Monday, September 5, 2011

Part-time Empty Nester?

I anticipated that this 'day' or time would eventually come.  The day the issue of my kids living with their dad on a full time basis or even on a permanent part time basis was inevitable.  I guess I also knew merely the thought of it would make me sad.  I never counted on feeling bitter too.  

I have to be careful what I write here and I am almost most bitter about that.  I've been 'spoken' to about what I write about my ex (the father of my children) on my OWN blog because he feels I don't paint him in a good light and that people will think "badly" of him.   I have explained to him that anyone who reads my blog and who also knows him should know if he's a good person or bad person by now and anyone who reads my blog who doesn't know him wouldn't give a shit about him.  So their opinion shouldn't mean anything to him.  Irregardless, I've thought about what I want to write about this subject and I'll try to be VERY diplomatic.

As I said, I knew this time would eventually creep up on me.  My kids are getting older and have social lives.  They are spending less and less time with us, their parents, and more time with their friends.  It's no skin off my nose because they live with me.  Seven out of ten times they (along with their friends) are hanging at my house at some point.  They come home to me at the end of most days.  But I get it when their father says he wants them on a 50/50 basis because he doesn't feel he gets to see them enough between his set times and their social lives.  I get it but I don't like it.

It only bodes the following questions from me.  And even though I ask these questions I want so badly to believe it's just that he feels he's missing out on stuff and wants to be included.  I could understand that. 

Is this just about not having to pay child support anymore?  Because if they are with each of us 50% of the time then it's obvious no child support will change hands.  And I'm fine with that.  I've always said from the get go that I can't complain about anything money related about my ex.  He's fulfilled his duties when it comes to that department.  I can make a comment that I've been more than accommodating to him, and his situations, in the past and have never increased his payments in the 10 years we've been apart, but I already know that.  (See that?  Passive aggression at it's finest!  It's my blog though. I can write what I want.  haha)  I am going to try REALLY hard to believe this isn't an issue of money.

I know he thinks he can do a better job than me when it comes to raising our kids.  He's made that crystal clear in the past.  I think he's the only one who thinks that but whatever.  I guess my response to try to convince myself that his words don't hurt me is to reinforce to myself how wonderful my kids are, and even though we both play a role in how they turn out, they spend far more time with me so I want to believe that my influences outweigh his.  Perhaps, he doesn't feel the boys are as great as they are and that is as a result of the time they spend with me.  Perhaps he feels he can turn things around if he gets them more frequently at still a fairly mold-able age. Perhaps he sees that his influence on them doesn't run as deep.  I don't know that statement to actually be true as I see tons of him in his kids, but maybe that's how he feels.

I know how much I would miss them if I only saw them for a couple solid days every two weeks.  So I guess I want so badly to believe that is his true intention behind this request.  I want to believe there are no ulterior motives and nothing his says to me will convince me otherwise (so don't bother trying).  I need to feel it to believe it.  I have too much of a past with him, it's hard for me.

He hasn't lived full time with Gage since Gage was 4 1/2 years old.  He hasn't lived full time with Roan since Roan was 9 months old.  Up until a couple of years (I might be being generous) he hasn't even tried to get more time with them.  So I guess it makes me question, why now?   Is it because they are so much easier now?  Because when they were lots of work and much smaller and it wasn't permissible to leave them alone he never stepped up to the plate to take them more frequently than what was outlined in our separation agreement.  In fact he bailed on them quite often because he worked too hard and was tired, it was too hot at work and he was exhausted and not feeling well, he was stressed out and depressed, he needed 'me' time, he had an opportunity for overtime...I've heard them all.  It's unfortunate and he probably won't remember any of that this way, but he needs to do whatever it is he does to feel better about the situation.  So now when they are entirely self sufficient and small versions of adults, and easy to take care of and talk with, now he wants to be a semi-full time father.

He tells me this wonderful idea of them living with each of us 50% of the time will also give me a break. Almost as if this is a selling feature.  Maybe he's transposing his thoughts and feelings on to me (as he truly believes this) but I'm not asking for a break.  I enjoy having my kids around me.  Maybe Eric would agree with Rob and welcome the week on/week off idea but not me.  I like having them here. I love having them in my life on a consistent basis.  They are my life, they make up the better part of me.  It's all I know.  It's been like this for 15 years.  I don't welcome this potential change. 

I guess I'm bitter because I question why it never dawned on him to be a semi-full time father during the difficult, time consuming, high maintenance years?  Those years got handed to me and I was made to deal with them.  How come now when everything is so much easier and they're never around is this important to him?  How come now he wants to take my kids from me?

I know, I know...I'm being melodramatic.  He's not trying to steal my kids from me.  But I've earned the right to have them full time.  I stepped up to the plate from the beginning of this whole situation and I never waivered from my decision.  I could have made the same decision he did and demanded only a part time visiting schedule.  He could have made the same decision I did and demanded a full time visiting schedule.  But I didn't and he didn't.  If he wanted them on a 50/50 basis then it should have been so since the beginning.  I would have known no different. I would be adjusted to it at this point and accepting and not bitter.

So those are MY feelings on the subject.  I guess I'm also hurt that he went behind my back and offered this option to both boys without speaking with me first or giving me the heads up.  As if they would ever want to tell him no.  There is no way they'd want to hurt his feelings and say they are content living where they live. Why does he want change all that they know?  He's put them in a very awkward situation where they have to choose and hurt one of their parents.  I don't believe he has been fair to them.  If they had come to him or I and brought the subject up themselves, then that's fine.  But he's put them in a position where they have to choose and choosing will hurt one of us.  I don't think he's realized that.

So again, MY THOUGHTS and MY FEELINGS on the subject.  It's MY blog and I can write what I want to write.  I don't want to talk about my feelings with him or justify my thoughts to him.  They are what they are and please don't try to take these feelings away from me. 

So all of that being said.  I am hurt and bitter but I will completely support whatever decision my children make about where they would like to live.  I will try to keep my feelings quiet to them.  In hopes that knowing how much I'll be hurting won't sway their decision.  But I will make it very clear to them how much I would miss them and how much I love having them live with me.  I wouldn't want them to leave my house feeling that I was glad for this change and glad to have a break from them.  I will make sure they completely understand how important they are to me and have been to me from the moment I gave birth to them.  They will know that they always come first.  Before everything else in my life.

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