If I am to make my own way in this life, mothering my children, doing my job, keeping house, being a good daughter and
sister friend, managing finances, maintaining a car and school activities, why can I not be trusted to make a gut ruling on what’s best for myself and my family?
Actually, let’s switch those two around: first, the children. We have engineered an enviable post-divorce existence by many standards. We live a mile away, are friendly, go to kids’ events together, celebrate holidays together if we are in town, make sure the other parent has a cake and homemade cards coming from the kids on birthdays. We share tuition, child support has never been a point of dispute, and we are good about tracking who paid what when and how to balance that out. Neither of us are rolling in it at the moment, and empathy for the other’s financial hardship runs high. We may not agree with WHY there is hardship in certain sectors, but we both know you can’t get blood from a stone, and beating it only gives you a sore fist.
Equality is something I’ve aspired to, a household and interpersonal goal to shoot for in the absence of age-old, gender-assigned work and responsibility. I believe a father is as important as a mother. Whether a child leans more toward one or the other is, I believe, a matter of how the parents act and caretake the children’s wellbeing. I have seen it go both ways, and usually one parent or the other gave up or fell short in some critical area and that is the reason for imbalance in relationships.
My ex and I both have excellent relationships with the kids. We are both crazy in love with them. When we split, we agreed that I would buy the house from him and that the children would continue to live in their birth home, with all of their things and still attend their school. Minimal disruption. Home base and security for young ones. Knowledge that the other parent is a phone call and three-minute drive away. We have absolutely never refused one another time with the kids and cede to whatever special occasions warrant a change in the routine.
Here’s where I’m stuck. We decided custody. We decided schedules, and sold the children on them. It really hasn’t been that long. They really aren’t bulletproof about the divorce and perhaps won’t ever be, and even though they are physically older, they are in some ways younger and in more need of reassurance and security. They cling to me. They cling to me. Nothing calms them like curling up in my arms. How can I see the need to change the custody arrangements?
Gah. I shouldn’t even be writing about this because I can’t say enough to make sense and it’s a private issue. But I can’t help noticing the timing: if you’ve been reading for any length of time at all, you’ll recall that most disruptions happened at the holidays, or during work changes for me, or when my ex is getting ready to visit or has just visited his family. I don’t think they try to influence him; I just think that all the family togetherness gets him thinking.
I’m spent. I’m afraid to type. I can’t find other cheerful banter to fill up this space. Unless I talk about Borat, which I saw last night. Holeeee frijoleeees what a freaking hysterical movie. It’s been a long time since I spent so much time covering my face and shouting, “Nooooooo!” I was laughing so hard at one of the credits that I had to sit down on the stairs halfway out of the theater. I came this close —><—to peeing myself.
There, did that work? Not that it matters. I’m going to crawl under the covers.