Never Woulda Guessed

I’m excited about this. I have to post it.

I went to court earlier this week. I was so nervous. It was against my ex; I was suing him for full custody, back support, and to raise the child support that I’m supposed to be getting. I was afraid of the things he could say; even though I knew I had the advantage I was afraid he would lie about something. Or exaggerate. Anything. I was afraid. Nervous to a worrisome extent.

Then I got to the courthouse with my fiance and a couple friends, meeting my lawyer there 30 minutes before everything started. My lawyer and I discussed everything while my friends kept a look out for my ex, who hadn’t arrived yet. Occasionally they were asked questions too, but that wasn’t a big deal.

The big deal was that by the time court was due to start my ex had not shown up. We deduced that he wasn’t going to.

After vigorous questioning by my lawyer, since it was a fill-in judge in place of the original judge on the case so we had to bring him up-to-date, and giving the judge the “evidence” from the past couple of months, I was astounded by what was decided. I didn’t know it could go the way that it did since my ex wasn’t present.

I was awarded full custody with visitation only when arranged prior with me, with my permission and supervision only. Child support was raised to the maximum per week, which totals to over $1000 per month. And I was awarded all the back support my ex owes me for the past year, which is quite a lot.

Now, if I ever get any of the money that’s owed me is another story. :-/

I’m uber excited about the full custody thing, though! That was my main goal. Sure, the child support thing is going to help out a LOT, but I wanted my children in my care and mine alone. Joint custody obviously wasn’t working out between us and we needed something more steady, especially for the children. I just want the best for them and that’s all I’ve ever wanted. It’s not spite or hate for my ex, even though I do dislike him with a passion; it’s love for my children. I believe in father’s rights… when they deserve it. If he hadn’t done some unforgiveable things to the children, I would have more faith and trust in him. Until he can prove otherwise, though, this is how it will be.

I don’t know why my ex didn’t show up though. He knew about the trial that day. He’d been served a notice that he had to sign for which said what we were going to court about – custody, child support, and everything. He hasn’t tried to contact me or even replied to any of the times I’ve tried to contact him via phone or other modes of communication. And that is part of why I wanted full custody: because I think he’s just dropping out of my children’s lives completely. To make a point: we actually had to search to find his address as he’d moved without giving the courts, or myself (which, legally he should have done), any sort of notification. It only took a couple of days since there were multiple people searching, but the fact of the matter is that we actually had to search for it!

I don’t know, and I’m not sure if I care or not. I do know that despite my anxiety I do believe that I would have felt better if he had come because I believe in a fair trial and without him there to defend himself, then… gah, I don’t know. I guess I just feel that it was a bit unfair, even though I got everything I wanted. Is that weird?

My Mother and I

I have a complicated relationship with my mother. That’s putting it lightly.

At this point I’ve put the past in the past, where it belongs. There are times when I have start dwelling on what has happened and who to believe: the rest of my family or her? Then I realize that it doesn’t matter because it’s over and done with. What matters is what she and every other person in my life chooses to do now – how to handle their own life and how much they want to be involved in mine, whether they truly want to help me or they don’t. I can’t make those decisions for them.

But it all comes back to my mother.

From the time I moved out with my [now] ex-husband, she was one of the few people to support me even if she wasn’t fond of him. I was happy about that. She told me how she felt and she was honest; she didn’t hide from me the fact that she didn’t like him. It’s the fact that she still helped me when I was pregnant and inbetween homes, when everyone else was proven right that he was an a**hole and they wanted to shove it in my face.

She helped me. Then.

Two years later I’m living on my own an hour away from her and she’s still the one that I talk to the most out of my family and still the one that I see the most out of my family. She’s still the one that is most willing to help me when times get tough and something comes up suddenly. She’s my mother; mother’s do that kind of thing.

But she didn’t when I was growing up. She was never there. Ever.

She’s told me that she’s trying to make up for it. It honestly seems like she is. There’s just one problem.

My mother’s letting me stepfather influence her too much. I’m not sure if it’s consciously or subconsciously or if it’s because she’s been with him for so many years, but it’s happening. I have proof. It’s this proof that hurt me the most.

Those months ago, earlier this year, when my ex took my children for three weeks and I panicked because I had no idea where they were, just a vague idea, and he wasn’t allowing contact? That’s when it happened. On the second day after he finally fessed up that he wasn’t bringing them back like he said he would I finally told my mother. She told me to calm down and basically go through every thing that I already had. She said she would wait a day or two to tell my stepfather. My mom was on my side. She thought that what I was doing was right, especially since I had already spoken to my lawyer and was calling him everyday to try and get something done. She was proud of me, though not half as anxious.

Those two days went by fast. I kept my mother up-to-date with what was going on. One day, mid-afternoon, my cell phone rang. It was my mother. She told me that she’d told my stepfather the night before and then she started in on me about how I needed to “get something done to get your kids back”.

Because I wasn’t trying to do that?! Seriously?!

She kept yelling and ranting at me through the phone. She had switched sides, from being completely on my side to completely agreeing with whatever my stepfather said. What’s sad is that within the past night and earlier in the day I had just been discussing that I thought my mother would do that.

It hurt. It hurt a lot.

