I have had to wait a few days to start putting this one on paper. It was so reminiscent of a day about 9 years ago with my middle son. I was expecting my kids home after being at their dad’s and was so excited to see them. However, when I opened the front door, my daughter ran inside and stood behind me, and my son, then 14 years of age, fell into my arms, limp.
Trying to hold him up and get a look at him, I asked, “What is wrong with him?” to which my ex responded with a shrug of his shoulders. When I continued to look at him with confusion, he said, “What?”
“He is grey and burning up” I replied.
With a flippant “Oh, he is fine,” my ex turned and walked away.
Long story short, through tears, my son told me he didn’t feel well, and after taking him to the doctor, we discovered he had pneumonia and was in bed for 2 weeks. There is SO much more to that story, but all I could think of at the time was, how did you not see that? And how do you not care?
Fast forward to this past weekend, and I receive a text from my daughter. Not totally unusual, as we text or snap quite often. She simply asks if she can come by my house and get a new contact lens. After my reply, “Of course,” she says nothing. Hmmm. So I text asking what happened to her current lens, and get no reply. It is just after this that there is a knock at our door. I am not sure who it could me, and my hubby asks if I am expecting someone. I shake my head no, explaining the text from my daughter, but there is no way they could have driven here by now.
By this time, he is opening the front door as I am keeping the dogs corralled and attempting to keep them quiet. I don’t hear any voices so I turn and go towards the door, to have my heart break into a million pieces. Then fear and worry strike and my heart stops. As I near the front door, (it is closed, but just inside the door) my daughter is in her stepdad’s arms, sobbing uncontrollably. Since she didn’t say anything via her text, I panic that something serious has happened. I approach them and stand for a minute, watching and listening to her sob. My husband is just holding her, telling her it’s okay and that we love her. I ask a couple of times what is wrong, but get no answer. I peek out the front window and there is a vehicle sitting there; I can’t see inside, so not sure if it is her dad or stepmom.
I rub my daughter’s back. “Honey, what is wrong? Are you hurt? What happened?” Asking all of the normal mom things. After what seemed like an eternity. she releases her death grip on her stepdad and turns and grabs me into a big bear hug, and the tears continue. Literally, I think it was a solid five minutes of crying before she spoke. Unfortunately, all I could think about was that any minute her dad was going to be banging down the door, pissed off that she was taking so long. I peeked out the window to make sure no one was coming up to the door and asked her once again, “What is wrong?” This time she replied through her sobs with, “I just want to come home.”
Not sure there were many pieces of my heart left by this time, but at that statement I was crushed beyond belief. I can only imagine how miserable you must be to cry like that– oh wait, I can imagine, as I was there once. A little different circumstance, but caused by the same man to feel the same way.
I hug her close and tell her I am sorry, and that I would love for her to come home. I am also guiding her with my arm around her shoulder towards my bathroom where I keep her contact lenses, as I know we need to move in the direction of getting her back outside to the waiting vehicle. She grudgingly walks with me, still crying. I ask many questions, trying to figure out if something specific happened to set this all in motion. I am not getting any answers as we get to the bathroom, and I get a contact out for her. She tries to wipe her tears away, looking in the mirror to see if they will be able to tell she was crying. I ask what happened to her other lens, and am told it bent so was hurting her eye, and she manages to ask me for an extra lens to take to her dad’s house.
I know she has been having a tough time at her dad’s. She has to battle her stepmom for his attention, not to mention her half-sister. We expect the sibling rivalry, but when the person who is supposed to be an adult and a parent to you competes with you, I am not sure how to help her handle that one. She manages to tell me they were at some friends’ of her dad’s and stepmom’s when she asked to come get a new lens. I know from previous conversations and by the tone of her voice that she was bored out of her mind. You see, she is 14, and there are never other kids her age. Since her sister just turned five and her stepmom is so young, their friends’ kids tend to be babies to maybe 7 years old.
Don’t get me wrong, I know in life we all have to do things and go places we don’t want or like. But it just seems to be an all-the-time thing over there for my daughter. She asks to stay home and is told no, and if she pushes the issue and wants to know why she can’t stay home, she is told because they are a family. (My inside voice says, “Well then TREAT ME like family,” but I would never say that for my daughter to hear. )
She has texted, snap chatted me, and called me each day that she has been at her dad’s house this week and said she was bored, or in trouble ,or being yelled at for arguing. So I know it has been a rough week, but I never expected this coming through my front door.
I tell her, unfortunately, she needs to go back out to their car, and she asks if she has to, as she begins to walk with me, arm around my waist, me hugging her shoulder, toward the front door.
“Yes, Peanut, you have to. Believe me, I would change it if I could,” to which she responded, “You should.” Now I am crying. OUCH that hurt.
I went through all of this with my middle son, watching him suffer and not being able to do anything about it, until he finally suffered so much a Pastor wrote a letter to the courts, and we were able to get a counselor involved. From there, my son started court proceedings to not have to go to his dad’s.
I don’t want my daughter to suffer like that. I am trying my best to equip her with coping skills, to encourage her to try to work it out with her dad, the whole time knowing her battles to come.
I cannot say anything to my ex or his wife, because of course, I would be to blame.
Have you encountered anything similar? How did you deal with it? What would you recommend I do for my daughter?