As per usual I am stuck at a crossroads yet again. Two years ago I was struck with one of the hardest decisions of my life. Harder even than allowing the dissolve of my marriage. It involved stepping up and fighting for my daughters due. The most difficult challenge was, not making a bad situation even worse by making him angry with me. I have always hated being the bad guy, even when it was necessary. In that particular case, it was completely necessary. It took me weeks to act, weeks of tears, sleepless nights, and worry...knowing that while I as protecting my child's interests, I was also solidifying an enemy.
At what point does protecting your child, even from their parent, make you the devil? At what point do you stop laying down and being polite and hold anothers feet to the fire? At what point do you accept the fact that no matter what you do, how you do it, how correct or protective you are.....you are wrong. You will be fussed at, chastised, yelled at, and cast as the unfeeling woman who's trying to cause trouble. I suppose it's the curse of every divorcee that has to do what is necessary to protect ones child.
I falter when it comes down to really being awful, I really don't have it in me to harm someone without due cause. I like to give the benefit of the doubt, I will play devils advocate, I will give second and third chances until I am out of steam. As a rule, I give and give until there is nothing left and then I snap. Once I snap, I act. Be it to usher someone out of my active life or to give someone the rope with which to hang themselves. Once I've hit that wall, all bets are off. The gloves come off and things get very not nice anymore. Those closest to me say it's the warrior in me. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it's generations of strong women who didn't allow life to cow them down, or maybe it's just that inherently I'm mean as all hell. I guess it depends on whom you ask and what side of my temper they've been on. I try very very hard to be fair. That is my ultimate flaw. I expect the world to work on a give and take system. It does work on one...it just isn't balanced. I have a very hard time with that one. When there are innocents involved, I get particularly snarky.
Children don't ask to be born. They don't ask for the parents or family with whom they ultimately end up. So, to me, they should be protected and put on pedestals until they can fend for themselves. At that point, if they have had the proper grounding, they can move off into the world to make their own choices. If there is someone who really doesn't want the job of teaching or guiding a child then they should step aside and allow a willing party to do it. There is no shame in admitting that you can't be what a person needs. The shame comes in when you want to claim them as your own, take all the credit for someone else's hard work and contribute little to nothing in the long run. Why bother? Honestly? Why bother with the minimum when self sacrifice is such a chore? Self sacrifice is hard, damn hard. There are plenty of days where even the most dedicated parent wants to go down the street and hide from it all. The bills, the dirty laundry, the child, the significant other, the dog, the grocery shopping...all of it. But they don't. They find something, anything that makes the day worth getting through. And they do the damn thing.
My child is my world. I was a very reluctant mother. I wasn't ready to be married and wasn't ready to be a parent. I had days where I was in love with her, and days where I just wanted to disappear. I took jobs that weren't meant for me that kept my child in clothes, food, and necessities. The year it was just the two of us...she ate, she was warm, she was provided for. Yes that summer while she was gone I did live on beer, ice cream cake, my best friends dinner table, and my boyfriends good nature. He didn't have to cook for me all those nights, my friend didn't have to invite me over to eat with her family of 5, and my favourite bartender didn't have to cut me a deal on my check the evenings I stopped to get a cheap chili dog and draught beer. She was the focus, she had good food every day--morning, noon, & night. It didn't matter that my dryer didn't actually dry because the heating element never worked, I made a clothes line inside and out. It didn't matter that at the end of the month all I had was about $20, if she asked for Popeye's for dinner, she got the 2 piece box. It didn't matter that I couldn't actually afford cable...she asked to watch her shows so I got the basic package.
Self sacrifice is putting someone else so far in front of you that you lose sight of who you are for just a moment. It isn't indefinite, it isn't forever, it's for the time being. That time that you need to make sure they are as comfortable and cared for as you can possibly make them. I was very lucky that I had someone willing to not only pick up the pieces of my shattered life and heart, he took on a little girl. He had already raised a son, he didn't have to start his family life completely over. He didn't have to take on another mans burden. She has accepted him and seen the difference in me and our relationship. She sees all the little things he does for the both of us and that is a rare thing. Some children need more time than others to process and deal with break ups. They are not always receptive to a new parental figure stepping in where one used to be. She didn't have to be this open. I am very very grateful that she did because stability is very important to me...it always has been.
My situation could have been far far worse. I'm glad that it was as low key as it was. It still hurts me however, to see the lack of willing participation from other parties in my daughters life. I can't understand how she could ever be an after thought...how she wouldn't be the one constant in someones life....I just can't wrap my head around it. I know I'm not easy to deal with all the time...but I'm not horrible. I've made sure she sees relatives from the other side, I make sure she has free access to communication, I don't hinder her involvement with her entire family. Those are things that some divorced parents use as control tactics. I've never done that. I transport her and give her freedom to go where ever she wants to go...something I am not bound to do. I do it because it is right. If I am to be cast as a mean person because I demand that her needs be met in kind from the other side....so be it. I'm mean. I'm hateful. I'm impatient. I'm a mother who will do whatever is necessary to ensure my child's well being. I won't fade quietly and allow anyone, regardless of their role in her life, to take advantage of her or I. She deserves far far better.