Did I really write that as my blog post title? Ugh. So re-cap, child support has been handled for May, June, and July. We will have to go back once DD2 ends preschool and starts elementary school, effective August.
Which is the groundwork for the next battle. As much as I want to be supportive of our public school system that is working for my older daughter, my younger one is in need of more attention. And once middle school rolls around, public won’t be an option for my older daughter, because they’re doing away with their honors program, inclining many parents to head for the hills. (And by the way, I am totally and absolutely more than grateful that I can provide options for my daughters.)
Someone else is not so keen on the options I can provide for our daughters. Someone else has been Mr. No since August 2014, and here we are, 9 months later, stuck in the same position. There have been emails, some nastier from him than others, passed back and forth. I enlisted the co-parenting counselor, who thought it reasonable that I could apply her. When that didn’t work, five months later, I enlisted my attorney. We made some progress-- he finally agreed that I could apply DD2 to private school, just hasn’t agreed that if she actually gets in, that we can enroll her. I’d laugh if it wasn’t such a waste of time.
His hang up? He wants to be sure tuition can’t be used as child support calculations. I already told him numerous times that no, I wouldn’t charge him CS, and yes, I would pay for everything.
Next, he wanted to be sure it didn’t impact his legal rights. I assured him numerous times that everything he does now to participate in DD1’s school activities, he is free to do and I would expect he would do with DD2. The only difference is the setting. I was willing to sign a court stipulation to clarify both the CS and the legal rights issues.
Now, he wants to pick the private schools. I offered to narrow the choices geographically by where we live and where we work. That wasn’t enough. So, since I am the one who will be paying for everything, the answer is no, he can’t dictate the selection of the school. Yes, participate in the planning, yes, make suggestions (there honestly aren’t that many private schools to choose from), and yes, we would likely agree, but giving him equal say would give him the ability to delay and distract from application to enrollment, and I’d be right back in the same position where I am now.
Which is, I can apply (because I actually don’t need his agreement to apply), but I can’t enroll.
I know I’ve railed on the irony—that he and his brother are products of private school. That he was adamant that DD1 go to private school (which my mom ended up paying for, once he moved out), and likely DD1 would still be there, had the divorce not happened. That likely, DD2 would already be preparing to go.
The private school vs. public school debate is one that mystified me when I moved here 18 years ago. I am a product of public school. I think I did fine. The terrible reputation public school has here—and when my good friends who are public school teachers send their kids to private school—well, it makes a difference on how I think about things.
Cue to today—in an hour or so I will need to go sign a document and there will be a filing in court. He will not be happy about it. I brace myself for the needling and manipulative and accusatory emails to come. At least it’s just emails, hiding behind a computer screen, at least it’s not in my house. I worry about how he may take his frustrations out on my children.
My insides are getting a little shaky, a little trembly. It’s the possibility of having to face him again, in an adversarial setting. It’s the fear and panic, the remembrance of violence and threats and hurt and anger. The unpredictable anger outbursts, breaking toys, choking our dog. Seeing my DD1’s face crumble in fear and sadness and hurt when he would flail swear words and yell at her, flick her in the head because he was frustrated. Seeing my DD2’s tears when he knocked her over with a fitness ball. Yes these memories have receded, but each time there’s an encounter that I know will bring conflict, the memories come back.
Right now, I’m feeling pretty strong. When I woke up in the middle of the night last night, worried sick about the questioning and the needling that are coming, or maybe tonight if I wake up again, I won’t feel as strong. Those are the moments where I have to fill my heart up with strength and support, to combat the fear, to put what’s best for the children first, and my fears second.
PTSD sucks. But it forces me to gather up what strength I can, and take flight.