Doing the right thing can be exhausting!!
In March 2006, Dana (aka sperm donor/SD) was at my house and we had an argument. He's never respected that my house is MINE and he can't just hang out or spend hours there for the hell of it. I think the argument was about Shelby's messy room and of course it was my fault. We went outside and still arguing, he was sitting in his car and I was in between the door & his front seat. He grabbed me by the throat and squeezed, and squeezed, and squeezed until I peed all over myself. As I struggled to catch my breath, he sped off. Shelby didn't see him do that, but she saw the aftermath and called her Grandma (his mother) who came over and spent probably 30-45 minutes telling me that she was sure I provoked it and that I should've just shut up, blah blah blah. I SHOULD'VE called the police. I know this. But I was going to have surgery in just a couple of days and was stressed over that. Little did I know that the surgery would change my world in a way I would've never imagined. I went to work the next day, a co-worker took pictures and I filed them away. I had my surgery and found out I had cancer. It was tough. I had no support from family and anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to ask for help, so my friends didn't realize how bad it was until weeks after I had my radical resection at Northwestern.
Fast forward to April 2007. I had picked Shelby up from school and she told me that her dad had been drinking in the car when he was with her. Whatever he does away from Shelby, I don't care - but in July 1999 he was ordered to refrain from consuming alcohol for 12 (I think) hours before or while Shelby was in his care. I tried to remain calm and asked Shelby what he was drinking. "Miller Light and Bud Light Mommy." Motherfucker! I don't drink. With my genes and all the alcoholics and drug addicts in my family, there was no way in hell I would travel down that road. The only way she would've known that is if she had seen it. I cried. I couldn't believe he would do that (yes, I know, I know - stupid mb!) I proceeded to contact my lawyer and tell him what had happened. My lawyer explained that unless Dana was caught by the police and charged with DUI while with my sweet little girl, there was nothing really he could do but send a "friendly reminder" to him. So, that's what he did. Then, he disappeared for a while. I couldn't tell you how long that went on, because life was so stressful with the cancer shit, this was just icing on the cake!
Fast forward to July 2008. He's met the "love of his life!" Thank GOD! Now he won't be making threats! Now, maybe I can have a life! Woo hooooooo! Then he freaks out when I tell him I want to meet her before Shelby spends the night at her house. Funny, she lives with her stepmother. She's been married 3 times and doesn't have custody of her kids... Hmmmmm... Oh, and she's an alcoholic - BUT, she's in AA. Uh huh, okayyyyy. I give this woman the benefit of the doubt and talk to her. She seems nice enough. Then one day Dana disappears and she calls me a bunch of times looking for him. Here we go! So, I call her back because I'm not an asshole and we have a conversation in which she tells me the following (what Dana said is in Red and the truth is in Green).
- We were married for 7 years and have been divorced for 7 years. We were together (beginning to end) SIX MONTHS. Never married. We met in late 1996, started dating Spring 1997 and I left his ass when I was 11 weeks pregnant in September 1997. I haven't even known him 14 years!!
- He has a little tattoo of the name Abby and 10-23-93 (I think that's the date). That is the daughter that I was pregnant with and lost and the day she died. Abby is his daughter with another woman. She is alive and well and living in WI. He lost all rights to her before I had Shelby but the state of WI is really good and still makes him pay child support!
- He owns my house and pays half the mortgage. I purchase my home ON MY OWN in October 2003. I pay my mortgage!
- He pays child support on time and extra! As of today, he is over $5000 behind in support. He hasn't been on time in at least 2 1/2 years.
- He's been a union painter for many years. He started painting Spring 2008 and was going to school. He hasn't had a job, union or not, since October 2008.
- He has only lived at his mother's house for a short while. That ass lived with his mother before we met and then stayed with me for a few months and then has been back with her since 1997! Not once has he moved out on his own.
- He has never gotten violent. Do I need to say more???
So those are the ones I remember. I'm sure there are more, it's just been a while since I heard them!
Back to the girlfriend. I explained to the new girlfriend that he was lying through is teeth to her. She seemed shocked and sounded like she was going to break things off. OF COURSE SHE DIDN'T. Next thing I know she's telling me that she gave him the opportunity to tell the truth and he admitted to lying, but didn't go into detail & that was good enough for her. This woman also told me that two of her three ex-husbands had put her in the hospital and almost killed her. This one is smart I'm telling you.
