Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Even Keel



I’ve received an interesting inquiry from the Ex.  It has to do with a pending work trip for him, which would cut short his week end with the children.  He is proposing a few options, swapping week ends altogether, cutting the week end short and swapping just one of the days, or just having grandma watch the children (?). 

Here’s the irony:  a while back, I also had a work trip, and who simply stood his ground and said he was providing childcare, and no swap?  Then tacked on his two weeks summer vacation when I was supposed to return from my work trip, so effectively tried to keep the children away from me for three weeks in a row?

It was after some master finagling with the coparenting counselor and myself that gave it a wee better ending:  1) I cut my work trip short, and 2) negotiated that I at least had the week end with the girls before they went off for two weeks with him.

I’d almost like to say Karma is going to bite you in the a$$, jerk face.  That I was told, too bad, so sad, and simply lost time with my children due to work obligations, and don’t you just love how that works out for you now that you’re in a similar situation?

Except, I’m not a jerk. 

And, after thinking this through:  life moves on.  There may be a work trip coming up for me out of the blue.  Or, hubby and I may plan something and maybe we will need the Ex to be flexible in the future.  So if I’m flexible now--with a kind reminder that this gesture is much different than the response I received in a similar predicament, and so that by agreeing to this, we expect it will be impetus for him to also be flexible in the future, it will be better for everyone (especially the girls).  (and yes, I cannot control if he will actually abide by this, but at least I’m doing my best to work with him.  Being a role model for the girls, even though they won’t know all the gritty details).

I’m considering doing the one day swap—picking up the girls early.  Our week ends are completely booked through the end of 2014—funny how the holiday season and sleepover plans, etc can fill up on the every other week end schedule.  So I will propose a swap for that one day sometime in early 2015.  And hope this will be an impetus for him to act more kindly towards schedule changes in the future.  But if not, at least I’ll go to bed knowing I did the right thing by the girls.  I hope.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On a happy note



DD1 had a great “DD1-only” night the other night.  It was so sweet, actually, while she was doing her homework, her tooth fell out, so the tooth fairy made a visit in the wee dawn hours (me suddenly waking up at 5:00am thinking—oh crap!!!!).

I cooked DD1’s (and now hubby’s) favorite dish—homemade bbq ribs and she ate it up with gusto. Then, because Ex had let us know he wouldn’t be home to facilitate the phone call with DD2, we called grandma’s directly.  At first, grandma hung up.  But we called back again, and she couldn’t resist “Hi grammy!” from DD1, and put DD2 on the phone.  To which DD2 said, “Hi DD1!  I was just telling grandma that I wish DD1 would call me, and you did DD1!”  Oh man, heart about melted in a puddle.

After clean up and shower time, we had a slumber party DVD watch, DD1’s pick—the original peter pan, which we watched for about an hour.  Then, when I put her to bed, we snuggled a little bit before she fell asleep.

p.s. the only downer to this, yesterday, DD1 told me that when she told her grandma the tooth fairy came, she said grandma told her the tooth fairy didn’t exist.  That’s why grandma gives her 2 dollars, but daddy gives her 5.  Really?  Part of me wonders if they are really that strange over at their house, the other part of me wonders if DD1 is doing some secret investigative reporting on the reality of the tooth fairy, lol.

I told her that maybe the tooth fairy doesn’t go to dad’s house, but she definitely comes to ours.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drama: A Day in the Life



I get an email time stamped at 1:27am this morning (Monday, yay, first day of the work week!) saying that no, he is going to pick up DD1 today (legally not his day), and what’s up with an ultimatum about getting a response from him by Saturday at noon?

Context:  Today is a holiday for DD2 but not for DD1.  When a holiday is attached to a week end, the parent who has the week end, has the holiday.  He had this past week end.

Over the past year or so, I’ve kindly offered to keep the children together in similar situations, as I thought it would be best for the girls to be together.  Normally this has worked.  Then, last week, when DD1 was on fall break and DD2 wasn’t, the thoughtful Ex defensively stated that he would NOT be taking DD1 to her extracurricular activities, thank you very much, and then blamed my lack of informing him about the classes as the culprit.  (Rewind to August, when I informed him twice about the new ballet school and rewind four days before activities when I informed him again—which is how I learned he wouldn’t take her).

