We – the four of us helping and me – got in our vehicles and drove to my new place. It didn’t take long to unload, and then we stood outside my new apartment while one of my coworkers had a smoke. My other coworker told me he was going to use some of his own sick time to allow me to call in for the next couple of days so I could spend time with my kids.
The kindness of people that have only known me 2-6 months blows me away, especially when contrasted with the treatment I received from my own family.
I hugged everyone, COVID-19 be damned, normal desire to stay at a distance be damned. I was just so grateful that they had shown up for me on one of the toughest days of my life.
Generally, the people that would show up for me, can’t, and the people that could show up for me, won’t.
Work M said to make sure I drank some water and then he and work J headed out. J1 and J2 from my D&D game stayed for a bit longer and chatted with me until I seemed like I was in better shape (because I was obviously having issues with stress/nerves/anxiety) and then headed out as well, and I left to go get my kids from Indy M’s.
Indy M said my kids were clever, insightful and well-read – a little rambunctious, too, but that was to be expected. I thanked her, hugged her, too, and then headed out with the kids. I talked to them in the car on the way to our new place. I didn’t want to go in-depth but I did let them know that this was about custody – that their dad was trying to make it so that he was the one that got the most time with them, while I thought 50/50 was the most fair to everyone involved. I said sometimes when someone is hurt and angry, they have trouble making healthy decisions and that their dad was very upset with me.
I was shocked at how quickly they grasped what I was trying to tell them – grasped it, accepted it, and were on board for it. They liked my idea of weekly 50/50 custody and they definitely understood their dad being stubborn when he thinks his way is the best way. They were obviously a bit sad and distressed, but supportive and sweet as well. I did my best to soothe the distress and told them I hoped it wouldn’t be long until we had a parenting plan in place.
There wasn’t much in the apartment, of course. I told them we’d be doing some shopping to pick up what we needed, and showed the boys that I had their dragons. All the kids showed great resilience to the circumstances and no one melted down.
My ex had been texting me to demand I tell him when the kids would be home, and I texted him to let him know they were staying with me. I received numerous texts imperiously demanding I comply with his stated wishes and I said our attorneys would be in touch.
He ended up contacting the police for a “wellness check.” It came in the form of a phone call from a private number, so of course I wouldn’t have answered even if I had noticed. But since he texted me asking me to call the police dispatch I did, and this time I spoke with the deputy that had tried to call me. She sounded irritated with my ex – she assured me what I had done was perfectly legal and that our attorneys would handle it. She wasn’t even going to bother calling him back.
I admit I did feel some twinges of sadness thinking about how much this was probably wrecking him. Apparently he’d been blindsided and hadn’t seen it coming at all. I guess in his mind, he really has convinced himself that I’m mentally unsound and want to abandon my kids. No doubt he’s told himself this is all about me wanting to be vindictive and get back at him.
The kids understood that he’d show up if he knew where we were, and they were instantly on board with not telling him. My younger son said it felt like kidnapping in a way – I apologized, and he clarified that if he actually thought it was a kidnapping, he’d have run away at the first opportunity. It just FELT that way, it wasn’t the reality.
I was kind of shocked, though, that the kids were actually admiring of the way I’d pulled it off, particularly getting the dragons out of the apartment. (Yeah I just like calling them dragons, it’s fun.) When my oldest son found out Indy M had been in on it, he said it was like a heist… and he said it in an admiring tone. I was blown away by that. I’d been really worried they’d be upset with me for how I handled it and it turned out it appealed to their sensibilities.
(Ending this installment here, will continue in another.)