Losing Control

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Usually when I sit down to write something I’ve figured out the topic and the resolution. Sometimes it’s “hey, be less dumb” and sometimes it’s “New Year’s Resolutions are kind of silly, you shouldn’t make them” or “sorry lady, your prince charming isn’t coming.” This time I don’t have a resolution, just a topic.

I knew it would happen eventually; three years ago when we split up I knew we’d both move on, date people, maybe live with a partner or remarry. That was the goal of splitting up – we weren’t happy together so we should both figure out some other way to find happiness. We agreed on a custody schedule for our child: 70% with me, 30% with him.

A month ago he sent a text to let me know that he and his girlfriend have decided to move in together. They had already told our daughter and he wanted me to be prepared for questions when she got home from school. It would be more convenient for everyone he said. I was dumbstruck. They haven’t been dating long, and she also has a child.

The next morning I booked a spring break trip for Ellie and me. I needed to give her good memories. We went to California, she saw the ocean for the first time, I tossed her around in the pool and played sharks. We made some good memories. Now we’re back. While we were gone they moved into the house he shares with his dad. When Ellie goes to stay with her dad tomorrow she’ll be sharing a room with a little girl she’s known for 4 months.

Maybe it’ll be like summer camp. She’s always wanted siblings. Maybe this new pseudo-step-mom will help her with her homework and ask that she reads her library books. I’m trying really hard to convince myself. I want him to be happy – I truly, truly do, and we were not that together. But I’m so desperately worried about the damage this shortsighted plan is going to have on my child.

There’s nothing I can do. I’m not in control of what happens 30% of the time. Now is where I’d really like to come to the resolution of this topic, but every time I close my eyes I can see myself sitting next to my 17 year-old daughter on a therapist’s couch talking about the situation she was thrown into at age seven.

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