Monday, July 7, 2014

summer vacation--the blues before the sunrise, i hope

Today, I am simply worn down by all the crappity crap.  I don’t know why I wake up each morning, thinking it will be different.  Isn’t that one of those common sayings, that insanity is attempting to do the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome?  I feel like I’m in the hamster wheel of nitpicky and the spokes are made of blaming innuendos and accusatory comments.

Example 1: the children were out of school all last week due to fevers; while their energy level (when on the drugs)  and appetites were fine, they just couldn’t shake the temperatures.  So I stayed home with them one day (the others were his vacation days), and we knew the next day was his birthday, and by decree, the children stay with him from “after school until 8pm.”  Except with fevers all day, there is no school, and I suggested maybe he could spend some time with them during the day, rather than keep them up late, and let them go to bed at their normal bed times (7:30pm).  He said he would think about it, but of course in came the email that no, he would have them after school until 8pm, because by golly, it’s “his time.”  So having them stay up past their bed time so they could be with him for “his time,” trumps what’s best for the sick children.  Great.

Then, the exchange, which he fought me on forever, he had originally chosen a poorly lit parking lot, and I stood my ground on that one with the support of the co-parenting mediator, suggesting two other places with better lighting and more traffic, safer for the children (and for me).  He picked a third place, fine, as long as it wasn’t the original dark parking lot.  I get to the exchange parking lot early, notice there isn’t parking close to the grocery store entrance, so park further down the row, directly underneath a streetlight, plenty of empty spaces nearby and lots of lighting.  I text him exactly where I am located, and settle in for the wait.  Twenty minutes later (yes, late, whatever), he pulls up, drives right by my car and passes me, parks the furthest down the lane that he can, nowhere near streetlight.  Le sigh.  The exchange with the children went fairly okay, thankfully, some alligator tears from baby sister who normally perks up after a few minutes—and she did.   I also decided to distract them with a drive thru run at starcrack and kids hot chocolates, which gave them something to be chipper about and spread their focus a little.

However, big sister was more thoughtful and conflicted, and as I pulled up to make our order, she started asking me why daddy “gives you all his money,” and “that’s why he’s poor and you’re rich.”  I told her I’m sorry daddy feels that way, but he is a grown up, and so is mommy, and it’s our job to take care of her not the other way around.  Then she asked what the money was for, so I told her it is called child support and it’s set by the judge who makes the rules, and it pays for things like going to the doctor or baby sister’s preschool or her before and after school care.  Then she asked how we met, and I reiterated that when we met and had her and baby sister, that mommy and daddy loved each other very much, and then after a while mommy and daddy had big grown up problems, so big, that the best thing to do was to have a divorce.  Of course she asked me “what big grown up problems?” and I told her when she was a big grown up, I could talk to her about it then, but right now she is a third grader and I needed her to concentrate on being a third grader.  Lastly, she asked why she couldn’t just stay overnight at dad’s, because they were going over for the week end, and I told her that we had to follow the  visitation schedule, and she said that it wasn’t fair.  I responded:  The judge made the rules about when you stay with mommy and when you stay with daddy, and we have to follow the rules, so it’s fair because of that.  But even if it doesn’t feel fair to you, we have to make the best of the situation, because that’s how life works.  No matter what we encounter, we have to make the best of it.   (Mind you, this was all in the drive-thru!)

Then on the way home, I asked if they had a birthday dinner with dad, and they said oh yes!  It was yummy!  And I responded that was great! and so glad they had fun!  and I asked if this Aunty came or that uncle, or Uncle R who lives with dad and grandma.  And big sister said, oh no, Uncle R doesn’t talk to us.  He’s only allowed to talk to grandma or dad.  I had thought that was the case, so I didn’t push it, I just said, well, I know Uncle loves you very much, and when you were a baby, big sis,  uncle played with you all the time.  So even if he doesn’t talk to you, be sure to be nice to him and say hi.  Baby sister chimed in and said that he never talked to them, too.  Then big sister said, Uncle only talks to dad or grandma when they’re fighting.  And I said, what fighting, you mean tonight? And big sister said, no, mommy, don’t you remember?  You where there, when I was hiding under the table.

Cue to four years ago, dad had just kicked big sister on the ground at his mother’s house, and the only one who stood up to him was his brother.  A huge yelling match ensued between the brothers, with me and the girls hiding in the other room, followed by an abrupt departure, not the greatest memory and one I had thought DD1 had forgotten, but apparently not.  I didn’t know what to say, so I said, oh yes, I do remember, and Uncle R loves her and baby sister very much.  And by that time, we had arrived home, and the girls—obviously feeling better from their fevers—ran into the house and watched So you think you can dance with A for a little while before bed.

The following morning I woke up to a lovely accusatory email about how I gave the children diarrhea by giving them hot chocolate the previous day before dropping them off (?Seriously ?) and also filled with lovely misleading statements about how I parked in a completely different parking lot, nowhere near the grocery store, and that I was to show up at the ‘agreed upon’ spot and how he has made concession after concession, blabbity blah.  Because that email was not for my benefit, that is for the cc: of the coparenting mediator.  I responded with a two liner:  no spots near the entrance, parked at the end of the row leading to the grocery store, plenty of light and empty spots nearby, I thought that helpful to the exchange.

I find this all tiresome.  Writing about it is tiresome.  I’m sure reading it must be even more tiresome.  I’m so sorry to just be a sad, venting lady today, I’m so tired of all of this baloney.  I’m stressed, I’m not sleeping well, the kids are stressed because the timing of his ‘summer vacation’ means there are a lot of back and forth at the end of it, and they can’t make head or tails of it, they feel the pull of his emotional neediness and respond.  With DD1—she internalizes and mulls and worries.  With DD2—she is more like an energizer bunny yoda, but she feels it, too.  It’s really difficult on all of us, and it makes me so sad that one person who is so focused on his emotional neediness is affecting all of us.  I’m trying to see the positive to all of this, the whole being the change I want to see in the world, but it’s difficult to keep the eye on the ball, difficult to stay bright--our family trip is coming up soon, and it will be so nice to get away from all of this for a little while.  I’m so tired.


  1. Hang in there Jane. Seems like there is no pleasing a man (co-parent) like him. I think it's important that you continue to consider yours and the girls SAFETY at all times. Even when Daddy is being wonderful to the girls, you have to be vigilant. No wonder you're tired. I hope you get some rest on your vacation!

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words, Lisa. <3 They are appreciated!

  3. It's one of the things I like the least about summer vacation - I have to see my ex more because exchanges aren't done at the school. I'm glad at the very least that he's over the "we must exchange at the police station" and do pick up and drop off at each other's homes. I don't envy you at all. I wish I could say it will get better, but I'm not sure of that in my own situation. All I can say is - you're handling it the right way. And as to explaining the "split" - did you read my blog on bucket filling? I found it's been an appropriate way to explain it to them in terms they can understand.

    1. I's so awful to have to do the exchanges in person--school makes it so much more neutral. !!! Thank you for your kind words of support. I will go re-read the blog on bucket filling!