Modern Family · Motherhood · parenthood · Relationships

Outbox and laundry

When I blog about the intimate details of the struggles raising Miss M or Blue Eyes with Exes, it is a very one sided account laden-ed with that tricky thing called “perspective.”

Some people call it airing dirty laundry. Some people love the gossip. Some people are in similar situations and find it nice to share a “me too.” Others for my typo-riddled, but decent writing. Some come here simply to support me and my family.

But honestly I come here because lugging it all around is heavy. I come here to lay it down. And in the process, I usually find a nugget or two of sense. Which is what keeps this place alive for me.

I wrote an email today. One I won’t send because it won’t change anything. Time-wasted and time-well-spent all in the same.

Blue Eyes collapsed while she was with her mother Sunday morning. She had spent a week with us and gone home Saturday morning. Twenty four hours later she’s out cold in the lobby of their graduate housing dorm. It was the second time its happened in her life. And because Match got notification shortly after it happened, he attended the same day appointment at her pediatrician. Our resident dirty blonde seemed back to normal by then and was cleared to go home with orders to have blood work done and a referral to cardiologist.

Later, her mother reached out to Match, explaining some concerns. He suggested that maybe she need some air conditioning and if she wasn’t feeling better to skip tennis camp the next day. This lead to some bizarre breakdown of communication where she accused him of having me write his texts, she claimed she was malnourished here, and that she left dehydrated. Which we had heard about earlier in the day, but the pediatrician according to Match, ruled those two things out. We had some grace to not push back to hard because it was a nerve wracking day.

But then she ignored all of Match’s texts and calls asking how his kid was… and then then she wrote a really untrue, misconstrued email tattling to our lawyer. And then she wouldn’t answer if Match was an emergency contact at camp. And then she wouldn’t provide him with a contact number to the camp. And then, and then, and then… I am sure she thinks she’s justified on some level, but it is so brokenheartedly cruel that she holds to keys to small pieces of information about their child and won’t include Match.

And so I wrote an email. Some of it won’t have enough context, but this place some days belongs to me. And today I’m just sharing because I need it in the world instead of sitting in the outbox of my thoughts forever pending:

Dear Blue Eye’s Mom,

I don’t actually plan to not communicate with you for the rest of B.E.’s life. However, I would like– despite the unanticipated length of figuring out the court order– to not muddy the waters figuring out our shit UNTIL you finish making new ground rules with Match. However, given B.E. passing out and the fact that’s scary as fuck– I’d like to reach out and clear up a few things because this is some real bag of crazy.

In regards to your recent email to the lawyer: the way you refer to me is a big caveat. I don’t know what you want for an outcome in terms of our relationship at the close of this legal action, but I feel the need to make something clear to you in case its been misconstrued: I’m a parent in B.E.’s life. Not a third party caregiver. Not a babysitter. I’m one of her parents. I’ve been that for the majority of her life. Officially, unofficially, legally, not legally, whatever familial term you want to slap on it– I could give two shits. But I’m not a babysitter. I’m the other parent in her other home who’s invested in her life. Regardless of what the hell happens in the future between Match and myself– I’ll still be in B.E.’s life because I’m the mother of her sisters. I have actual binding ties beyond dating her Dad or being friendly with her mother. You can choose to accept it as the honest truth or you can dissect it, put on a scale to decide if its deserving, or that it doesn’t fit your notions of what loving B.E. looks like– but whatever you need to do, please recognize it doesn’t change what B.E.’s actual life is. It just makes me realize I don’t need to be more than perfunctorily cordial to B.E.’s mother who doesn’t respect, appreciate, or give me anything reciprocal except a whole lot of grief.

If you haven’t realized it– you are a lot of work. You are accusatory. You are confrontational. Emotional. Inconsistent. You say things and forget. You make big accusations and piece together tidbits to paint an inaccurate landscape of how things are here.You build an entire hypothesis on one factoid and disregard any evidence that discredits your preconceived outcome you’re trying to prove.

You accuse people of lying even when they are telling you the truth. You hurl the word like a shield that blocks you from having to look any further into any conflict. You use it to justify your less than kind actions and to bury your head in the sand instead of letting someone explain and perhaps demonstrate how you sometimes get things wrong.

Your daughter has a really great Dad. You might not like him all the time, but B.E. is pretty fond of him with good reason. He smokes. Texting him that he’s disgusting because he hugged her goodbye with a cigarette is petty and small. It creates pain where you could have just not said anything. It was a choice you had and you chose to be rude, aggressive and lash out under the guise of mothering B.E..Sometimes, that old adage of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is good advice in life.

Saying he needs me to tell him how parent is really immature and, again, small and unnecessary. I can’t imagine it really makes you feel any better or worry any less. Saying something that’s not true again and again isn’t magic fairy dust that makes it come into existence. He’s her Dad. He parents just fine on his own. Regardless of your idea of what would be proper-Dad-standards, B.E. has a good Dad. He does more when you let him. I actually think you spend more time telling him how you think he should do things than I do.

Yes, I read all the drafts of your agreement. I’m pretty sure I told you this when we had a conversation prior to April vacation. Of course I talk to Match. We’re partners. Everything in that agreement impacts things here. We don’t live in a compartmentalized bubble.  Should we have opened that one draft to review and make changes it in Match’s email? Probably. But sometimes we’re tired adults. Just like you. Match left his laptop at work. So he used my laptop and my Gmail because I had the document open. We sat together and went through it. Just like every time before that and every time afterwards. Your assumption I am making changes to a draft alone and subsequent ire over was unfounded. You can however can safely assume that Matchand I talk at length about all things court, I make suggestions as such, and review the different drafts of your court order at home. It isn’t suspect and you don’t have to particularly like it, but it seems like a pretty normal thing that would happen. It isn’t a nefarious plot, nor should it have been that surprising– it is just life raising kids in two households. However, your perception that Match isn’t the one ultimately making decisions is misguided and not factual. You take one fact: It was my Gmail and concoct a story behind it. You’re getting stuck on principals thinking about how-things-should-be to you instead of how-things-actually-are.

