Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One of THOSE days....

Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

I'm not talking about yesterday's memory fiasco, when I finally realized that parent/teacher conferences were next week, not this week, and had to confess that to the babysitter who was waiting to hear which night we wanted to go out on a much-needed date.

We'd hoped, after the court's decision back in August, that we'd have to put up with a lot less crap than we'd been dealing with over the previous two-plus years.  And, to a certain extent, we don't get nearly as much...but then, that's because we have a piece of paper that says (although not in so many words) we don't have to.

We don't have to spend four nights a week waiting, putting everything on hold, to see SIL not call her kids on Skype.  We don't have to bend over backwards to make sure we don't offend either her or Bro.  We don't have to suck it up and deal if she shows up unexpectedly and demands to take the kids for the day.

The court order insists on proper warning to us before expecting us to make drastic changes to our schedules.  SIL and Bro have to be as respectful of our time and schedules as we've had to be of theirs.

And while we all share legal custody of the Fries, Hubby and I have primary physical custody.  They live with us.  This is now--legally--their real home.

But it doesn't stop the stupidity that landed all of us in this situation in the first place.

To be honest, it was easy to see why SIL and Bro's marriage unraveled.  Neither was willing to share the position of most importance.  They both wanted the world to revolve around them.  And only in science fiction does a solar system with two suns actually work...and even then, one sun is usually lesser.  Both of them wanting to be the most important led to cataclysmic effects on their marriage.

In short, neither of them wanted to sacrifice dignity and position to serve the other.  They operated under the theory that marriage is a 50/50 deal, and if each spouse gave 50%, then they'd have a 100% marriage.  Only problem with that is that each one's perspective on how much their 50% was supposed to be was different.  Their 50%s didn't add up.

Granted, my marriage is by no means perfect.  But at least we understand that we've both gotta give 100% to the marriage and let God sort out the details.  And that keeps it stable when the inevitable bickering comes up.

And so we're just now waiting on the final divorce decree to declare that Bro and SIL's marriage is good and truly over.  In so many ways, the marriage ended long ago.  All that held it "together" was the legalities.

And we're still dealing with two people who are more concerned about themselves than they are about any one else.  Their needs and wants are of utmost importance to them.  Their kids are a distant second if they're lucky, the estranged spouse even further down the scale.

Case in point: we got an email today from SIL, who has deployed to Afghanistan.  She's irritated with us.

Oh, there's a shock.  (Not nearly as shocking as her calling us "wonderful" in court.)

Why?  Because we apparently don't know what a kind, giving, loving, wonderful person she is.  We don't really know her.  She'd never sue us for her failure (although she didn't say it that way) to give us the court-required 72 hours' notice before coming to town and wanting to see the girls.  We could have been nice and let her see the girls before she deployed.  And regardless of all the drama we started, she still loves us dearly.

Let's see.  We emailed her back, when she requested to see the girls, to be sure that's what she really wanted.  Asked her if she wanted us to ignore the stipulations in the court order.  And....

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And never got an email response.  Or a phone call.  Or a text message.

We made arrangements anyway, just in case, for her to be able to see the girls.  If she got in touch with us.  It's not our responsibility, after all, to make sure she confirms and/or responds.

Her farewell emails, which I somehow received (still don't know quite how), mentioned how much she would miss her mom and her brothers and her friends.

Her kids?  Not.  One.  Word.  In either email.

It frustrates both Hubby and I immensely.  We'd love to be able to tell her how we really feel.  We'd love to be able to get her to open her eyes and see reality.  We're tired of dealing with a 26-year-old woman who insists on acting half her age.  (I have the same gripe about my 29-year-old brother.)

She is, however, right about one thing.  We didn't really know her before.  We do now.  We don't like what we know.

So now, we have to set aside our roiling and seething emotions and respond to her.  Like a two-year-old's temper tantrum, we have to ignore hers and deal solely with the facts.  Ignore the fact that she hasn't been as wonderful to us as she says, that we SURE didn't start this, and that we are purveyors of all drama.  And state the facts:

We emailed, and we requested a response.  We didn't get one.  We made arrangements for a time for a visit anyway, and monitored both of our email accounts all weekend long to see if she'd responded.  And we didn't get a personal email from her until after she arrived in Afghanistan.

And, hopefully, in time, our emotions (and blood pressures) will settle down.  We know what she's doing; she's making herself look better in her own eyes, and she hasn't been in Afghanistan long enough to make new friends, so she has lots of time to think.

And, sadly, we realize that a good friend of ours was right when he said, "She will never grow up."

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