So…last week Thursday, I kindly offered that if the Ex would take DD1 to her activities today, I’d offer to let her stay over with DD2, so the children could be together.  To please let me know by noon on Saturday, otherwise I would follow the court order per DD1’s school schedule.

And…of course he doesn’t respond by noon on Saturday, so I followed up around 2pm on Saturday, informing him that I planned to pick up DD1 and follow the court order per DD1’s school schedule.

Is this too confusing?  DD1 is in school, DD2 is not.  DD1 could go over if Exie would take her to her activities, but Exie need to respond by noon on Saturday.  That was his message.

And my reasoning (which I didn’t state in the email, because it’s useless and he doesn’t care and would likely make him react even more crappily):  1)  I had to plan ahead to get her to where she needs to be, if he wouldn’t take her.  And more concerning 2) Because he didn’t take DD1 just last week, I wouldn’t agree to a change in the decree without confirmation that he would support DD1 and her activities.

But!  Nothing like an act of kindness (i.e. have DD1 for an extra night, all you have to do is support her activities!) to bite you in the a$$.  Because in at 1:27am, I’m told I am confusing him and he was absolutely going to pick her up, or I could take DD1 and then return her in time for dinner (???) and blah blah blabbity blah.

I responded simply that my email was clear and because he didn’t respond as requested, I had already made arrangements to pick up DD1.

And in the meantime, consulted co-parenting counselor, friends, attorney as to what to do—which is—go get DD1, and if he shows up, say no thank you, and if he gets cranky, call the cops.  Also, notify the school he would be in violation of the family court order if he shows up today.  Great, because having police involvement at the school is really in DD1’s best interest, right?  Also, thanks for the opportunity to air my dirty laundry to the school.  (But to be truthful, when I talked to the school, they merely responded not a problem—and did I hear a slight roll-your-eyes-camaraderie smile in her voice?--made me wonder if they’ve seen all kinds of !@#$).

A few hours later, I received a contrite email asking me to ‘please reconsider’ and blabbity blah.  Also a lovely misquote from the court order. 

I managed to keep it classy:  I responded that I had reached out last week about today but did not hear back until 1:27am this morning.  That any decisions in the past to arrange scheduling that was different than the decree were mutually agreed upon well in advance.  That I looked forward to coming to agreements ahead of schedule in the future, should the occasion arise.

Sincerely,
Sick of this crappity crap b.s. nonsense, mom.

p.s. but i am looking forward to having a DD1-only special night.  We had a DD2 special night last week when DD1 was at a sleepover.  And...DD1 seemed excited at pick up that all the attention was going to be on her tonight...  <3 br="">

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Uncertainty

Over the last few days I’ve been struggling with making decisions, with being confident in what to choose, how to act.  What to ignore, what to address.  I’ve been down and out, feeling like I should give up already.  Although I’m not even sure what giving up means.  I’m so tired of fighting.  I’m so tired of the vigilance.

The anxiety about our situation is reaching into other areas of my life.  I worry about my “seem like an extrovert but really an introvert” status.  Yes, I love my job and interacting with people, but maybe I’m so wounded that it’s really difficult for me to maintain friendships “normally.”  I have good relationships at work because I know that’s one of the ways to do my job well—that is, cooperate, be a team player, and at the same time, take responsibility of crap that I’m supposed to be responsible for and make some decisions already—with everyone’s input taken into consideration as much as I can.  I guess it’s easier in a work setting, because there’s a prescribed time of when you are there and what is expected of you.  And the fact that I enjoy the ‘work,’ helps, too.  Outside of work—I’m kind of a social idiot.  I feel like my secret introvert really shows.  It takes effort to be involved and maintain friendships—and part of having kids is forcing me to interact and be social with other parents, sometimes I’m good at that, others, not so much.  I worry that I’m not a good enough friend, I don’t interact enough, or I interact at an arm’s length because sometimes, I feel like hiding.  Sometimes, I worry I’m being a crappy friend.  I hem and haw, not sure if I should make plans, but once I do, it all turns out just fine and I have a good time.  So what’s up with the anxiety?

