Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dear Duckie,

As I write this, you are hopefully fast asleep. My heart hurts right now, little one.  For the past two days, you've refused to talk to your father.  And he's devastated.  I hurt for both of you.

On Monday, we went to court mediation with your mother and stepfather.  It didn't go very well.  When your parents got divorced, a custody agreement was put in place that gave your dad visitation 3 weekends every month (since he can't be with you at all during the week due to work).  After everything was settled, your parents agreed to work together and create their own schedule instead.  Your dad would get you every other weekend instead of the three weekends a month, and your mom would be flexible and allow him additional time whenever possible to make up for that (special events, vacation days from school, Sunday evenings for dinner or dessert on her weekends, whenever he was able to see you).  That way you could have time with both of your families to do things. 

For awhile, this worked. But honey, it hasn't been working anymore lately.  Your mom admitted in mediation that when your dad and I met, she began to have a problem with me being around.  And the flexibility went out the window.  I can't even begin to count the number of time your dad asked her too see you on a special occasion and she refused.  Family parties, your friend Karin's sleepover, dinner with your grandparents... she always just said no.  She even began to deny him some of the time he was entitled to by the courts:  it was a big struggle just to be able to get you for a few days during your Christmas break, of which he was supposed to have half.  And I'm not even counting the things she refused to let you do with me:  I was not allowed to take you Christmas shopping for you dad and grandparents, you weren't allowed to come with me to pick out your bridesmaid dress for our wedding...

It has gotten bad, Duckie.  And your dad has been having a really rough time with it.  He misses you so much when you aren't here.  And as he began to see you less and less than he already was, he couldn't take it anymore.  He is so scared of losing you, honey, and he saw it happening a little more each day.

So he asked your mom to please consider giving him a little extra time on his weekends with you.  He told her he absolutely did not want to have to start enforcing the custody order of 3 weekends a month, but seeing you 4 days per month with no other time just was not enough.  He tried every other option, he truly did.  And she refused each and every one, and filed the order for mediation.

As your mother must have explained to you, your parents were unable to come to an agreement during mediation.  Your mom wanted your dad to have less time with you and for me to not be allowed around you.  Your dad wanted more time with you, and for your mom to start respecting me.  And neither of them would budge.  So the mediator decided that your mom would have to take your dad back to court if she wanted to try to change things, but until that happened, they had to start following their custody agreement as it was originally written.

So now your dad and I will be with you three weekends a month.  And you are not happy with this.  I understand sweetheart, I really do.  Its a big change from how things have happened in the past, and you've had to deal with a lot of big changes lately.  From previous conversations, I know you don't like it when your stepsisters are at your house and you aren't.  You like to play with them, and you also are a little afraid that if they are there and you aren't, they will take your mom away from you.  I get it Duckie, and I'm so sorry it has to be this way.

But honey, it does have to be this way right now.  Your dad tried every way possible not to make this happen, and he couldn't get around it without losing you.  And now he's afraid he lost you anyways.  You won't talk to him on the phone, you don't respond when he tells you he loves you... he's lost and so so sad right now, and there's nothing I can do to help.  I can't make you understand.  We plan on having a talk with you this weekend to try to explain our side of things, but that's still two days away and I don't know that it will help by that time.  I wish you could understand, even though you are upset, that he is just trying to remain a part of your life and to see you as much as he possibly can.  I wish you could see that he loves you more than anything in this world, and knowing you are sad is like a knife in his heart.  And I wish you would just talk to him and tell him you still love him.

I promise you things will be ok, Duckie.  I just wish you could reassure your dad of that same thing.  Because he's doubting it and feeling lost right now, and you are the only one who can change that.

Goodnight and all my love little Duckie,

Where do I start?

Dear Duckie,

Where do I even start with this?  I guess with a little explanation.  I doubt you will ever see any of these words.  In many ways, I hope you wont.  The things I intend to write about here aren't meant for your knowledge, at least at this point in time.  You are 10 years old.  You don't need to know about the fights and the custody battles, the frustrations and the sadness.  You don't need to know about the confusion that comes along with trying to be a stepmother or navigating the waters of building a blended family.  You also don't need to know about the small victories, the moments of relief and overwhelming happiness.  You need to be a happy, healthy kid, protected as much as possible for the ugliness you had no part in causing but unfortunately have to live with.  We've tried our best to shield you from as much of what is going on as possible.  But painting an incomplete, or slightly altered picture of what is happening in order to protect you has been proving too much for me. 

There are so many things that happen that I can't tell you.  Or shouldn't tell you.  Or decide not to tell you.  And they sit here inside of me, just bursting to get out.  Lately, they have been building up too high, and I came up with this as my outlet.  Maybe writing these words to you, even knowing in all likelihood you will never see them, will help me process everything that is happening and figure things out.  Maybe it will stop this giant feeling of wanting to pour my heart out every time I look at you to tell you what is really going on and to try to make you see the truth.  And maybe letting other people read my letters to you will help them as well. 

So here are my letters to you, Little Duckie.  If you ever do come across these one day when you are older, please read them with an open mind and the knowledge that I love you with all my heart.  There are going to be some tough things in here, and I'm so sorry for that.  But if you do end up reading these someday, maybe you will be able to look back over the things that have happened, and the things that will happen, and understand them wholly.  And make your own judgements. 

Goodnight and all my love Duckie,