It was bad enough that I was so anxious that I couldn’t be in the house by myself, I was restless so I was constantly walking, I’d had multiple panic/anxiety attacks and I wasn’t able to even GLANCE at children without bursting into tears.

And she had the nerve to tell me, as a message from my stepfather, that what I was doing wasn’t enough, was wrong, and I needed to do more and not to listen to my lawyer?!

I love my mother, but F*CK THAT!

It was the first and only time it had happened in my life, but I just lost it. I started yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs into my phone at my mother. I don’t remember everything I said. I couldn’t control what I said. Every word that came out of my mouth was exactly what was on my mind and how I was feeling. I had snapped.

That had never happened to me before. Nobody previously and nobody since then has gotten me that worked up.

I know this: I told her that my stepfather was just that – my stepfather, and that he had no right to tell me what to do. That I was an adult and I didn’t care if she was my mother she couldn’t make my decisions for me. He wasn’t my father, he’s never been my father, and he’s never tried to act like my father so he needed to just shut the f*ck up.

And that was just the part that I can remember. I ranted at my mother for a good five minutes. And then I hung up on her without letting her say anything. And didn’t answer any calls from her house for a week. The only communication would be if something came up having to do with my children, and even then I was emotionless and stayed on the phone for as short a period as possible.

And I don’t think she realizes what she’s doing. What she did. I don’t think she realized how much she hurt me.

Unfortunately, nothing about this changes the fact that I love my mother. No matter how shitty she may treat me. It’s like I’m in an abusive relationship and I just keep coming back for more. I don’t understand why I do even though I know how I’m going to be treated and that I’ll never reach any sort of approval in her eyes.

I’m the child she didn’t want. At least, that’s my assumption.

When I was pregnant, right after I left my ex-husband, my mother and stepfather asked me two questions: “Is it yours?” and “Are you going to keep it?”

My mother was in almost the exact situation with me and she kept me.

That hurt too.

I don’t think she realizes that, unlike the rest of my family, I don’t hold grudges. I just keep memories. I will remember. I will never forget. Ever.

But I won’t hold it against her. I love my mother.

Anxiety

Something I don’t think I’ve posted on here yet is that I have three kids, three beautiful children. They are my world, my shining light in the darkness.

Unfortunately, they’re biological father is not the person I would like him to be. I divorced him a little over a year ago, leaving him a year prior to the divorce when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest. He was abusive and was trapping me in our home, forbidding me from seeing my family amongst other horrid things.

We share joint custody (I have physical custody), but things have gone horribly wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. We have never been able to get along since the birth of my oldest. Things only progressed downward from there.

He moved out of state recently. The saying goes “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. I believe that firmly after previous experience and, from the past few days, advice from several people. My ex wants to take my children out of state with him for “visitation”. He gave me an ultimatum: he gets to take them for a week (because of his birthday rights, which is only 9am-9pm on his birthDAY) to where he lives, or we go back to the court-ordered visitation, which would require me to pick them up from the state he lives in – something around 10 hours away. I told my ex that I am unable to afford the trip there and back; his reply was something along the lines of “I guess that I’ll be keeping them until you can come and get them then”. (Which, by the way, if he does that is both a felony and a misdemeanor in my state.)

It’s not just the lack of funds that’s keeping me from wanting my children to go with him. He’s not capable of taking care of them by himself; there is always a de facto guardian (a previous one with whom I am friends with is proof enough). When he does take care of them by himself, they are always returned unbathed and incredibly dirty, unfed and unnecessarily hungry with diaper rashes that are so horrible you cannot even begin to imagine; it takes me two days minimum to get the rash to go away. I do not trust him with their care. At all.

There is also the fact that the state he is living in is a “safe haven” state, so-called. If my ex gets my children over the state line, he will not have to hand them over to me. He will have, technical, full custody. Herein comes the “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. I would lose my children. By letting him take them to said state, it is, by de facto, telling him “Yes, I trust you to care for my children when I am not with them; oh sure, take them out of state for an unknown amount of them even though I don’t know exactly where you’re going”, even though none of that is true. Well, it is true that I no idea where he’s going. He’s given me a basic idea of where he lives. That’s it; he kind of keeps switching back and forth.

But he is supposed to be coming later today and picking them up, even though I now have an order telling him that until a court hearing the children are, technically, are not to leave the state. Yes, I know I am more than likely to get a contempt of court. I would rather that than live without my children.

I’m scared though. More scared than I ever have been in my life. Out of everyone in my family, only two people understand, only two people support me. What I went through in the last divorce and custody battle was hell. Literal hell and nobody helped me through it. I was forced to go through it alone. What I went through when I was married to my ex was even worse and I don’t think anybody believed me; definitely not the judge. Everything that I’m going through now is just bringing all of those memories and feelings back threefold.

I know I am not a bad mother. I love my children with all my heart. I want nothing but the best for them. A good home, a good life, care and love, stability. It’s hard to find such things these days. I can provide these things. I know I can. I have been. My children are so loving. They will just come up to me and say “Mom?” I will turn and say “What, honey?” And my baby will just come up to me and kiss my cheek or hug me then give me a sweet little kiss.

It breaks my heart that all of this could be taken away from me in an instant.

It scares me.

I can only hope for the best and pray that the worst stays far, far, FAR away. Otherwise… I don’t know what I’m going to do.