Tag Archives: custody

Navigating under the Influence

28 Sep

Picture this: I’m on a highway, my left hand on the steering wheel, my right holding a beer, my left foot on the gas, my right up on the dashboard (I’m a righty, just in case you were wondering). Loud music is playing – and I’m on the highway. Driving.

Suddenly, I spot a cop, and I freak out. I try to put my right foot back down, to toss my beer somewhere, but everything is happening so quickly, I’m driving so fast, I feel like I’m losing control of my car. How could I have been so reckless? Suddenly, I feel something cold and wet on my foot, soft, velvety, it’s a tongue. It’s licking my foot excessively. Charlie, our dog, has woken me up, and thank god for that.

My son and I collapsed together on my bed after lunch today. That hasn’t happened to us in a really long time. It was a big day for us, well, for me mostly, because honestly I’m not sure how much of it he’s really taken in – despite being the brightest, most insightful 3 year old I’ve ever met (and we all know that as his mother I’m completely objective).

Today, I met D’s twin girls for the first time, and he met my son, and they met me, and my son, and my son met them. All of that happened in one quick hour over ice cream.

We’ve been dating for about ten months now, and I guess it just felt like it was time. I had been kind of pushing the agenda of meeting the kids for a couple of months now, and when he finally said yes, I totally freaked out. This was a serious step. What would I tell my son about D? How would I introduce him? True, his father has a girlfriend that spends every moment of their visits with them. They’re pretty serious – they go abroad together, they take our son on so called family vacations. I hate her guts, but I also think it’s a good thing, in principle. Our boy likes her. She seems to have a head on her shoulders and her heart is in the right place.

But this is different. I the past 3 months, custody has shifted a bit. I have gladly allowed our son to sleep over at his dad’s twice a week, instead of once. It’s been very good for the two of them. Still, I’m the one in charge of raising him. I’m the one who makes the big decisions, the one who gives him stability, who sets boundaries and stands behind her word. I’m pretty freaked out about letting a man into my life – well, about letting a man into OUR life. Because, actually I’ve already let one into mine.

The meeting went well. The ice cream was sweet and cold and the children licked it vigorously under the blazing midday sun. We walked by the water, and I had brought some bread to feed the fish with. The kids loved watching the little fish pounce one over the other, fighting over each bread crumb.

I looked at my man. He was as handsome and sweet as I always feel he is. But there was a softness about him, the way he handled his girls, the way young dads do, fumbling through early parenthood, with a charming clumsiness, a complete contrast to those power moms that blindly push through everything and have answers to all questions and a datebook full of plans for every minute of the week. I’m in love with him, and his girls, and his problems, and his shortcomings. I wasn’t sure for a while, but now I know, I’ll accept the whole package, if he only offers it to me.

Still, I got back home and crashed – well, we both did. Though I had made a huge effort to make our little outing as little a deal as could be made, my son, being a constant reflection of my emotional state, must have felt the tension. I told him: we’re going to meet two sweet girls, new friends. Their dad is mommy’s friend. We’re going to all go have ice cream together at the marina, feed the fish and look at the boats. Won’t that be nice? He said: Are they 3? And I said: Almost. And he said: If I’m older than them I can teach them things. Like, if they don’t know Anna and Elsa I can tell them about the story, and how Hans was bad in the end and how Christof was good, and about Sven and Olof the snowman. He was excited. When we left he said: Can we meet them again soon?

After lunch I felt so exhausted I told my son mommy needed a nap, and he could play if you didn’t feel tired. He crawled into my bed and snuggled by me, and at once we both fell asleep. I don’t know what he was dreaming about, but I hope it wasn’t about his mother’s extreme and untypically reckless driving.

Am I being reckless in my life? Maybe I am. I love D, but I don’t know where this is going. I didn’t wait for certainty before making introductions. Maybe because there could be no certainty before introductions. Maybe because there will never be certainty. There will just be a togetherness for a while, for as long as we both shall enjoy it.

I don’t know.

I guess for now, the DUI is on me, and all I can do is pray there will be no great repercussions. Let this go by smoothly, please! For once, let something be easy.

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Every Day is a Different Kind of I Miss You

24 Jul

I haven’t written in a while. Not really sure why, I just wasn’t in the mood and decided not to force it until the moment returned when I felt that I wanted to write.

A lot has happened. I’ve finished the school year, with the end of the year show and goodbyes to my 6th graders, who will start Junior High in September. I received a shitload of validation, and a few gifts. I got time off – summer vacation. It got fucking hot and my AC began working overtime.

I went to Barcelona with D and spent 4 intensive days together. I learned a lot about us and where I wanted us to go. I confronted D about wanting to take our relationship to the next level: Meeting the kids. I listened as he explained why he wasn’t ready. I adopted a dog and learned what it is to truly love your pet. I had a huge fight with BD about custody stuff. I helped E pick out curtains for her new place to which she is moving with her husband and son, two hours drive away, after having been neighbors for the last 18 months.

Finally, this morning, I cleared out The Drawer. The one where all my old jewelry and makeup and knickknacks are. I found my wedding band, and engagement ring, and all those earrings M had bought me at various fairs she’d happened to stop by throughout the 15 years in which we were friends.

A lot of stuff happened – and she was gone the whole time. She was gone when I made her cinnamon pancakes and they came out perfect and my son ate four. She was gone when I bought “happy pills” for our friends in Barcelona. She was gone when I ate the most delicious octopus salad in the world last night.

Every time something happens to me, she still gone. She is always gone, and she will be gone forever. I can’t tell her about BD being an idiot. I miss her getting angry at him and cursing. I can’t introduce her to Charlie, our dog. She would have loved him. She would have given him a silly nickname. She would have mentioned him and asked about him every time we’d speak, completely acknowledging that he is a part of our family now.

