Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today I Want To Whine

Okay, I need to whine. I need to get a load off my chest. I know that's just about all I've been here for lately, but to be honest that's really what I started this blog for in the first place. And hey, since I started it for me, I should feel free to say whatever I want here and not worry about what someone else thinks of me. So here goes.

The big fight I had in 2007 with my father seems to be over. There hasn't been any more awkwardness lately, and we've talked a lot on the phone. I'm even starting to think he might actually move up here soon so that he can see his grandkids more often, be able to see them grow up. But we had a new fight yesterday, so there's no telling what damage has been done. We just don't see eye to eye on the subject of Ex-Husband, and that's what the fight was about. I don't push for child support when it doesn't come. I take it when it comes and I use it for whatever we need, but when it doesn't come, I'm honestly a little glad about that. I don't want Ex-Husband's money. I don't need it, and I like it better when he's completely gone from Teenybop's life, money and all. It will ultimately make things easier for me when it comes time for Fiance to adopt Teenybop, too, because without his money there is total abandonment which I might be able to use in my favor if I can't find him to get consent for the adoption.

But my father looks at it as a guy who had a kid and got financially screwed. His child support for my brother (who is almost 17) comes out of his check, and he's lost his income taxes a few times as well. Plus he's a little bitter over his whole situation anyway. The bitterness is not without reason ... but he refuses to see that my situation with Ex-Husband the drug dealer is not the same as his deal with the Crazy Lady. He thinks that it's basically not fair that I'm letting Ex-Husband get away with not paying for the child he helped create, but my father is stuck paying for his.

The fight was bad enough, and there was more too it., but it really made me question my father in a way that I never have before. If he's that mad that he's not getting away without paying, does that mean he wouldn't help support my brother if he didn't have to? Seems like it to me. I would much prefer if my father were proud of his part in helping to raise his son instead of jsut concentrating on how another guy isn't having to pay as much. And another thing that bothers me is that he isn't mad that I'm not getting paid, and he isn't mad that Ex-Husband isn't taking care of Teenybop. He's just mad that he has to pay and another guy is getting away with only paying sometimes. It's not about family, it's just that "it's not fair".

Somehow the fight led to us talking briefly about the idea of visitation between Teenybop and Ex-Husband, whom she hasn't seen since 2005. From what he was saying, I'm pretty sure my father thinks that if Ex-Husband should show up suddenly wanting to be a dad to Teenybop, I should just let him. That "arrangements could be made." Yeah, like Ex-Husband is going to stop doing drugs on Friday and Saturday so he can hang out with a kid who doesn't know him. What "arrangements" could be made? Maybe she could go visit him in rehab? Tried that. He used to go to N/A meetings. In the front door, and out the back to get stoned.

I tried to make arrangements with Ex-Husband when I left him. I informed him that he would not be allowed to take Teenybop anywhere (since he had threatened to run with her), but that he would be welcome to come to our apartment once or twice a week, have dinner with her, and hang out with her. Most of the time he didn't show up at all, and the final time he came over to our apartment, he sat there while she played in his lap and tried to catch me up on all the drama in his family. When I got sick of him not paying attention to Teenybop, I told him that I didn't care anymore what his family was doing, and that if he hadn't come to see Teenybop, then he should leave. He picked her up, put her in the floor with her toys, and left.

So I'm supposed to hunt him down and make buddies with him? I don't think so. By this point in the conversation, I've pretty much been made to feel like an idiot who hasn't done a good enough job with my daughter. And that's something that I simply will not stand for. She is better-disciplined than any other kid I know (but she's also more laid-back), she better behaved (thanks to the discipline), smarter in most cases, and well-adjusted to her place in the world. I've done a damn good job and I'm not ever letting anyone tell me otherwise. And I told my father that. It's the only time in my entire life that I can remember yelling at him and telling him that just because he's old doesn't mean he knows everything. He wasn't there the day Teenybop's father walked out on her. He wasn't there in the child support mediation office when Ex-Husband asked the mediator if he'd still have to pay if he signed over his rights. The only reason his didn't is because they told him he'd have to pay anyway.

