Friday, April 29, 2016

Blending Families are not for the faint of heart-pt 2

Image credit <here>

I am so happy right now I can’t even stand it.


At peace.

DD2’s end of the year school performance was today.

And…on the phone yesterday with her dad, DD2 informed her dad that hubby was coming, and asked if we could all sit together.  (which was news to me; and to which the ex replied with: uh…um…I don’t know about that).

Hubby overheard the conversation, and asked me if he went, would the Ex sit with us?  To which I responded, no, he’d likely sit elsewhere, but was he thinking of coming (but didn’t push it too hard)?  And then at dinner both DDs were asking A if he was going to come watch them in their respective performances.  Each explained how much they wanted him to come, how big the shows were (seriously, bigger than a prom!).

I was most nonchalant about it—saying it was nice they wanted A to be there—and yes, they are huge productions, the whole school is involved, it’s pretty much the be all end all of school productions.  In fact it’s so big at DD1’s school they can only accommodate it every other year (instead of every year).

Hubby checked his work schedule, realized he would definitely miss DD1’s, but DD2’s he was available and also realized that given the circumstances, he’d be unable to attend any other school event for a long time.  

I let him know that I’d be going, I was going super butt early, because parents at DD2’s school have proven to be eager beavers (I thought an hour early at the Christmas pageant would be fine, and I was in the back row, ha!), and if he decided to come, I’d save him a seat.

So, up at the break of dawn, breakfast down the hatch, DD1 dropped off at school, DD2 dropped off to kindergarten, I had two and half (yes TWO and a HALF) hours to kill.  And believe it or not, I was not the first one there.  I saved some primo seats for me and hubby, not knowing if he’d actually show up, texted him where said awesome seats were and then went for a little walk to get some errands done.  When I got back to the school grounds, I still had TWO hours to kill, so I sat in the cafeteria knitting some socks for my mom and a little while later, finally meandered to our awesome seats.  Chatted with a nice grandma visiting from Australia to see her grandson (and who was also very interested in my sock project—apparently she wanted to learn to knit, too!). 

Lo and behold, hubby appeared.  I was flabbergasted.  So happy. 

This is a big deal because for the last two and a half years, since we got engaged and then married, hubby was absolutely adamant that he didn’t want to meet the ex until he was comfortable—and he just couldn’t bring himself to meet the person who continues to cause pain to the girls and grief to me.  I brought him to the attorney, the girls’ play therapist, about how and why a meeting with a stepdad and dad was so important.  We even discussed this in counseling and just didn’t get anywhere.

My position was--I thought it would be good for the kids to see that all the adults they love could be in one place and be civil.  No, I didn’t think that they should have a sit down interview (which is what the Ex demanded to have in the beginning), but a shake the hands, a wave, a hello at a drop off or pick up or at a school event would be just fine.  Again, for the kids’ benefit—how could hubby not see that it was important?  And also, because it would suck the wind out of the Ex’s sails as I’m always “the bad guy”—and the Ex was constantly (with reason) pulling the “poor me, I don’t know this man who is spending time with my children.”  (of course every parent should be able to meet the SO, if needed, especially if SO is living with the kids, so I actually agreed with this one).  I was endlessly frustrated at hubby’s refusal to come to the girls’ school events.  

And hubby was endlessly frustrated with me for attempting to force him to go.  It became a battle of wills—me feeling terrible, because he wouldn’t go for the girls or for me—him, because I wasn’t being supportive of his thoughts and feelings on the matter.  Like I’ve said before, blending families is not for the faint of heart.

I finally accepted that hubby wouldn’t come.  And after I thought about it, without the attorney or the play therapist or co-parenting urging a meeting to happen, I understood it a little better—ex continues to be a jerk to the kids and to me, so if that’s how hubby handles it—with distance, well then, ok. (p.s. hubby is NEVER disrespectful about the girls’ dad when they speak of dad, hubby has learned to be positive and understands the importance of never being negative).  On several occasions over the last six months, hubby acknowledged that he knew it was important—he just wasn’t ready.  I learned to let it go, to always invite him to come with me, and not argue or respond with frustration when he refused.  Hubby said he would go when he was ready, and I had to believe him.

So…today he showed up.  For DD2 who lit up in smiles as soon as she saw him (and me), for me, so I could feel that I was a real family, instead of always on edge, wondering when and where the ex would be (don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly civil, but it’s stressful to do these events alone).  

When we were gathered by DD2, who gave us lots of hugs each, I introduced step-father to father, they shook hands, smiled, all in front of a watchful DD2.

And my heart is happy.  A big step just happened.  Maybe this is an easy step for blended families out there, but given all the pain and suffering and abusive history with the girls dad…this was a long time coming for us.  I am so thankful.

By the way, the school performance was wonderful.  I’m basking in the happiness of DD2 grinning and singing her heart out, too.  In her happy smiles at seeing all her people there.

After the performance was over, the ex said goodbye to DD2 without any drama.  Hubby and I walked DD2 back to her classroom and then checked her out of class (it’s a mom week end).  We even got a pic of the three of us together, taken by the teacher.  

All is well with the world.  Yay!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Of Girl Scouts, Prince, and Love

Image credit (here)

I just wrote a lengthy post about the exie shenanigans and all the details about how he maneuvered his manouverings so he could be the one to chaperone on DD1’s latest girl scout field trip to camp, but then I re-read it, and even I got sick of the everlasting b.s. that is his wish to be everything to my girls, make me “the bad guy” as my therapist puts it, and nothing I say or do will ever make it change.  That is true.  I accept it.  It sucks.  But it’s better than having him in our house.

