As I’ve stated before, due to special circumstances (read: substances) associated with my divorce, I was granted full custody of my 4 children when my marriage
crashed and burned dissolved many years ago. Due to the nature of why I was able to gain full custody, I was able to pack up, move far away, and start over. More than a few years have transpired since that time, thank God, and the houligans continue to thrive. Their dad is intermittently involved in their lives, with periodic visits. Most visits occur with his new-ish wife in tow, and he seemingly makes a point never to be alone with them as a unit. It is unclear whether he’s afraid of the questions they’ll pose regarding how he chooses to live his life, and whom he chooses to surround himself with, but it has been pretty much a policy that he’s never alone with them. Clearly I think this is weird, or I wouldn’t be writing about it, LOL.
At any rate, this last weekend, he made one of his Kamikaze trips to L.A. bringing down their gifts they’d left up there when they fled Nor Cal after Christmas. Naturally, as it was a 3 day weekend, he chose to drive down on Sunday and return Monday. I mean, why spend as many nights as you can when you come see your kids, rather than the bare minimum? But I’m going to the dark place, so I will stop.
I will stop because this post is really about me and how I handle a situation that I’m not usually faced with: Sharing my kids with the other parent. Since their dad is, and has been, largely absent, we didn’t share a traditional custody arrangement. I have rarely had to factor in custodial visits where I turned over my kids for any period of time. There were no Tuesday night dinners, every other weekends, alternating holidays, or a month long visits during Summer. If that’s even how that works??? For many reasons, distance not withstanding, their father chose to secede from our children after the divorce, making any allusion of the idea you divorce the spouse, not the children a moot point. Emma Johnson, in her wonderful blog, Wealthy Single Mommy does a beautiful job explaining the phenomena of the absent father in this blog post.
So this last weekend they all went to dinner with him and had a nice time. I think they’ve long passed wanting any real answers about his life and situation. They are just happy to have some uninterrupted time alone with him. All of which is great, except I had some real touch and go moments that night of being pissed off all over again. At times I really feel like the Little Red Hen, which ironically was one of my favorite books as a child. I feel like I put in all the hard work (gladly), and raised some remarkable people in the process. He just gets to blow into town, after some really bad behavior at the holidays, and all is swept under the carpet. Those people (lol) hold my feet to the fire over everything, and there is simply no accountability when it comes to him. However, the difference is I want a deep relationship with my adult children based on transparency and shared viewpoints, not shallow interactions where nothing real is discussed.
But as I went to my bad place on Sunday night while they were being wined and dined by the master of insanity, it was a giant reminder that I need to continue to stay in my lane. As long as I have integrity with my relationships with them, I must completely ignore how he manages his relationships with them. It simply is none of my business. Obviously, if they come to me with a concern I will address it and help them. But largely, I am reminded that I stand outside that unit of 5 and they get to interact with him as they see fit. He is theirs to navigate. Not mine.