as well. They need to know that they ARE important enough to throw the rest of the world out the window for.

Hang in there boys, Mom’s got this.

My Hope

I was having a conversation with a friend this morning and we were talking about big upcoming events in the lives of our children. Boy 2 has a school event coming up, Girl is graduating from high school…BIG events.

Girl has had some major struggles with this divorce. She was put in the middle for a little while, then, when we got our heads out of asses that way, she began to insert herself where there was conflict, sometimes creating conflict when there was none. I think conflict was her comfort zone…even if her parents were fighting, at least they were talking. If they were fighting because of her, then that meant they were paying attention to her.

My relationship with her is very unique. We have always been extremely close. When we argue though…small nations shake with fear. We are loud, we are emotional, we always say we are sorry.

Through this divorce though, our relationship has taken on a new dynamic. She is extremely close with my ex-husband who is not her biological father. She has deep seeded abandonment issues surrounding her biological father. Her Issues lead her to lash out towards me when she is angry with him. This has led to her to push me away from her in a twisted attempt to show her allegiance to him. Due to her age and the current situation I am following her request. I have backed away.

When she reaches out, I reach back. Each time my hand gets bitten. So now, with guidance from professionals I am no longer reaching my hand out to get bit again. She is also learning some real big life lessons right now abut relationships and to be careful how hard you push people away as they may not come back at all. We have had this discussion MULTIPLE times in the office of her psychologist and deep down she understands it.

I am not attending her prom (as per her request) and my ‘mom heart’  aches like you couldn’t even imagine. I continue to look at the big picture, but it not easy. I see before me, a little girl who, when the time comes and she sees all the other girls with their mom’s, is going to be broken. I see a young woman who, when she graduates will wonder if I even care…or if this can even be fixed.

Of COURSE it can. My love for my kids will never stop…just as I’m so glad my mom’s never did for me. I’ve been that mad, angry teenager. I’ve felt alone with nowhere to go. I lashed out at my mom…I understand.

In a few years my ex may be able to see the damage he’s caused and the lives he is destroying…I just hope that the kids don’t end up hating him for it. My eight year old should NEVER have to be taught by the school counselor that it’s okay to say, “Dad, when you talk about Mom like that it hurts my feelings.” No child should ever need to use those words. His job is to be a kid…just a kid, not my protector. No child should EVER have to pledge allegiance to one parent or the other…by saying these things to his dad, he is pledging allegiance to me, if he doesn’t, he is pledging it to his dad. Why the hell should ANY kid, eight or nearly 18 be forced to choose? How big does your ego have to be to make a child choose you over the person you made them with? The person you, at least for some time, loved deeply enough to want to spend the rest of your life with, who you loved so much you wanted to bound to forever through children. I don’t get it.

I get the boys this weekend and cannot wait to spend some good time with them…we need it. The next time they visit I should be in my apartment. That will be super exciting. I am trying to decide between an air mattress or camp cots for their beds…I think I will let them decide. It will be a great ‘budget’ lesson as well. We started the ‘wants and needs’ conversation a while ago, now we can build on it…and with the proper guidance it can be so much fun.

I will set a ‘budget’ for new beds/blankets/etc and then let them browse through stores, take notes for them on prices…maybe take them to a consignment shop or two, a thrift store…they can learn how far their money can really go. And then, with whatever they have left over, that can go towards a vacation fund or an X-box fund. They are great negotiators. Yesterday when Boy 1 and I were in with the school counselor he said he was already thinking about the summer and that he was thinking that he would stay with me for one week and dad for one week  during his summer vacation. I told him that was a great idea and that I would also propose that.

I am so very proud of my kids. In the midst of turmoil and chaos, they continue to make me so very proud to be their mom.

The Hardest Part

I wasn’t sure what I would write about today. I was having some difficulty being inspired after a particularly difficult visitation transition on Sunday evening. It’s sad how something that should be so simple can become the ultimate circus for my kids. I cannot imagine their confusion, desperation, anger, and sadness as they experience what life has thrown at them. My job…my ONLY job right now is to make this as easy as I can knowing that I cannot (nor do I have any interest to try to) control another persons behaviour, nor can I change how another person acts.