The important thing here is that DD1 gets to go to camp.  And even though the other morning, she said, gosh mommy, I wish you could be the chaperone, I said, yes, I do too, I offered, but it’s okay dad’s going, and maybe the next time camp will be on mom’s week end—I believe it’s all going to turn out fine.  The troop is there, it’s not really about spending time with the parents, it’s about experiencing all the fun things of camp.

The coparenting counselor’s take on this is that dad just needs to understand he can’t be both mom AND dad.  Because doesn’t there still need to be another adult in the cabin?  Having dad chaperone didn’t really solve any problems, because the leader is still all alone in the cabin with the troop (dads stay in their own cabin for obvious reasons).  And it’s okay for girl scouts to do girl scout things with their moms.  Like boy scouts do boy scout things with their dads.  Me thinking:  tell me something I don’t know, and trying not to /eyeroll.

Post script:  because of a clause in our decree, DD2 comes home for some bonus time with me and hubby this week end, while the ex and DD1 are at camp.  So while I’d love to be going to DD1’s first girl scout camp experience, I’m going to be making the most of extra DD2 cuddles.

Lastly:  I’m having a hard time putting into words about our great loss of Prince yesterday.  People say all kinds of things about why would you mourn someone you don’t know?  And I thought about it—it’s not really about mourning someone I don’t know, it’s about mourning the loss of parts of myself where his music intermingled, sounds that connected me to the world, still connects me to the parts of me that make up the jigsaw of who I am today.  I can listen to this song I’ve linked, and it will instantly tether me to times, sounds, experiences of my youth, I can almost smell the incense that I burned in the dim fire-hazard house that we shared with four other twenty-somethings, feel the chill air of a blizzard creeping in under the door, hear the laughter, feel the amazement, embrace the jubilance and glee that being young was—like I was drunk on life.  

Of all the people in the world, why should I love you?

Yep, I was inebriated by life.  I wonder what it would be like to feel that way again.  Experiences and PTSD have brought me to another place altogether these days, but I wonder, if maybe I still am part of that…maybe twenty years from now I’ll look back here and think, wow, I was really in the stream, really just, drunk on love, drinking the experiences of life, despite the fear and hardship, still living joyously, still living with love.

I hope so.

Thank you, Prince, for your music lives on in all of us, in all of our hearts, in all of our memories.  I'm so sorry for your loss to the people who love you and know you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving your art to the world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Image credit (here)

I love my babies so much it hurts.  Likely says every mother everywhere.  So when I see their dad encroaching with his manipulation and emotional blackmail, my heart kind of boils.  New emails came in over the week end.  New confidences from DD2 last night :(

I know I have to let go of fear.  But how do you let go of the worry:

He makes them question themselves and their feelings.

He swears at them for things like brushing their teeth or taking too long to put their shoes on.

Little sister repeatedly tells me she’s “dumb” and “lies” and “breaks things” because “that’s what daddy says.”

They feel responsible for his feelings, that if they don’t behave a certain way (i.e. too friendly with their stepfather; too loving on the phone with me when they’re with him), they worry he thinks they don’t love him.

I worry they think they are at fault when their dad loses his temper.

I worry they’ll carry the responsibility for a man in their life into their adult relationships.

I worry they’ll think love isn’t love unless it includes anger.

I worry they’ll think that if they love him enough, he’ll change.

I worry they’ll think if he doesn’t change, there’s something wrong with them.

I worry they won’t realize it’s okay to be happy and to be loved without hurt.

I worry they’ll think they’re not good enough.

I worry they’ll think they are unworthy of love.

I worry that the self-confidence and trust in the goodness in the world that fills them up right now to the brim, will get whittled down into self-doubt and insecurity.

I worry they’ll question their reality.

Dear god, please protect my babies.  Please help them stand up for themselves.  Please help them believe in themselves.  Please help them know they are loved and worthy of love.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Normal is awesome

Image credit (here)

These days my world of coparenting is humming along at an even 5.  Minor league !@#$ may hit the fan once I finalize my summer vacation planning—I want to take the girls to see our family 3000 miles away, but I think even then it would be surmountable.

In the meantime, DD1 has been very cuddly and sweet of late.  DD2 had some pals over for her girl scouts last night to do some crafting for an event coming up on Sunday.  DD1 helped with the crafts, offered to prepare snacks for the little ones, hand them out, give them napkins, get their drinks ready (I almost checked DD1’s forehead to make sure she was feeling all right—I guess her sassy phase of late is taking a break), and I couldn’t have been more happy to see her being so sweet and helpful.

Once the crafts (round 1) were completed, the scouts wanted to play a little bit more, so DD1 said her goodbyes to the wee ones, their moms, and asked if she could go upstairs and hang with A.  And after everyone left, DD2 and I had some quality along time coloring, and when it was time for bed, we headed upstairs with our dog in tow, and I found DD1 and A hanging out playing games on his Ipad.

The girls brushed their teeth and we read a favorite story and they went to bed without a hitch.  And after they were asleep, A told me gosh, DD1 has been really sweet lately.  And I was like, yes, I’ve noticed too!  She’s been so helpful, using her kind voice, asking me to cuddle.  A said she told him that night that when she’s at her dad’s she misses him.  

Me: heart melted into a little puddle.

Tonight is the start of dad’s week end; DD1 is attending her sleepover after she took him to task for not responding, DD2 is attending her girl scout event, at least that’s what the troop leader said.  So no nasty fireworks, no big fights, it’s really nice right now.

Tonight I’m helping the other half of DD2’s troop finish the crafts.  I’m doing my best to enjoy this sense of peace…it’s weird not to have something to worry about.  

This week end, it’s my job to not let myself worry.  Hugs.