In about October 2010, my fragile single mother existence started to crash around my ears. Even more so than it had done since the separation in 2005. The fear that I had lived in for a good year previously became real. My children’s father confirmed that he was putting his house on the market and moving 50 minutes drive away. His proposal was for our children to live with him Monday – Friday and to spend weekends with me. No. Over my dead body was this going to happen. I fell apart, in a way that I don’t think I had done before (except maybe when I was 16 and my first boyfriend split up with me – lost months of life then).
He had his reasons for doing it. Those reasons were his younger two children, from his now 2nd marriage. He had to consider them. Balls to the fact that our two children had a mother to take into consideration. A mother who didn’t move 160 miles away to live with her own mother when the marriage ended – because that would have taken his children away from him (it was a fairly idle threat, only mentioned once, at a very emotional moment). I moved a short distance away from our family home. The care had been 50/50 (or thereabouts) ever since the split – for the benefit of the children. And here he was, wanting to upset the status quo….for the primary benefit of his other two children.
Our children had been talking about this being a possibility for at least a year before. It had been discussed with them, without any mention to me. This is par for the course – why communicate with the mother of your older two children; you have told her you think nothing of her, so why do anything that engages and involves her. No wonder I believe he is trying to cut me out of their lives.
His house finally went on the market in November 2010. Very little was done to try and sort out the situation in terms of where the children would live. I sought legal advice from a friend, who is also a solicitor. I got good advice. The children’s father requested I report back to him what I’d been told. I’m an LPC graduate, who did family law. I have a fairly good understanding of the law anyway, but I like to get expert, independent help. Mediation was suggested. If that didn’t work, court would possibly be the only answer. I relayed this to my ex husband. Nothing was done. Nothing was resolved. Life in limbo.
My eldest child said she was going to live with Daddy. I said “no, you’re not”. This maybe wasn’t the best thing to do, but I really felt like I was FIGHTING to keep my children. They were pretty much all I had, and he wanted to take them away. That’s how it felt. I still think that is how it is/was. My youngest child was a bundle of confusion. She tied herself up in many knots. On one occasion, she told me she found it all so confusing and said “and I’m not a clever little girl”. My heart broke. How could anyone put their own child through this?
Eventually, around July, maybe August of 2011, the house was taken off the market. It wasn’t getting interest. It wasn’t going to sell. The children’s father said he was still going to go. No-one knew when, but it was going to happen. Life carried on, in its own little way.
In November 2011, the children mentioned the house going on the market. Nothing was said directly to me by their father, of course. I took to checking Right Move on a daily basis. Lo and behold, it went on the market. I noticed the for sale board go up outside his house one day when I dropped the children off. Here we were to go again. The unknown. The limbo. What was going to happen. But the house didn’t sell when it had gone on the market the previous November. Now we were in, arguably, a worse economic situation. Was it going to sell this time.
The answer, at the time of writing, is no. It hasn’t sold. And this evening, my youngest child informed me that the plan to move 50 minutes drive away wasn’t going to happen. They were going to move, but it was going to be within the local area, because of schools. Not just for my eldest child going to secondary school, but also because his youngest two children had school and nursery places.
I cannot convey how relieved I am. What is even better is both of my children have said they are happy not to be moving. My youngest child is happier than the oldest one, but even she has said that she isn’t sad – she thought she was, but no. She said it would have been nice to have a bigger house in the country, but she wasn’t sad.
Where this leaves us in terms of what I have said in earlier blogs, I don’t know. But, for now, I am happy that the status quo remains.