In the midst of all of this, SD (sperm donor if you forgot) has stopped paying support all together. He even wrote me a check on a closed account, just for show since he told his GF that he was going to pay me. WTF??? So, I hired a new lawyer. I had to come up with $500 for this lawyer. But she assured me that she would get things taken care of. Well, against my wishes, she "made a deal" with SD on November 4th, 2008. I was so disappointed in my lawyer, because she went against my wishes (I wanted him to go directly to jail because I was tired of this and he's afraid of jail!) He PROMISED to send a payment to the state that Friday (11/7).
The 7th came and went and the state didn't get the money (DUH!) On the 14th, Shelby was on the phone with SD and I asked to speak to him. I asked him to be honest, did he send money. He got an attitude and then said that what I was doing was illegal. I chuckled and asked him if that is so, then all deadbeat dads who are tracked down by the state are being pursued illegally? He made no sense. I told him that I wasn't going to say anymore, that I had tried to work with him, but now the state would deal with him. He was swearing at me. I told him that he was being belligerent and if he wanted to speak to Shelby, he needed to calm down. He did. I give the phone back to Shelby and go to my computer. Next thing I hear is "No daddy, no!" I got up, asked her what happened and she said "he's going to kill you!" I calmly took the phone, hung it up, and then dialed 911. Shelby was hysterical. The WL Police Chief came and spoke with Shelby. That's when I heard everything that SD had said. He had told MY CHILD that he was going to kill me and that she could watch! That was it. I was done. You mess with my kid, I am done! We spent the next 6-7 hours between police stations, with an advocate and then a judge. We were granted an emergency order of protection. Thank God!
Over the next three months we had two court dates that were continued because SD asked for time to get a lawyer. I knew he wasn't going to get one because HE HAS NO JOB! Finally at the 2nd court date (or was it the 3rd) in December, the judge said that there would be a hearing, no matter what, on January 29th. Finally, something was going to happen. I decided to ask his mother to supervise visits (if he even wanted visitation) and she said yes. I told her that she would have to stand in front of a judge and agree to the judge's ruling and she was fine with that. On January 29th - we stood in front of a judge. When asked by the judge if he agreed with the complaint, SD said yes. The judge asked again whether everything in the complaint was true. SD said "Well, I didn't say what she said I said. Her mom was yapping in the background and I told her that I was going to cut her mother's throat out and bury it in the back yard." I think it's fair to say that the judge was as shocked as I was. SD thought that he was saying something BETTER in that lie! He thought that would be OKAY to say to a child. MOTHERFUCKER. Needless to say, the judge went on to tell SD that IL law requires the court to go to great lengths to keep children with their parents; but, that he was clearly a danger to Shelby's mental health. Dana said something like, I just want to see my kid, I don't care about her (me). I finally spoke and said that I would not be comfortable with him being alone with my child. I should say that the only other person in the courtroom was the advocate and then the "love of his life" was at the back of the courtroom. I do not know if she heard what he said or not. He is very talented at speaking quietly and calmly while saying horrible things, so I really don't know if she heard or not. The judge asked if I had someone in mind for the supervision, and I said yes, his mother. The judge asked me to get her. Of course, she was in the hallway, and didn't hear her wonderful son say what he said. She told the judge yes, she would be responsible and present for all visitation for the next two years. Then SD said something about me harassing his "fiancé" and his mother. Um, whatever. His mom said nothing and the judge said if that is an issue, they should pursue charges with the authorities.
I felt good. FINALLY! I have two years to not have to worry what he'll do, think, or say! Maybe I'll be able to finally take care of me. Maybe I'll be able to date again! Woo hooo! He can't go to the school, ever. He can't come to my house. He can speak to me about visitation only. I'm cool with that. It is June 25th and I have not had one conversation with him yet. The first couple of visitations went without a hitch. Oh, I didn't mention, Grandma had been picking Shelby up from school. She wasn't working (broke her wrist) and it was helping me because her son wasn't paying support. So, one day I drove up to Grandma's house to pick up Shelby and SD's car is in the fucking driveway! I was livid! I asked what the hell was going on. How could she go against a court order? Grandma didn't care what I had to say, she told me I was being ridiculous, blah blah blah. I will admit, I spun my tires (I have a Toyota Corolla, so no squealing). But I pulled over about 5 houses down to cool off and explain to Shelby why I was upset. Apparently she had warned Grandma & SD that HE shouldn't be there. Leave it to a 10 year old to know right from wrong! When I got home, there was a horrible 3 1/2 minute voicemail telling me what a horrible mother I am and how I am damaging my child. It was HORRIBLE! It was then and there I decided to put Shelby back into Kid's Club (after school care) immediately and only allow them the 9 hours every other weekend, allowed by the judge in the court order. I had spent over 11 years letting these people beat the shit out of me, literally and figuratively - and I was done!