Or, I worry if DD1’s neighbor pal hasn’t been over to play for a few weeks, if their parents are worried about our divorce situation and maybe don’t want to expose their daughter to it. Clearly, I need to regulate these fingers of doubt and anxiety, because last week end, she was over almost every day, and I could hear them giggling and laughing for hours.  And…this neighbor pal lives with her mom and step-dad, so if there would be any play mate who would understand, certainly this family, right?  I need to get a grip.

And after being worried for two days that I may have offended DD1’s BFF’s mom by missing calls (she is also a working mom), we’ve just made plans for a sleep over, because it’s fall break, and at first I was all worried that maybe I was imposing, but we love having her sleep over at our house, too, so it’s all going to be fine, and we’re going to plan something for BFF to stay with us in November.  I’m just such an idiot!!!  Let go and live in the moment right?

Some days I’m good at this, some days, not so much.  I read a quote on FB about worry is a waste of time, it just sucks out what could be a joyful time for you.  I think I’m on the uptick of the worry ebb and flow, I feel it receding, I guess because I’ve overcome the latest e-mauls relatively unscathed.  I’m likely triggered because we will be interviewing two new attorneys for potential representation as a ‘safe-guard’—my wonderful and capable attorney who won my case for me is retiring.  So maybe it’s re-thinking and re-living what we went through to get to today is what’s setting me off lately.

Does the anxiety ebb and flow for you, too?  How do you manage it?  Yesterday, I exercised my brains out, and that helped, but it also gave me a sore tummy (or maybe that was the anxiety), so I could only eat white toast for dinner.  My darling husband and I had some alone time, watching our favorite brain candy shows (Scandal, and the new “How to Get Away with Murder”) and it was a nice break from thinking.


How do you let go of worry and embrace the love?  It seems like I was so good at it the week before last.  I’m feeling stronger today.  I guess I just have to figure out how to embrace each moment, really live in it, rather than write about that I should.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Weary...but

I had a great talk with one of my mentors today--about what it's like on the other side, getting away from our abuser, but still having to co-parent with him.  She is a seasoned veteran handling complex cases where children are witness (or victims) to violent crimes.  Her stories make mine seem like an after school movie, rated a-ok for public viewership, and at the same time, she has said that every story has meaning and power, and the abuse was escalating.  I told her that sometimes everything is a-ok, I'm confident, strong--zen warrior pants planted firmly on and waging the disinterested, civil email war just fine thank you.  I've got this.  You do not own us anymore, despite how you try.

And then some days, not so much.  Barrages of e-mauls, complaining about my quality of childcare, nit-picking my choice of haircuts, accusing me of over scheduling my daughters' activities (the irony being that he refuses to take them on his weekday, so all weekday activities fall on my days).  The latest--it's lovely parent-teacher conference time, and guess who responded and confirmed the time, but didn't tell me about it?  I found out from my daughter.

So heart pounding, I called the teacher, afraid to air our dirty laundry but requesting a special separate conference so I do not have to be in the same room as my abuser.  And of course she agrees--yes, she takes me at my word, no she doesn't need to see the TRO that was filed in the past when things were really bad.  (I wonder if these teachers have seen everything.)  The adrenaline rush building up my courage to ask for this, the fear that it won't work out, then relief like a river poured over my face and body and I can barely breathe, but then I can breathe again.  I think--how did i work so hard to get out of this situation, to endure a custody battle for two years, and yet still the fear comes rolling in like thunder.  How little progress have I made?

