growing up mommy (pt. 3)

…a continuation from growing up mommy (pt. 2)

Tonight I’m sitting here, as I write this, staring at my daughter’s belongings.  Everything is packed up neatly and stored in the dining room.  Tomorrow morning, we will load up our cars and move our only baby girl to her college dorm.  Wow!  Time sure does fly…

Let’s recap, shall we…

It doesn’t seem like that long ago, we were sharing custody with our kids’ biological mother.  Every other Friday night, we would pick up the kids from her house, go to dinner and prepare to spend the weekends together.  We had to make the most of the short time we had together, so we made sure that our four and a half days a month were filled with love, fun and lots of laughter.

On to more permanent pastures…

Now remember, in my previous post, I said we were about to have the kids around more often and more permanently.  One Friday night, we picked up the kids for dinner and realized we would have to pick up food and head home because they were not dressed appropriately and were not clean enough to go out to dinner.  This became the norm, however, when we really wanted to go out after picking them up, we would go buy clothes for them to change into first.  The next issue involved school.  It was report card day and they were failing.  They weren’t failing because they weren’t smart.  They were failing because they weren’t going to school daily.  At this time, we had a first, third and sixth grader.  We spoke to their mom and were given excuses, we spoke with the kids themselves and the things they told us were unbelievable.  Of course, you never know what to believe when it comes to children, but when mom corroborated the stories, we knew there was an issue.  Every day, after school, she would pick them up and run around town.  They’d get home late at night, no homework time, no baths.  We had several conversations with mom, but nothing changed.  One day, after another incident, I looked at their dad and asked, “How much longer are you going to let this continue?”  His response floored me.  “What am I supposed to do?”  I think my reply shocked him even more.  I told him he need to petition for custody.  After I picked his jaw up off the floor and convinced him that I WANTED them just as much as he did, we began what we thought would be a long, hard road.  We retained an amazing lawyer, told her all our concerns, filed for custody in December, went to court in February and picked up the kids for good three days later.

I became a full-time mom…

The roles were now reversed.  Our home was now their permanent and primary residence and mom got visitation every other weekend and Wednesday nights.  Things began to improve.  We fell into a routine of dropping them off at school, picking them up after.  I even went to part time at work so I could spend afternoons helping with homework and evenings cooking dinner.  The kids began to appreciate the structure.  Only when they returned from weekends with mom, did they resent the “rules.”  This was going to be another adjustment we would have to make.  I’m not sure if this was fortunate or unfortunate, but mom began missing weekends.  First one weekends, then the next.  Excuses followed cancellations and then we found out she lost the house.  Next thing you know, she’s going to truck driving school then taking a job as a long haul trucker.  Honestly, I would have been concerned for her safety, but she had her boyfriend with her. Me also went to school and they had a job driving together.  This went on for a few years.  We wouldn’t hear anything for months and then we’d get a phone call saying they were in town and wanted to see the kids.  We would, of course, accommodate when we could.  I honestly believe that the sporadic visitations wreaked havoc on the kids emotionally and mentally.  As if this wasn’t enough, things were about to change, once again.

The real craziness began when mom lost her job and her man…


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