The Exchange

Bubba had asked me to move the beginning of summer visitation so that it would start over a week later than it should have.  I politely told him that we need to stick to the court orders.  I didn’t say it to him but he’d chosen the longer summer schedule in the divorce and it was his responsibility to make sure he could accommodate the schedule he’d picked.  The reason he gave me for wanting to delay picking up his children was that he had to work that day but, given that he’d known what day he would have to get them for over two months, I figured he’d had that long to make alternate plans.  I wasn’t about to start messing with the court ordered visitation schedule on our first big visitation.  I didn’t want to set a precedent that Bubba could change the court orders according to his whims and wants.  I was no longer going to be under his control in any way.

Yesterday was the day that I had to hand my babies over to Bubba for the two months of summer.  Sean, Andy, and Sara went with us.  We left a few minutes after 10 am to meet at 2 pm.  There was absolutely no traffic on the way over so we got there at 1:00!  Bubba had texted Serenity that he’d be 45 minutes late, so we found a near-by park.  (And why was I not surprised by this?  I had to make sure SEVEN people were all ready to go and we were there early – Bubba had only himself to get ready and he was still late!)

We stopped at a gas station and Sean bought all the kids some drinks.  While we were in there, Sara dropped her drink and since she’d already dropped one and put it back in the case, Sean yelled at her.  It was a totally regional thing to say.  He said that if she dropped it again he was “gonna whoop your ass.”  I froze.  I just didn’t think beyond being rooted to the spot.  When we got to the park, all the kids got out of the car and I spoke up.  I told him that he’d scared me.  He said something about having told her already to be careful and that she only responds if you yell at her.  He said he doesn’t yell at her that much.

When we got to the park, he called her over and apologized for yelling at her.  He asked if he yelled at her a lot and she said he didn’t.  He asked her if he spanked her a lot and she said, “Rarely.”  From her body language and facial expressions, I could tell she is absolutely not afraid of him.  That made me feel better.  I’ve also heard so many parents down here use that expression, “whoop your ass,” that I think it is just a part of the regional way of life.  Even thinking that, it doesn’t make it easier to hear.  I cringe each and every time.

Serenity, Liam, and Andy kicked the soccer ball around while Shane and Sara skateboarded.  Sean sat and talked with me a bit and kicked the soccer ball around with the kids a bit.  I had such a fun day with all of these kids!!!  Sean made it a fun day too.  It felt like what I think normal should feel like.

I had my alarm set for 2:45 since Bubba had again texted and said he’d be there at 3:00.  He called Serenity at 2:43 to let her know he was there.  I took my time.  I didn’t gather the kids until my alarm went off.  We piled in the car and headed to the meeting place.

When we got there, Andy got out of the car and Bubba introduced himself to him.  We got their belongings transferred over without me even looking at Bubba.  Sean didn’t get out of the car and neither did Sara because I’d asked them to stay in the car.  Andy made sure to hug Serenity a few times.  (He told me about that later as I didn’t notice because I was just focused on moving their stuff.)

Serenity texted Andy within 5 minutes and said that Bubba’s first words were, “So that was Mom’s boyfriend.”  Serenity told him, “No! They’re friends.”  He said, “Yeah, right.”  Ugh!  He makes me so angry when he doesn’t listen to his kids.  Then Serenity texted about 2 hours later that Shane was raging so badly that they had to pull over.  She texted at 4:15 this morning to let me know they made it to her grandparents’ house safely.  She drove the last hour since Bubba was falling asleep and swerving all over the road.  He’s such a stellar parent!  It’s not even legal for her drive in that state with our state’s learner’s permit.

I asked Serenity today if her dad asked her about Andy – the boy who hugged her no fewer than three times during the exchange.  Nope.  He never asked his DAUGHTER who the young man hugging her was.  He was too concerned about who was sitting beside me.  My heart aches for my daughter.  The one female Bubba *should* still care about and he doesn’t.

She told me that Bubba left about a half hour after dropping them off.  Shane had been so excited about seeing his dad and his dad ended up leaving him a mere half hour after arriving at their grandparents’ house.  I am angry for how ripped off my kids are.

Bubba had figured out what to do with the kids so he could work.  He took them to my parents house, where they’d be a thousand miles away from either of us for well over a week.  The thing about divorce is that I had no say in this.  He can choose to leave the children with anyone he wants while it is his parenting time.  I guess it was either stay with their toxic, abusive father or their toxic, abusive grandparents.

The bright spot in all of this was that the kids get to spend some time with their cousins.  They might as well spend time with them now before they all grow up and the cousins are stuck in the cycle of abuse and toxicity that their parents are choosing for them.  I just pray that they can learn some things from my kids as they all grow up together.  I’m striving to teach my children healthy boundaries and how to have healthy relationships.

I hope they can be a light for their cousins.

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