Wednesday, July 24, 2013

good morning

co-parenting PITA vent alert

just because the litigation is over does not mean PITA co-parenting issues are miraculously gone.  it does help that the case is closed, however, the pressure of an open-ended case has brought relief that's akin to a thirty-ton elephant suddenly jumping off your back.  yay.  i can breathe again. the life is no longer being crushed out of my lungs.

at the same time, a tiger doesn't change his stripes simply because he was struck down in court.  if there is no remorse or responsibility taken for his actions, he will continue on as if nothing has happened--i.e. still do everything he can to gain/re-gain control, victimize himself, lobby for sympathy that the world is against him, or even better, that external forces have colluded to ruin his life.  or even better, that that i have ruined his life.  or something like that.  whatever.

i've been working hard in therapy over the last two years to get OUT of his head.  unfortunately, knowing this information is merely helpful when dealing with current and/or potential future encounters.

for example--dealing with veiled nasty emails accusing me of 'losing' the girls underwear, clothes, towels, etc.  we no longer do drop off/pick ups at each other's houses (thank goodness), everything happens now at school--one parent drops off at school in the morning, the other picks up in the afternoon.  i am in agreement that it is reasonable that items be returned to house of origin, but are we down to counting pairs of panties, now?  should i be emailing and demanding the ice packs that have disappeared over the last two years?  how about checking with the pre-school/school for items first, before excessive, over-the-top, litigious record keeping emails?  le sigh. 

realizing small details like this are the least of my worries.  and i must be thankful i do not have to talk or see him anywhere.    i have been instructed that these types of communications from him are attempts for me to 'engage.'  i am choosing not to engage by not sending emails about the lost ice packs.

so a word about co-parenting communication, if you get a diatribe:  look for the crux--is there a coparenting issue in there?  does it have to do with drop off, pick up, medical/education, scheduling?  if not, don't respond.  

if you feel like you need to respond, give yourself a challenge:  use as few words as possible, and focus on the information.  keep it businesslike, as if you're conducting a service request for a business transaction.  do not engage.  don't respond with sarcastic or barbs of your own (i.e. really, we're counting pairs of underwear now?).  you've moved on with your life and should you be getting messages along these lines, it is very sad that your ex has not. you have no control over how he is, but you do and can control how you live your own life!  (waaaay easier said than done).

i do pray for the day when my reaction to things will be:  meh, whatevvvs. 

until then, you can only do the best that you can.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

p.s. on hope

p.s. as a parent sometimes the pressure to make the right decisions all the time is enormous.  weighing the pros and cons of a situation, deciding is it worth a battle over getting her to go put her dirty socks in the hamper, or to just plow through and get into the tub already?  she wants to play temple run, well what about reading a book?  will her brain melt if she's on the kindle versus using her imagination?  it might!  or it might not!  but i need to get dinner on the table like five minutes ago.

or sometimes, it's big decisions.  like a medical provider giving incorrect information.  finding a new caretaker or babysitter because the one you trusted might not be as trustworthy as you thought. and doing this alone--can make you alone. 

it can make you feel like crying, maybe.  like i did today.  i hope this feeling passes.  i've already sought support and ideas from my trusted friends and colleagues, and experts in their field.  so i will hope it all turns out for the best.


a little over two years ago i was terrified.  i knew i had to do something, to make a change.  the outbursts were increasing in frequency.  it was bad enough that i had to find a new home for our tiny dog, who he choked and threw across the room when he was angry.  but the nature of his words and threats were escalating in description and detail.  it got to the point where every week end there was a blow out, the children spilled their rice, the toy was in his way in the kitchen, the milk wasn't cold enough in the fridge, and he would explode at them.  swear, scream, yell.  stomp on the toy until it broke.  knock over the baby because she was crying, by shoving her in her mouth with his foot.

i don't know why i suddenly have the need to write down these horrible things.  when i see them on the page here, I see, oh my goodness, get out.  get out.  get out.  but up to that point in time, i clung to our family unit, because i believed in something that wasn't there.  i believed that he really didn't want to do those things.  i believed in the quiet time in between the rage.  i believed him when he said he loved us.  when he acknowledge his behavior (the few times he did, saying he was sorry and we were better off without him), i believed he wanted to be better.  i clung to the peaceful times, even though they were tenuous.  we might be all sitting at the dinner table, and big sister would spill her milk, and he would fly in a rage.  if i dared intervene he would punish me by withdrawing from speaking to all of us, and i would be left to care for the children (who were crying and couldn't understand what was going on), and clean up everything.  sometimes, my daughter would cry so hard at what he said that she would throw up.

so two years ago, after reaching out to my friends and family, i knew there was a different place i needed to be, to protect my children.  and here i am, finally, at that very different place.

what i'm most grateful for...?  that my little hearts do not seem to remember the time from before.  or perhaps they choose not to remember, but i think i protected them as best as i could when we were all in the house together and when those things happened.  they were very young when dad moved out, so hopefully we escaped...just in time.  and now?  they have limited time with dad, but because the time is limited, he doesn't get set off (crossing fingers), and the peaceful, happy side is all they see (crossing fingers again). 

at the very, very least, i can provide them a home that is free from that troubling behavior, and they will know what it means to live free from the clutches of bitterness and anger.  a house where they learn that kindness and love are valued and strengthened.  at least, that is my hope.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


The other day, we threw a big birthday party for big sister at the beach.  About 25 kids and 40 adults helped celebrate, and big sister was so excited and happy, she floated throughout the day.  I feel so lucky and so blessed to be surrounded by people who support our little family.  I can't believe how fast the chlidren are growing!  !!  !!!  My heart is still full and I can't stop smiling because it was a magical, perfect day.  I wonder if she will remember when she grows up....the sound of the waves, playing in the water, running hand-in-hand with her various BFFs on the sand, digging holes, jumping in her bounce house.  Running to each little friend as they arrived and proudly handing them a bucket/shovel that we brought as giveaways.  Being surrounded by all her little friends who were all singing happy birthday, then blowing out her candle. 

And with light there is also shadow.

The night after the party I had a nightmare.  I dreamt that I was in my childhood home and it was time for dad to drop off the girls.  I was suddenly filled with terror that he would somehow see inside my house, so I switched on the outside lights, turned off the inside lights, and drew the curtains.  And when he arrived with the children, he demanded to come into my home.  I tried to stop him, but I couldn't at first, he came in through the front door and I had to push him, against his chest with all my might.  He made it through to the entryway, but I was able to shove him outside.  I kept saying, how could you do this in front of the children, what are you thinking?  And big sister is the only one who could understand, and I felt horrible for her hearing and seeing all of this.  When I woke up, I still had the terrible feeling of fear coursing through my veins.  I guess I'm still afraid of him.

And I guess, it's okay to be afraid.  Because he terrorized us for a long time.  And yet, somehow, I found some strength out of this dream, one positive:  he had tried to gain entry into my sacred space, but he did not.  He got in a little, but I pushed him out.  I protected my home and my children as best as I could.  In my nightmare, and also in real life.