I don’t text you from his phone. I don’t email you from his email account pretending to be Match.

The narrative you sent the lawyer is a misconstrued narrative you concocted based on tidbits and assumptions that just aren’t the facts. I’m really sorry that’s what you think and feel. That’s awful to feel that way about the time your kid spends here.  I’m sorry you think so little of Match and I, but also know that your feelings and thoughts aren’t actually the reality of life here. They are off base and not factual.
You emailed Match with a deadline (re: your email June 18th) with a choice of two weeks for his vacation (Jul 30- Aug 3 or Aug 6-10). Neither week would have been our preference, but you took the last three weeks of August off the table because you needed them. Miss M and Dimples have attended a Summer Enrichment camp through the public school system here for the past three summers. It runs for four weeks M-Tr 8:30-12:00. This year it ran 7/9-8/2 which is typical as it starts the week after the Fourth of July. It is really fun summer school– but its summer school to combat summer slump. I know you and I have talked about the kids going in previous summers. If your concern in your email to Match and the lawyer is that B.E. wasn’t offered camp– that program isn’t a week by week option. It is the entire four weeks and no prorates are offered for partial attendance. I explained it B.E.. If it was that we should have picked another week, you didn’t give us the option. They are in the program most of July into the first week of August. It will be the same for them next year too.
The second week offered overlapped with Miss M’s first vacation with her Dad. She is spending five nights and six days with his new wife and their kids. His vacation has been scheduled since March. They would have missed each other for vacation and we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do anything together with all the kids.
If you have questions on what’s going on here for scheduling, I told you in April, I’m fine with working that stuff out with you. Match blows at schedule. If you just want us to pick a week— which is how you set this summer up as— that’s how it goes. We aren’t trying to fight your tide. We aren’t at war with you. Our plates are full enough without useless back and forth about how the weeks you gave us kinda stink. Instead we worked with what we had. And Match is pretty sure he made you aware he was working part of the week. What happened is what you were told.

All these issue are some real, unfounded, spiteful, easy bullshit to pile on your plate and use as an excuse to act like an asshole. I putting it pretty bluntly. Which is what you are currently doing— being a real awful person in a situation that you could be compassionate and collaborative. It’s a choice. The one you’re making sucks big time over here.

 We spent a lot of time trying to make our relationship into something nicer than just two strangers. I spent a lot of time listening and had a lot of patience. But you are always at war. That’s not what I like to do with my small amount of time I have on earth. Here is the thing: I don’t need to defend my household, myself, or Match to you. All the time. Every time you don’t like something. And we aren’t in the business of questioning everything you do, but occasionally we might have a question about things that impact B.E. All of us won’t like things relatively often. That is what raising a kid in two households is. You can’t solve every problem and both households are gonna have some fall out from the other. It is frustrating and it sucks– but it is our actual lives with our actual kids who have to grow up in it.

Look, I don’t nail it every time, but I try to do the right thing by you and B.E. So does Match regardless of fact you’ll probably dismiss that statement. I mean– despite the fact you don’t feel safe to have him in your lobby for drop off at your apartment,– you were fine with sharing dinner and having him drive you home when you had the issue with your license. He missed his kids here going to bed again to help you out by taking the T back. Your shit impacts my shit. I understand that my shit will impact yours, but I made a concerted effort to ask for very little.

You however don’t do the right thing. Often. You are mean and spiteful. Not answering a text about how your daughter is after she passed out is awful. It is. I don’t care what he did or how justified you feel in your silence. That’s terrible. You should be ashamed.

B.E. passing out is a big, scary deal. You can point fingers. I know she came home to you far from malnourished and hydrated. I know because I was the adult taking care of her most of the week. Match said the pediatrician ruled out low blood sugar and dehydration. You terminating conversation at the mention of air conditioning and his suggesting keeping her home from camp is awful. Telling someone you think she’s having other symptoms like not eating, dropping things, and being lethargic– but then terminating a discussion without updating them on their child is reprehensible. It is. I don’t care what you think he did. It is not the right thing. Not giving him a contact number for camp or confirming he’s an emergency contact is awful. You are not doing anything remotely in the realm of “right,” but you are acting pretty “righteous.” You want people to do the right thing, but you have no problem stepping on our necks when you please.

As always you do what you want.  I’m done with words with you. You make a choice every time you talk about me, to me, or to Matcb. You have an opportunity do better if you want to. Stop behaving this way. And you have me over a barrel, because my decision to do the right thing is never about me and you. Its about the fact I have to look myself in the mirror each day and what’s between me and my God. That one day, B.E. will be an adult and see things differently. I want to be able to talk to her about her childhood without discoloring it while she’s a child. I am over conversations with you, texts with you, emails with you– the only thing I care about if you want to have something better than cordial with me when this all wraps up– is your actions.

Make some choices about what you want for yourself. And then for B.E.. You want a better collaboration here– be decent person and communicate pertinent information. Treat Match how you’d expect to be treated. Treat me how you expect to be treated. We aren’t going to get along all the time, but this isn’t the right thing. Not even a little bit. I can’t imagine this what the world wants for B.E. or the rest of us. I hope you make better choices for her sake and her sisters.

Love and frustration,




Oh gosh, I just spilled my guts. Please comment and tell me what you think. :)

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