Do you ever have one of those days where you want to sit down and write, but you are too busy talking to your lawyer and wondering if you'll really have to put your baby on an airplane the next morning?
Welcome to my yesterday.
The short version is that my ex is winning yet another gold medal in douchebaggery, and somehow it hasn't been four years since the last one. Last Thursday morning, the unexpected knock at the door was a guy who handed me yet another batch of legal paperwork. Motion for enforcement of parenting time, or something. He wants six weeks of make-up parenting time (when is this going to happen, pray tell? Have you lengthened summer? You certainly have a sufficient god complex to believe you can!), for me to pay for the make-up parenting time, six weeks each summer in the future, and for me to pay for his legal costs.
I had kept my word and didn't send Twelve for that six-week trip that my ex booked months ago, while reiterating that I would be happy to work with him to arrange for one or both three-week trips. (Bizarre side note: I got a text message from him the day that the six-week flight left, asking if I had or had not put her on the plane. Apparently, he seriously thought that I was going to do what he told me to do after all and not tell him about it.)
I hadn't heard back from him about a three-week visit, and summer is practically over, so I emailed him a couple of weeks ago at Twelve's request, asking if a summer visit could still happen. In response, I got an unrelated question about Twelve's scheduled November and December visits: She has a whole week off for Thanksgiving this year, and R and I are going to Mexico at the end of December for a friend's wedding. Twelve's dad technically gets Wednesday-Sunday over Thanksgiving, and it hasn't yet made sense for her to fly 3000 miles for that length of time. I had hypothesized to Twelve that she might be able to come to Mexico with us if we could work everything out with her dad. My ex wanted to know if I would be okay with him having the whole week at Thanksgiving, and was just checking in about December to make sure that we weren't planning to infringe on his time to take Twelve to Mexico. (No, he didn't say, "What an amazing opportunity for Twelve to visit another country and get to go to the wedding of people she cares about!" That would be the normal, non-asshat/good parent reaction.)
You've threatened to take me to court and now you want me to be nice and give you a whole week at Thanksgiving? You've got to be fucking kidding me. Promise you won't take me to court, and we can talk.
I said it much more politely, of course, and a couple of days later the court papers arrived. Okay then, you want to do it the stupidly expensive way? Game on.
I called in my attorney for a strategy session, and said let's make him feel like he's really getting something here. Let's tell him he can have all the things I would have given him anyway - a visit yet this summer, a whole week at Thanksgiving, and two weeks at Christmas. Also, while we're at it (at hundreds per hour), let's build in some restrictions: Six weeks the summer after next only if he actually exercises all the time he's entitled to between now and then and calls Twelve once a week. Let's clear up some financial loose ends from the last go-round, just to make me feel better about those hundreds: Unaccompanied minor fees are part of the flight costs, and you DO have to pay them (remember, I know how much you make, you stingy asshole).
We did have a slight difference of expectation about what it means to fit in a trip before school starts. I was thinking next week sometime. He was thinking tomorrow. So, at five o'clock last night, I got final confirmation from my attorney that he agreed to the settlement and that a flight was booked for 10 o'clock this morning.
Twelve, true to form and to the way I've raised her, was gung-ho at noon yesterday about the idea of leaving home at seven this morning. (Gratuitous side note: Damn, I'm good!)
After she boarded, I was sitting there tearily, waiting for the plane to leave, wishing that there was a half-used tissue in one of my four pockets (I am my grandmother's granddaughter, and this is how we roll. In another decade, the half-used tissue will be up my sleeve), and pathetically composed a text message to my sister, R, and a friend.
There's an attentive father hanging out with his three boys near me. Thanks, Universe, for reminding me what Twelve's never had.
Checked in with Twelve - window seat, apparently decent seating companion, characteristically uninterested in talking to me.
I dripped a tiny bit more, just decompressing. "At least she's blessed with a great mom!" from my sister. "He's only attentive so his kids don't melt down because he wants to pick up airport babes" from R.
I'm pretty much out of emotions at this point and am ready to move on. The fact that the kids got out of hand three seconds later and got quite a semi-manipulative lecture from their dad helped, too.