First the picture. DJ playing Goalie at what was the muddiest game of the season. Nothing will bring out the girlie in a bunch of 9 & 10 year old girls like mud. These are girls who normally get physical during the game and are not afraid of dirt. But, mud seems to be their breaking point. It was a long, LONG game to watch. I did laugh at the number of moms who like me were telling their daughters they wanted them to be as muddy as possible by the end of the game. No one took us up on the offer.
Yes, my child is like a young giraffe – all legs. I felt bad for her today because it was like 35 degrees out, she refused to put a long sleeved shirt on, and she has no body fat. She was fucking cold by the end. Guess she’ll listen to me next time.
Now for the rant….
Tonight, DJ is going to a birthday party of a friend. This birthday party has taken on many forms over the last 72 hours. Why? Because her parents are divorced – the ugly kind, unfortunately.
Her friend’s parents share custody of the kids. Mom takes them during the week, volunteers at school, does the after school running around and most of the teacher interaction. Dad has them on the weekends as his job permits. Special occasions tend to get sticky – like birthdays.
So, DJ’s friend is turning 10 and wanted a sleep over with a few friends. Great, says Mom, I’ll work it out with Dad. Meanwhile Mom contacts the friends as she is working it out with Dad since she knows Dad will not do a sleep over.
Things seem to be clicking along fine until yesterday….when Dad decides he will not give up his daughter for an overnight. Then, the reshuffling begins. Mom starts arranging a swim, pizza and movie instead – minus the sleep over, but she has to have her daughter back to Dad’s by 10pm. This entails more calls to parents – hoping the parents are okay with this change.
I just talked to her about 10 minutes ago, and now he wants his daughter back by 9:30pm.
Garbanzo (who actually has taught their oldest son for 4 years now) just sits back and shakes his head at this whole thing. The kids are totally getting screwed due to the parental bickering. And, Mom does a fantastic job trying to keep it all together – taking on the hard duties of the parenting (the overnights class trips where a parent must go, the illnesses, the soccer games, the issues at school, etc.) She does it while trying to keep things stable and normal for her kids.
Dad, well, he’s an interesting duck. Give today as an example, their daughter plays soccer with DJ. Mom asked me how the game went – how did her daughter do. Guess who didn’t bring the daughter to the soccer game? Yep, Dad. And, I got to tell Mom. Lucky me. So, while Mom is trying to keep things normal for the kids, Dad is pretty much dropping the ball on stuff and ignoring activities. Every game she’s missed this year has been on his watch. And school events – well, those are not attended. Garbanzo is curious to see if he even shows for parent-teacher conferences as he rarely does.
Should I judge Dad? Probably not. But, I’m going to. I see Dads out there who make this work despite their busy schedules, despite how hard it is with multiple kids. I see them put their kids first. I see them making it work without complaint or drama. They travel with soccer teams. They go to the school events too. They sit right beside their ex-wife when there are issues with their kid at school. And the kids – well, you see a difference in them compared to their peers who don’t get that in their lives.
And, I would judge a Mom who did the same thing – just so we’re clear. (And I have a friend whose ex-wife is in this boat.)
Garbanzo and I have always said that if, for any reason, our relationship resulted in divorce, we would live next door to each other. Garbanzo was raised by divorced parents and had a pretty fucked up view of the world as a result of it. He knows the games – he knows the bullshit he was dragged into – and he will not do that to our kids if, God forbid, the same happened to us. As he said, he loves our kids too much to do that to them.
Sound odd? Well, our neighbor does it with her ex-husband. They live a block away from each other – and they are very amicable at least in public or in front of their son. They walk their kid between the houses. If there is a birthday party, they do it together. Why? Because it isn’t their son’s fault their relationship ended, why unintentionally punish him for it. That’s their philosophy.
So, that’s my rant. Thanks for listening.