I can’t consult with her about D and what I should do. I bet she would have thought I should break up with him, and I’d discredit her opinion, maybe even get offended and refrain from telling her stuff about him, until a couple of months later when I’d tell her how I felt and then we’d be OK.

No more dirty chai lattes in funny mugs. No more arguments or offences. No more compassion and patient, silent listening. No more funny faces to cheer me up when I’m down. I could cry now because it’s unfair she died, but I feel like I’m done with the WHY???? Now it’s just a quiet kind of sadness. A sort of constant regret. I regret that she’s gone. I wish I had been closer to her. I wish I’d made more time to be with her, especially after she became sick. I wish I could tell her how fucking horribly absent she is from my life.

 

 

Careful!

16 Feb

!

Everyone is telling me to be careful. Everybody wants me to be smart.

The Divorce

He wants joint custody. I honestly don’t think that would be best for Baby. I think he needs his mom. And I think it would be dreadfully difficult for me too. But BD is his dad, and if he wants to be there for his boy, should I be standing in the way? Maybe it would be good for Baby to have a dominant father figure in his life.

It scares me, and I don’t think he can handle it. I think BD is biting off more than he can chew. And I don’t want him making mistakes with this, there’s just too much at stake. Play it smart, people keep telling me. Make sure that you get yours. The thing is, I’m not sure I know what mine is, and really, I think Baby is the only person whose wants and needs matter this time, not mine.

Skating Guy, Still Here.

I’m letting this thing happen to me. It’s dangerous, it’s reckless, I’m bound to get hurt, but I don’t care. My friends are a little taken aback by how fast things are moving. I got a few watch its and we’re just looking out for yous, and I know that they are.

I don’t care. Although BD’s only been out of the house for 5 months, honestly, it feels like forever since I’ve been loved. Yes, I’m using the L-word. Go ahead; tell me I’m being rash. I am, I know it. But I don’t care.

Daycare

I’ve decided to put Baby in daycare starting March. He’s only going to be 9 months old, but it really seems like he’s craving the company of other kids, and the stimulation that daycare can provide. It’s nice to be home with mommy, or his aunts who babysit, but really, it’s very limited. I found an amazing place, literally a two minute walk away from our apartment. I got great recommendations. It’s a family place, with only ten kids, and the head teacher is a warm friendly motherly type, who sings constantly, and cooks, and smiles, and issues hugs freely. We went to visit. Baby was on my lap at first but then he wriggled free and went crawling about, pulling at the other kids’ ears and feet, squealing with joy.

But he’s going to get sick a lot at daycare. You’ll be home with him half the time. And a baby needs his mother. Who’s that warning me now? Oh yes, it’s me.

I guess the truth is that everyone wants what’s best for me. And so do I. I guess the truth is that there aren’t as many warnings issued from friends and family as there are from myself. It’s ME who keeps telling ME to be careful.

Compartmentalizing

12 Feb

compartments

Divorce sucks donkey balls, just in case you were wondering.

BD is being difficult about everything. Honestly, he’s put me through hell recently, and I’m really making an enormous effort to pick up the pieces and move on with my life. I think the least he can do is step aside, and sign a decent divorce settlement. But… Get this. He wants joint custody. WTF. The man can barely make it over twice a week to see his son. He gets stuck at work and by the time he arrives it’s bed time. Or he makes plans with me to take him on a Thursday and they claims we said it was a Friday. How does he think he’s possibly going to manage taking care of a baby 50% of the time, with his mood swings, temporary apartments and his 14 hour day job? And Baby is only 8 months old. There is no way I am parting with him for three nights a week. He needs his mom. And his mom needs him.

Compartmentalizing. The kind of skill that sure would come in handy right about now. BD used to be amazing at it. We’d have a fight, and he’d push the entire saga into a little drawer in his head somewhere, and sit down watching the news, relaxing, as if nothing was wrong, while I’d be out of my mind with rage and insult. But I guess that’s me. What you see is what you get.

And here’s an example from a different angle of my life and its recent developments. Many of my friends, over the years, have acquired the skill of dating casually. I mean dating the same guy, for a while, not like a three date thing that ends quickly. I’m talking about having a guy that they see, that they’re intimate with, and keeping it casual, no hidden catch, no strings attached.

Well, these are skills that I’ve definitely NOT mastered yet. If I’m upset about something, and I don’t mean something like being cut off on the highway, I mean something big, like having my husband walk out on me and leave me with our three-month-old-baby, there is no way I can just pretend that I’m having an awesome day. You’d be able to tell by just one glance at my face that something is seriously wrong. Maybe this is why so many people on my side already know that our divorce is in progress, while on his side, many people are still oblivious. Because he can just smile and nod and pretend that there aren’t any huge life-changing events taking place at the moment.

As for dating, the thing with me is that if I’m seeing someone, who’s actually sweet enough for me to keep seeing, more than a couple of times, it’s inevitable that I’m going to develop feelings toward him. It’s just the way it is. And it doesn’t matter that it’s inconvenient, inappropriate or premature. It is what it is, and I am what I am (maybe I should issue some sort of warning).

Sometimes I wish I could force some kind of separation of the different aspects of my life. Go to work and not worry about the divorce for example. Make out with Skating Guy and not worry about getting hurt. And it does worry me, that if I can’t compartmentalize, how am I ever going to become immune to BD? He’s going to play a serious role in my life, from now and on, basically, forever. Being the Dad. Picking Baby up, spending time with him. And I’m sure once Baby starts talking and being more communicative I’m going to be seeing the two of them together, and it’s going to stir some emotions in me. Inevitable. And how the hell am I going to deal with that?