Author Topic: My conumdrum  (Read 7217 times)

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Gunsotsu

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My conumdrum
« on: July 09, 2007, 10:35:30 AM »
I wrote the first part of this the night this all started going down. The second half I wrote the following night. I apologize for it's length, it was originally intended for a post on my blog, but I'm not sure they'll ever make it over there since if I posted it now, the entire wrath of my family would be felt.

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

Part one-

On July 16th, 2001, I lost my first wife. Not to something as tragic as death, but rather to another word starting with “d,” divorce. She’d met with her lawyer earlier that day and as I returned home from a volunteer meeting and crawled into the bed we had shared for four years, two months, and 15 days she laughed and told me about it.

At that moment my life turned upside down. The woman that I had loved suddenly didn’t love me anymore. The woman I promised the rest of my life to didn’t want me in her life anymore. But I reminded her, that no matter how much she may wish that I wasn’t a part of her life anymore, I always would be, thanks to the beautiful daughter that we had together.

It was Christmas Eve, 1999 when Sara came screaming, reluctantly I might add, into the world. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She didn’t have a single hair on her precious little head, her eyes were all swollen, and she could easily have been cast in a Saturday Night Live skit thanks to her cone shaped head, but she was beautiful. And when I held her for the first time, and I looked into that wrinkled little face, I knew that I would never be without her for all my days. As I stood there, with tears streaming down my face, I held her close and told her “I don’t know what the future holds for me and you. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. But I promise you this one thing, no matter what happens, no matter where life may take us, know that you and I will never be apart, because I love you and you will always be in my heart.” And for the first time, Daddy got his Eskimo kisses.

So on July 17th, 2001, as I stepped out the door of the place that was my home, my precious little Sweet Pea looked up at her Daddy and started to cry. Those fingers that had grasped my hand so tightly on so many occasion, reached out for me, begging me not to go. She knew then that her Daddy was going away without anyone having to tell her.

For the first time in my life, I truly knew what loss was. I watched the little girl who meant more to me than my own life shrink in the window as the car carried me away from her. It was the worst day of my life.

Flash forward a few months and it was only 10 days after my 25th birthday, the sad events of 9/11 were only one month removed from the public conscious, I had been officially divorced for nine days, but for me it was a happy day. It was the first time that the woman I was seeing would meet the little woman that meant more to me than anything. The service at Chili’s is anything but stellar, but it is pretty kid friendly, so my little woman sat next to me, and the woman who would eventually become my wife sat across from me.

Sara and Virginia took an instant liking to one another. I found this rather surprising given Sara’s propensity for her father’s shyness, but never the less, the two were soon thick as thieves. With each and every visitation their bond grew. They schemed and plotted against me, as all women do to men they love. They planned surprises and new and exciting ways of tickling me. They developed their own relationship, and my love for both of grew and grew, as did their love for each other.

Things progressed wonderfully, and in an effort to slay some of the demons of my past, Virginia and I were married on July 16th, 2005. What was once a sad day was turned into a happy one. Sara was our flower girl. Neither of my girls had ever looked more beautiful as they did on that day. Both of them managed to steal my breath away in a manner that nothing in my life had before. I was complete. Life was good. I was a newlywed, I was getting to see my darling Sweet Pea on a much more regular basis, and life just seemed like it couldn’t possibly get any better.

But on March 25th of this year it did. Oh sure, he was three weeks early, and sure, he’s grounded until he’s thirty for the little NICU stunt, but we were all happy when Al made our family just a little bit bigger. Sara was a big sister, Virginia was a Mommy (not just a step-Mommy), and I had a complete set of kids, one girl, one boy. His head is still shaped funny, more flat than cone like, and he didn’t make a sound other than a grunt when he came into this world, but Sara, Virginia, and I were happy.

Anyone who tells you that being a SAHD isn’t the hardest thing any man can do is simply full of shit. I’ve been a soldier. I’ve had to march under a full combat load, up and down the mountains of Korea for 25 miles. I’ve slept in the back of an armored vehicle with a gassy Mexican next to me. I know what it’s like to have three week old fumunda cheese thanks to too many days without a descent shower. I’ve held a live 35 pound 120mm mortar shell straight out in front of me for five minutes because FDC wanted to see how long all us FNGs could “hang.”  But in comparison to all those things, and many others, nothing has been more difficult than being a SAHD. And nothing has been more rewarding.