I described to my mentor all the digs of late--that I jeopardized my daughters' safety by allowing them to ride horses with my sister-in-law, that I am neglecting my motherly duties by hiring caregivers that he doesn't know and not informing him, threatening to withhold medical copays to pay for a mini lunch tupperware that went missing, suddenly demanding to have a sit down meeting with my new husband.   She recognized immediately that he is acting and waging a battle for control in any way that he can--and the needling commentary is all that he can do.  That I have been lucky enough to move on and be fulfilled and happy in a new life, but he has been left behind, and he will likely be this way for the rest of our parenting lives.  AKA, the rest of my life as a parent of children who I'm responsible for--and beyond. Weariness sinks into my bones at the thought.

One of my fellow single parents who also remarried (and just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl) commented that when she gets stressed by similar (and worse) antics from her ex, she does her best to vent away somewhere, then she puts her feelings "in a box" and packs that box away to be looked at later.  That we have moved on in every way that is important, and we can be happy, and that after some time, she can actually laugh at the silliness, the pettiness, the ludicrous allegations.

I know the best way to "win" is to not let it bother me.  To be the bigger person.  To disengage.  To focus on all the positives we have now--DD1 is old enough to have sleepovers with her pals, and we've hosted several already, DD2 is a growing jumping bean who is now enrolled in gymnastics, we've made new sets of friends with both daughters' pals' parents, making positive bonds--in particular with a veteran blended family who empathizes with us after dealing with similar issues for over 15 years.  Most noticeably, DD1 has made strides towards re-bonding with A, despite the negative commentary from her dad.  Today, she spontaneously held A's hand, which she hasn't done for months--when she easily did so during our courtship and prior to our engagement.  My heart melted.  At story time tonight, she demanded to sit next to A while I read the story, in fact both girls did.  Talk about a swooning heart.

Funny, re-reading this, I think I just talked myself out of the weariness for the moment.  Yes, I'm so weary from the negative commentary.  I need to focus more on the positive.  Writing helps...some days more than others, but I'm thankful that it's helping today.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Missing my two hearts




I miss my kids.  I can’t wait to pick them up today and see their silly smiles and hear about their day.  Yes there is the rambunctious roller coaster of homework, cooking, eating, clean up, phone call with their dad that sometimes causes stress, bath time, story time—it’s an explosion of activity.  But I can’t wait to have them home.  I can’t wait to check in on them later tonight, snug in their bunk beds, sleeping peacefully—DD2 on the top bunk, smooshed up in between her pillows and her giant hello kitty that she got for her birthday.  Oh wait, DD1 got it for HER birthday, but has let DD2 keep it.  DD1, snuggled in on the bottom bunk, lately she’s been making a tent (but with a space so she can stick her head out) with a blanket tucked into the rungs of the top bunk and dangling down to cover the rest of the space between her head and the ladder at the foot of her bed.

I thought that the routine would get easier with time.  I thought I would embrace the no-kids time and I do, I fill it up with soul replenishing activities like paddling out into the ocean and catching waves, forcing myself to stop on the way back in and lay back on my board and meditate in the moment—feel the motion of the water, listen to the breaking of the waves, inhaling the fresh salt air, filling my heart with peace.  It helps.  Or spending time with the hubby watching movies and relaxing, or spending time with a girlfriend, too.  I also take advantage of the no-kids time to go about my adult family errands that are much easier without children, the grocery shopping, the laundry, the cleaning, the everything that is kind of simpler without chasing a giggling pre-schooler around or arguing points with a precocious elementary student.

But, I miss them.  I woke up last Friday, heart full of sadness that they would be apart from me, my two hearts.  Over the week end, I found some drawings of DD2—one including three “girls,” purple hair waving in the wind, a big one--mommy, a medium one—big sister, and a baby one—DD2 (as she described it), standing under a rainbow.  I folded their laundry and neatly put them away, knowing that tonight and tomorrow morning, they will likely tear through their drawers in search of what are we going to wear to school today.  I picked up random toys sprinkled around the couch, remnants of the last dash out of the house to school/work last Friday morning.

I look ahead at the increasing time sharing in a few years and wonder--does it get easier?  Will it ever?  I hope so.  Today, I feel both melancholy and peaceful.  Melancholy from missing them, but peaceful that in a few hours I get to pick them up and bring them home.