My husband and I officially separated on May 14, 2008. Meaning this is the last time he was in our home overnight. He had moved out but spent the night so that we could drive together to Em’s field day, so I didn’t have to drive to the next town to pick him up as he had no license. He slept on the couch, but that was nothing new because one or the other of us had been sleeping on the couch for two years.
In June, I officially handed over the $3,000 check, one of more to come, to my lawyer to start separation and divorce proceedings, see where I live, you must be separated for one year before you can request a divorce.
July and August were a HELLISH nightmare of name calling, screaming, false accusations, crying children, isolation, anger, fear. Lies were continued to be told and promises broken. A lot of pacing happened on my mother’s front porch where I had moved because I was too scared to stay in the our family home after a violent threat was made. A lot of crying happened on that porch. A lot of sitting with my parents at the age of 36 after being married for eleven years. A lot of hand holding and moments curled up in my mother’s lap. A lot of nights with the kids in bed and my mother and I staying up until midnight trying to make sense of it all.
September came, school started, the little one was picked up with no notification and did not get off the bus, the school said her father signed her out for an appointment. A LOT of angry words were spoken, rules and agreements were spoken about, truces were made, schedules worked out again and again only to be broken. Kids were taken to his home and he was not there, calls to his cell went unanswered. The man who fought me so hard and ruined our lives that summer, now seemed to have other priorities besides his children.
October, we received a date for our custody and child support hearing, (child support what is that?), January 27, 2009. Seems that, the court feels, is an appropriate time to talk about custody and financial support of our children.
Letter arrives from his attorney requesting information for the hearing. This is to determine who should get sole custody or if we will maintain joint custody. I kid you not that these are some of the questions I have to explain, there are 30 in total:
“If you consider yourself a fit and proper person to have sole custody of your child, expain fully your definition of a fit custodial parent and indicate all characteristics which you possess and which you feel would satisfy this definition to have sole custody of your child, specifically indicating facts to support your contention, citing assertions and stating names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons having personal knowledge of any facts relevant to your assertion”.
“State the efforts you have made in the past two years to enhance the minor child’s educational/religous progress, including but not limited to the following: conferences wiith teachers or counselor, how often you have taken him or her to church, zoos, museums, books you have read to him or her, hours per week spent with the minor child”. (Ummm, thousand of books, trips and hours).
“Itemize completely all expenditures made by you for your child on his or her behalf during the past four years, attach legible copies of all receipts, cancelled bills and checks or other evidence of such expenditures”. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)
So it’s done, my little autobiography. It’s midnight and I go to the lawyer to review it as it is due December 4th. I wish that maybe I could have just carried a video camera around with me. Then the judge could have seen us snuggling in bed like mama hen and chicks in the morning, our weekend breakfasts, the mad dash to school, the homework, the dinner, the board games, the bedtime stories, the middle of the night aches and pains, the explanations of why daddy hasn’t called, the time spent coloring, crafting, playing with the dog, the beautiful new home courtesy of my grandparents, the way the girls run next door to visit with them each day, my car which I actually have and is registered and licensed. The food I buy them, the clothes I buy them, the movies I rent them, the parent visitation days at school, the lunch to celebrate two amazing report cards, the frustration, the exaustion, the bitterness of being the one to pick up the pieces, but to still smile for the girls and tell them “Daddy wants to see you, but he has some things going on right now”.
Can the judge get that from this document? I don’t understand.
I just want to be a good mother to these girls. I just want them to grow up healthy and happy and not too scarred by all this. I want them to know their mother was strong enough to leave an already broken home and stand on her own two feet. I want them to not have to know how hard I fought for them. I don’t want them to ever, ever know how horrible it was to keep them safe and secure and how hard it was to spend days explaining to someone in a Word document what she does everyday to justify she is a “fit” parent.
I just want to raise these beautiful babies of mine. Like I intended when they were first born and laid upon my breast. The whispered promise that first night that I would ALWAYS, ALWAYS, love them and keep them safe in this great big, scary world…no… matter… what…it…takes.
I can do this, I will do this, I am doing this because they are so beyond worth every minute, every dollar, every sacrifice.