Everyday with Al is a joy. Everyday is new and exciting. Everyday is fun. And yet, every day is also a reminder of what I didn’t have with Sara. As Al lies on the floor, toothlessly grinning up at me, I look at him, and tell him that I miss his big sissy. Nothing hurts more than not having her with us everyday. She adores Al and he in turn adores her. She means the world to him, and he to her. My best days are the ones where I have both of my children and my wife all under the same roof, and my worst are when one of those elements is missing. 

I don’t know how long Elizabeth and Dan have been together, nor do I really care, but somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew this day would come. All I can remember of the announcement of their pending nuptials was that it occurred towards the end of Sara’s T-ball season. I of course congratulated her, but I didn’t feel anything of it other than dread. Not dread than my ex was finally getting re-married, but dread of what I knew to be inevitable.

Her call the morning of July 6th rattled me, as it always does. When Liz calls and first of all says she needs to talk to me about Sara and secondly would like to come over to do it, my mind immediately conjures all the worst possible things it could. What had I done wrong this time? What had Sara done wrong? How is she mad at me now? But above all of those thoughts was the one that I feared the most, the one I made a bet with Virginia about. “Five will getcha’ ten.”

So as my ex-wife sat there on my couch all my worst fears came true. She and her husband-to-be have an incredible opportunity… in California. So here I sit balancing along the razors edge. On one side I can do what many, including my own family, would say to do and that is tell her “no, you aren’t taking Sara to Cali.” And on the other, I can let her take her, and as a result see those tiny fingers outstretched again, only this time it’d be worse.

If I tell Liz no, then one of two things will happen. One, she and Dan do not get married, I ruin her happiness and her life, and she stays here in hell. Or two, she takes me to court and we fight it out, and maybe she wins, maybe she doesn’t. If the former occurs, I’d be in the same boat as just letting her go in the first place, and if the latter occurs, then there’s that whole bit about ruining her life. For some this wouldn’t be a dilemma at all, but I’ve always strived to be the better person in all of this, so I won’t easily take the low road as many would.

Should I decide that she can take Sara to one of the many states that I spent my childhood in, then I have to live with seeing her even less then I do now. This decision will also incur the full wrath of my mother and the rest of my family, as well as some of Liz’s I am sure. But, had I stayed in the Army for example, they’d see Sara, and Al for that matter, about as often as my sister and I got to see our grandparents, so this possibility shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. This in itself has been a point of many a heated argument between my mother and I, and I know she argues with me out of love for her grandkids and her want to be around them, but she, and everyone else involved in all of this needs to realize, it’s not their decision. It is mine and mine alone.

No one will be more deeply affected by my decision than me. No one has to endure this pain and heartache as I do. No one else can possibly understand what it is I am going through, because no one else has had to endure all I that I have up to this point. No one else knows my sorrow. Certainly others will be affected by my ultimate decision, but none as me.

Virginia, Sara, and Al are all that matters to me. Their needs, their desires, their hopes, and their happiness are all that matters to me. I am a man faced with a decision that no man should ever have to make. I have to decide if it is right to be selfish and deny one life, or sacrifice a portion of my life for another.

I really hate being right all of the time.



part two-

I never wanted this responsibility. The potential that no matter what I choose, someone loses. So what could I possibly do to maximize the potential for happiness, and lessen the inevitable sadness that goes with this decision?

One possibility was not presented or explored, or if it has been explored, it was not presented out of the misguided ideal that it wasn’t the best option for all parties involved, and it truly is.

I am not the only person deeply affected by this potential decision. In fact, there are no less than seven other people that potentially will lose an important part of their happiness. Besides myself, Ed & Becky, Eddie, Nell, Gary & Connie, and Jessica also stand to lose by Sara moving to California. Despite the decision resting solely upon my shoulders, the thoughts and feelings of these individuals must be taken into account as well. I can not in good conscious make a decision that adversely affects these people as well.

So, what am I to do?

I propose the following:

Sara is not allowed to move to California. The reason for this is that it is the only solution that provides for the least amount of grief by everyone affected. This may not seem immediate, however by comparison only two people would be adversely affected by her staying in Alabama, and this would be easily managed.