So I don't want to hear anything from anyone trying to imply to me that I've kept my daughter to myself, depriving her of a loving father figure. For crying out loud if she'd had that I might have stayed with him just so she'd have a father figure. But now she doesn't need him at all, she's got a Daddy in Fiance who loves her enough to read to her and play with her, take her to school and buy her clothes. We don't need his money. Maybe we aren't rich ... but we get by. Our bills are paid now that we're getting regular hours and normal pay again, our bellies are full, and life is fine for us. We aren't running out doing things all the time, and we can't afford a lot of luxuries ... But we have what we need and we're all three happy for the most part. But still, I think I really made my dad feel terrible because I was so hurt and angry and hormonal that I started crying.

Anyone who knows me knows that this is a terrible thing. I can't talk when I cry, and I hate crying period, especially when I'm not alone and other people can see me hurt. I don't like exposing that to anyone. But he heard me because I couldn't stop, and I was angry at myself then for not being able to keep my cool. It didn't take long before I was mad at him again though, because the end of the phone call went like this:

Dad: "Wow, do you realize how this makes me look?"
Me trying to talk clearly and stop crying at the same time: "How what makes you look?"
Dad: "The fact that you're up there doing that (meaning Tennessee, and crying) and I'm down here, and even if Fiance isn't at home to see you, I'm sure he'll find out about this."
Me: "And?"
Dad: "This really makes me look like an @$$-hole, you know that?"
Me, trying hard not to snap and this little sarcasm is the best I could do: "Oh, well jeez, I'm really sorry then."
Dad: "Well I can see this conversation isn't going to go anywhere right now. I'll let you go, and I'll call you back later."

I couldn't believe I was crying and hurt and upset and his big concern was how it might make him look to other people if someone should find out that he made me cry. Why is it more important that Fiance might think he's a jerk? Why doesn't it matter that he harped on me so hard that after an hour of that crap I just couldn't hold up under the criticism anymore?

And that's not even all of it. Earlier in the week, I got a phone call from my OB-GYN telling me that my baby apparently has an increased risk of being born with Down Syndrome. This is insanely scary to me as I have never ever been exposed to anyone with this particular disorder, so not only do I have a lot to learn if this baby is sick, but I will live the rest of my life struggling to properly care for the child. I'm not worried about loving it, as I'm sure I would love it no matter what ... but there would just be so many challenges, and so much that could go wrong. We are going in for the second level of screening on Friday, where they will perform some sort of special ultrasound and try to get a more definite idea of this baby's odds of being born healthy or sick. So I'm freaking out, and everyone around me is just telling me try and stay calm and be positive. And while I'm praying for strength and obviously for health for my child, I'm not really able to just stay positive. I have to think right now of how I will deal with a child born with Down Syndrome. I have to think about how I will provide for it's extended needs, how I will be able to devote the proper attention to it while still being a mother to Teenybop. I can't just blow it off until the baby is born and deal with it then. If I might be having a child who is sick, I need to be prepared for the possibility. It's a lot to take.

And that's without thinking of the stupid "vacation" trip to Florida that we're going on, where I'm going to be stuck hanging out with Fiance's father who has made his dislike for me very clear. We will be sleeping in Fiance's grandparents house, and while he assures me that they are thrilled to have us (all three of us), and that they are looking forward to the chance to get to know me better ... I don't know them. So it will be awkward. And the only plus sides to the trip were getting to see Fiance's Aunt, and getting to hang out with my dad. But now I don't even know how it will be hanging out with my dad ... he never did end up calling me back last night. Wonder how long it will take this time?

So there's the trip, the baby, the fight with my dad ... and the fact that Teenybop came home from school today in these shoes, the same shoes, but very different than what she left home in this morning. She says it's paint, and I have no idea whether it will come out, how to go about getting it out while still having the shoes dry and available for school tomorrow, or when I'll be able to buy new ones if the paint doesn't come out. And I'm so glad that she comes home from school telling me what a great time she had playing with her friends, and I'm glad that she's got so much cool stuff like paint to play with and learn new things ... But don't they understand that part of having a kid in Head Start is being a broke parent? I can't afford to run out and buy new clothes and shoes all the time because she comes home having ruined a brand new pair of shoes and possibly ruined her new jeans as well. Honestly, I know the paint will maybe come out, and it's not the end of the world. But it's like the last straw. I don't know how much more crap I can take.