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I had a very happy childhood. My very first memory, from my swim lessons was when I was the ripe old age of 18 months. Studies have shown that when you have a happy childhood, you retain a lot of memories. I had such a happy childhood that I moved 3 doors down from my parents and am giving my children very similar memories. The same trail for my kids to play on, the same neighborhood schools to make friends at, even the same hill for them to race down on their scooters. However, my older son will not share the same innocence and happiness that I had at 11 years old. It tears me up inside every single day.
You see I married his father when I was 20 years old after only knowing him for 3 months. One word comes to mind… STUPID. But I was in love and running off to Vegas against my parents will sounded incredibly romantic. And it was, at the time. So fast forward to when my wonderful little boy is 3 years old. The end of my marriage was eminent. I remember leaving his father with all our stuff packed in the car, my toddler crying for his daddy and his dad running by the car, both crying out for each other. It was by far the hardest day of my life.
When you’re in the thick of it all you don’t really think that life will go on and that life will get better. But it does. I met a great man that truly considers Big E his son. He has never once referred to him as his stepson. In fact, when he proposed marriage, he didn’t propose to me, he proposed to both of us. When we got married, the three of us were at the alter, not just my husband and me, but the 3 of us making vows to each other. I wouldn’t have gotten remarried if it were any other way. Picture perfect right? Sorta.
My ex-husband gets Big E every other weekend. He loves his son and fought me in court to maintain that visitation. He pays very little in child support. So little it barely covers what he eats these days, a whopping $260 a month. He lives in a multi-million dollar house, drives very fancy cars, and takes more vacations than I can count, but swears up and down that he can’t afford more than $260 a month. His wife had told me on the phone that I am heartless and a bad mom. I can go on and on how this woman had negatively affected me. She has this vision of me that I am this terrible person, but she doesn’t even know me! Who is she to judge? And the worst part is she actually says to my son that I am a bad mom.
Well my ex-husband and his wife are having problems now. Big E hates going over there but loves his dad. He cries all the time that he loves his dad but hates how he’s treated. The worst part is there is nothing I can do. At Big E’s age, he can control if he goes over there, but he wont tell his dad he doesn’t want to go. There are a lot of tears right now.
The good news is that he has our home. He has his mom, his dad (because lets face it, my husband is raising him, he’s there every moment of every day, helping with homework and cheering him on in the outfield at games) and his little brother. All we can do is provide stability and love, steer him in the proper direction and hope we come through loud and clear.
My happy memories that I was hoping he would repeat are there, unfortunately though they also have a very darker and sadder counterpart. I feel so very guilty every day that I did this to him. I feel like I am responsible for all this pain he is suffering. And he is SUCH a good kid. It honestly kills me inside.
Ah… the modern day American family.