Sara could quite easily spend school vacations and breaks in California. Given the days given as breaks or no school days by Huntsville City Schools for the 2007-2008 school year, there are no less than 99 total days that she could be in California, including summer vacation. The only months throughout the school year that would make it difficult for Sara to travel to California are September, February, and April, but certainly some concession could be made to accommodate her traveling to California to see her mother during these periods.

The argument may be presented that if it is so easy for Sara to travel to California during holidays and breaks, then why can’t the inverse be true? Why can’t Sara travel in this manner to visit Alabama? The reason is the fact that Sara’s visit to Alabama would have to be split between the afore mentioned people and her father. Compounded to this fact is the difference in holidays and break between Huntsville City Schools and the San Francisco Unified School District, and Sara’s time with her family in Alabama is lessened even more.


The problem of travel is easily rectified. Both Delta Air Lines and AirTran offer non-stop service between Atlanta and San Francisco. Both airlines also allow unaccompanied minors under the age of 8 on their flights provided they travel on flights that are direct or non-stop only. Both airlines have stringent rules regarding unaccompanied minors and their safety. Only persons designated by the parents and the flight crew of the aircraft that the child will be traveling on are allowed contact with the child, and a chain of custody follows the child where ever they travel. Tickets can be purchased well in advance based on known days off, and the first ticket for travel could be purchased immediately.

In order to alleviate some of the expense of near monthly travel to and from California one of two things are proposed. One, Sara is enrolled in public school and the burden of financial responsibility for her travel lies with her father in lieu of school tuition. Or, two, Sara continues in private school and the burden of travel lies with her mother. The lowest available round trip ticket for travel averages nearly $400. A compromise can be reached if both parties agree that Sara stays in private school provided the father pays for school tuition and the mother pays for travel expenses.

An added question in all of this is how much time will Sara really be able to spend with her mother if she lives in California? Given Liz’s choice of career and the fact that she would be starting over in a new state, one can surmise that she would be unable to spend any more time with Sara than she does now. At least in Alabama, Liz had her parents available to care for Sara whenever necessary, Liz and Sara have no family in California to rely on. 

If Sara were to stay in Alabama, she would have all of her family with the exception of her mother. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be difficult on Liz and Sara, but given the reverse, more people’s happiness would be affected were she to leave all that she has here.

I do not want this decision. No man should have to have the potential to ruin someone’s life.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 10:37:16 AM by Gunsotsu »

Offline Frobozz

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2007, 02:26:52 PM »
Dude, I'm at a loss really as far as what to say.

I give you a lot of credit in considering how denying your ex the move might impact her life in the future.  I'm not saying you should/shouldn't do it, but I give you credit.  I'm not sure I would be clear thinking enough to have thought of that, or cared.

Based on all of the scenarios you set forth, I see your daughter moving to California being the best for your ex and no one else. It hurts you and it hurts your daughter as she is ripped away from not only you but her extended family.  Not that she won't or can't be happy eventually in California, but she is happy now, so there's nothing presented to say that this move is good for her.

Also, was there anything in the divorce and child care agreements that made any restrictions on moving out of state?

I know you are trying to find the solution that's best for everyone, but you are looking at goals that are mutually exclusive (yours and your ex's). So figure out what's best for you and your daughter and go for that.  After all is said and done, you have to live with your thoughts every day. So think about what choice won't have you kicking yourself for choosing that one.

Good luck.


 

Offline joey791

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2007, 07:19:29 PM »
I wont get into the story but I  can "feel" you.

The day your first wife divorced SHE DECIDED that you are no longer responsible for HER. The day Sara was born SHE DECIDED that you will ALWAYS be responsible for HER. Fight, don't let her go gun, if your ex moves off and makes a mistake it is HER mistake, if she takes SARA with her--------I wont even say it you know where I'm going

Fight man that little girl is depending on you, her father

Offline Bill

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2007, 08:07:34 PM »
I have to agree with Joey here.  While it is extremely noble that you think about your ex's troubles and feelings, it stopped being your job the day it ended.

You have now have some choices, choice one, fight for your daughter.  Tell your ex she can go, but you get Sara.  If she won't have it you'll have to decide if it is worth taking to the courts.  But seriously, think of your daughter and of your family.  A family your ex didn't want any part of anymore. 

You'll kick yourself forever if you don't at least try to fight.


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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 09:09:39 PM »
Gunsotsu...    Fight man..   Fight for your daughter..