As a parent, I take great pride in teaching my children to be independent. I foster this from a very young age. I am the opposite of a hovering parent. I let them get dirty, fall down, get hurt, make mistakes. When the younger ones fight, I encourage negotiation…and let them duke it out if it comes to that. They are five and eight, so the older boy wins an obvious fight. The younger one has learned though to hit when it’s least expected, to come from behind, to attack in stealth mode. One of his favorite sayings, “That’s payback” has become a running joke. He may do something unintentional, but if it causes pain (like a wayward Hot Wheels car to the ankle) he says, “Ha, that’s payback.” You are never sure WHAT he is paying back, but you can rest assured he will think of some wrong that has been done to him that needed paying back.

All of this leads to where I am now with my daughter. She is nearly an adult and is learning to fly on her own. This divorce is taking a huge toll on her emotionally as she is constantly either being put in the middle, or inserting herself where she does not belong. I am the parent who has always taken the beating by her. Even her psychologist has ‘reassured’ me that her negativity towards me is an obvious sign of her security. She knows I will never abandon her, that no matter what she says or does I will always love her. She takes her anger and frustration out on the parent of whom she will never have any question of their love. That has always been me.

In the psychologist office one day I said something to the effect that I was not interested in being her friend, that it is not my job to be her friend, my job is to be her mom. Her psychologist said that if she was never pissed off her parents, they weren’t doing it right. This was a very hard pill for her to swallow, but she did have a very brief light bulb moment…she is RARELY, if ever pissed at her father. He is always the ‘good guy’ in her eyes. He can do no wrong. I wanted so bad to jump out of my chair and yell BOO YA…but didn’t think it appropriate. We also talked about her relationship with him. She has the need to bash me in his presence. I said that if her relationship with him is based on their mutual hatred of me that she needed to take a serious look at the relationship and decide if that’s what she wants for herself. I save these little epiphanies for her shrink’s office as I know then they can be validated by somebody she trusts and respects. Saying anything outside of there holds no weight with her.

As sad as it is, I have taken to communicating with my daughter only within the walls of this office. I cannot and will not subject myself to the abuse she continues to hurl at me. I know her father does not condone the insults and such, but what he fails to understand is that it has been he who has trained her way of thinking. He has given her free rein to kick me, then tries to tell her it’s wrong.  The damage has been done, the mold set. You cannot undo this damage without serious intense therapy and cooperation from BOTH parents. He is less than willing to accept his role in her anger, or behaviour…you cannot change what you do not acknowledge so essentially, her and I are on our own to repair the relationship he has damaged and continues to sabotage.

I gave her another chance this past weekend, unfortunately it was her last chance. After being angry at her father for showing up late to her event this weekend, she lashed out at…you guessed it…me. This is her pattern. She says in her psychologists office that she gets it, she is remorseful and she understands that it is not me she is angry with, yet she continues to take it out on me. I am the safe target. Unfortunately for her, I am removing myself from the firing range. She will continue to use me, in my absence, and it will be easier to make me her target, but I believe that she will become more aware of her issues internally when she does not get the same reaction to her outbursts.

I worry about her when she does turn 18, the real world will not put up with her temper tantrums and lashing out. She will learn things the hard way…and unfortunately for right now, all I can do is watch. Her psychologist also fears that she is on a fast self-destruct mode…you have no idea the hurt my heart feels to watch my own child fall apart.

Children learn what they live. He has shown no respect for me, has continued to tell the children what a ‘bad’ parent I am, etc. Of course she is going to feed off that. She is a teenage girl, we are two peas in a pod which leads to a significant amount of stress already. The difference is that I show her respect. How can she be expected to show respect when she is being fueled by his hate, his rage?

Well, she is going to learn the hard way. We had agreed that she is not allowed to visit me outside of her psychologist’s office. A text or phone call to tell me about her day is fine, but she would not be allowed to interfere with my limited time with her brothers. As of right now, their father only allows me to see them every other weekend. My time with them is sacred. I cannot risk her undermining what little time we have togther for her own selfish reasons.

A hard choice for a mom to make, but I have done my job raising her, she wants to be treated as an adult, she will learn what adult relationships are like. you cannot shit all over people and expect themt o just sit there and take it from you. Eventually they will walk away. My hope is that she learns this lesson from me…and not over and over and over again from people she surrounds herself with as she moves out into the world.

Pray for my baby girl…that she finds healing and strength, That she realizes what a wonderful life she could lead if she led hero wn lief instead of trying to please others all the time. Pray that she finds appropriate guidance through this storm. Pray for peace in her heart.

I love you to the moon and back…forever and always. NOTHING will change that kiddo.