Since then, I have received two more nasty voicemails from Grandma. I have also made a conscious decision to not have any interaction with her whatsoever, unless she contacts me. She obviously thought that after a few months, I would forget about the court order and just let my sweet girl be alone with her abusive and violent son. Nope, I've turned over a new leaf. Shelby has had a few visits, but it was obvious things were changing. Then, on June 11th, I was checking the local police blotter and saw that SD had gotten a DUI and improper lane usage on May 22nd. FINALLY! This is not his first and I can't imagine it will be his last. But, the IL DUI laws changed this year and as I understand it, there isn't room for negotiation. If he wants a hardship license (for what, I don't know because he's still "unemployed"), he will have to have a breathalyzer installed in his car and pay $150/month for it! I don't think his "fiancé" has a license. She got a DUI 2 years ago and has people drive her everywhere. Amazing how they find ways, huh?
Over the last couple of weeks, Shelby has asked about spending the night at Grandma's house. I explained that spending the night was no longer an option. She asked for how long and I told her until at least January 29, 2011! I explained that I have allowed SD and Grandma to treat me poorly for a long time and now I am done. I told her that they can use this time to learn how to treat me (and her) with respect and kindness. I am her mother and it is my job to do what is best for her regardless of what she wants. I also told her about her dad's DUI and that she is not to get in a car when her father is driving EVER! I know she loves her dad and grandma. She has every right to love them. It is my responsibility to teach her how to be treated. That includes not allowing people to shit all over you, even if you love them. I am good with being the bad guy on this one. Oh, and by the way, Grandma has hardly had a relationship with any of her other grandchildren. So this isn't the first time she's made this choice.
So, yesterday I told Shelby to call her dad to figure out the times for the weekend. I'm almost ready to say "okay, these are the times, on the court order, so that's what we're going to do" - but I haven't done that yet. When we got home, there was a message from Grandma. She said she had to work Friday and Saturday and possibly Sunday. I thought maybe SD had already had court for his DUI and was maybe in jail and she was covering for him. So, Shelby said that she was going to call her dad on "his" cell phone. Strange, it's under some stranger's name, but okay, it's his phone. She closes her door and is in there for a while. Finally she comes out and says that he and his fiancé are moving this weekend so they won't be able to see her. RIGHT! Again, I'm amazed that this woman is still with him and is obviously supporting him! STUPID! So then Shelby goes on to talk about switching weekends and this elaborate plan for visitation over the next 2 months. I put my hand up and said "No. We are not switching weekends. YOU should be his priority and he should be arranging his life around these 9 hours every other weekend. I am done with this. No more!" She then looked at the calendar, saw that next weekend is July 4th and said "Okay Mommy". I don't believe she has spoken with him since, but I don't care anymore. I have spent so much time trying to make everyone happy; to accommodate every other person that I have lost ME! I haven't been the best Mom I can be and I must be vigilant in my quest to take care of Shelby's Mommy!
This Saturday, Shelby will meet with a counselor. She has asked me several times if she could have someone to talk to (I have a therapist). The new counselor's name is Amy. She sounds pretty cool. I explained to her that I can no longer be impartial and that the SD & family have pushed me to the edge. I know Shelby needs someone to talk to other than me. Someone who can listen and explain why this mom does what she does. I made the appointment today and then texted Shelby with the news. Now how many kids would respond "YESSSSSSSSSSS!" Yeah, not many! I love her so much! I am so very proud to be her mommy! But I am feeling a sense of relief now that I've made the appointment for her. Maybe then, I can spend a little more time in my therapy sessions on ME!
I'm hoping that, in time, doing the right thing won't be so painful (when it comes to Shelby & SD/Grandma) and we will both learn and grow from all of this strife!
Okay, it's late and I must get some sleep!
Thank you my friends, for "listening".
Mary Beth xoxo