I divorced my wife for cheating on me many years ago..  At the time I had to young boys, ages 4 and 2.   I fought for my boys in the divorce and I got them..   I was so afraid that I wouldn't get custody of my boys and it scared me..   But I couldn't stay with a woman that was "with" other men..   

I couldn't imagine not seeing my boys everyday of my life..   It doesn't matter whether they make me mad or they make me happy..   Just as long as they are with me I can handle everything else.   

But just like you, I met a young beautiful woman and we have a daughter together.  So now it's Me, my wife, my 2 boys and my little girl..   We are one happy family..  But if I didn't fight for my boys back then, who knows how their lives would be now..

My point, fight man..  I'm sure your like me and you couldn't live without ALL of your children..    Don't sacrifice your time with your daughter because of your ex-wife wanting to move to California.  If she wants to move she can, but she should have to make the sacrifice, not you!   

Just my $.02 man..  Because I have somewhat been thru it...      Hope it has helped..

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Offline jbpdvm

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 11:16:44 PM »
You need to fight for your daughter! A child needs roots, which she already has in Alabama. Your ex obviously does not have Saras best interests in mind. If it is so important for your ex to move to CA, then she should do the best thing for Sara which is leaving her in Alabama.
 Also, I just read an article about teen pregnancy,and it concluded that girls who were very close to their father were much less likely to get pregnant in their teen years.
  I wish you the best of luck. This is a terrible situation for everyone. Hopefully your ex will realize what is best for Sara.
                                                                     Joe
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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2007, 11:21:35 PM »
Gunsotsu....that was one of the saddest yet uplifting things I have ever read.  Sad is obvious. Uplifting because you love your children so much.  My very good friend went through a very similar thing.  His children lived with his ex and she decided to up and move to another state.  Even WITH the divorce agreement saying she couldn't.  He fought.  As everyone else has said fight.  I don't know if I would have considered my ex's feelings. She has no regards for yours.  You are a good man for that but sometimes you have to get in the muck and fight it out.  You love your daughter..it's obvious.  Funny I said almost exactly the same thing to mine when I saw her for the first time.  And if you feel even half for yours what I feel for my 2, you have to do it. have to try and keep your daughter there



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Gunsotsu

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2007, 08:49:30 PM »
Thank you all.

There's an update to all of this, but I don't have the heart to get into it right now.

But, to ass to everything else, my wife just got laid off.

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2007, 09:29:19 PM »
My friend it is ironic that I am reading this, today I had to leave my Swofford behind and leave his mother due to irreconsilable (on her part) differences.

My heart is shattered, my chi is whacked and my soul wonders in a very dark place.

I just want to crawl under my blanket and sleep till I have to join that black parade.

However I love my son immensely, some can testify to that, so that is out of the question.

My advice is to fight, thats was my descision when my son was standing at his bedroom window pleading for me not to go. My wife can have custody, joint custody but there is no way in hell I wouldnt see my son everyday...and right now the way that I am feeling no one would ever stop me, and it would be a brave man that tried, a very brave, very dead man.

Anyway, I may not be around for a while as I need to recover from this horrendous feeling in my gut, the way i feel that my body is wasting away and my mind is slowly losing its gripon what is real.

Good luck buddy, I wish you all the best.

Offline z_randy

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2007, 09:43:23 PM »
SD I am so sorry to hear that.  I wish there was something I could say to both of you.  Hang tough



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Offline joey791

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2007, 09:48:46 PM »
sorry to hear that brother, if there is anything we can do for you, let us know, if you need someone to talk you know we are always here

Offline z_randy

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2007, 09:57:27 PM »
sorry to hear that brother, if there is anything we can do for you, let us know, if you need someone to talk you know we are always here
That goes for both of you!  And anyone else that may be in this position



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Offline Frobozz

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2007, 10:26:47 PM »
Good luck to both of you guys.


 

Gunsotsu

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2007, 09:20:18 PM »
Well, the letter from her lawyer arrived today.


And so it begins....

Offline Keith

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Re: My conumdrum
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2007, 10:43:27 PM »
I'm sorry man..    It's going to be a long road..   Like I have said before on this site..    I divorced my exwife for cheating on me and I fought for custody of my 2 little boys..  I got custody of them so have hope...    If you want custody, you can do it!

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