It's OK

Cassie is having such a tough time at her dad’s. She tells me about it, trying not to make it seem like a big deal, but the fact that she is mentioning it at all means it is a HUGE DEAL. Her step-mom, Heather, is being horrible to her. Even Brittany agrees. If Brittany thinks someone other than her is getting the shaft – and actually cares, there is something seriously wrong with the situation. Apparently Heather is being snide, and even outright mean in verbal exchanges with Cassie. She is showing obvious favoritism toward Brittany and her two boys. And her dad, is doing nothing about it. In fact, he is supporting EVERYTHING Heather is saying / doing to her.

The issues are mostly little things…but the little things always add up to something bigger, don’t they? They won’t let Cassie take a shower after 9:00 pm because it wakes Heather up. So, Cassie tries to take a shower when she gets home from school, before dinner, or right after dinner. Unless one of Heather’s boys wants to take a shower…then Cassie has to wait and hope there is time to get one in before Heather goes to bed. The boys are always “first” in Heather’s eyes.

They will not allow her to have her cell phone at their house. I purchased and pay for it – therefore she cannot use it there. If they find it in her room, school bag or anywhere over there, they will get rid of it.

Her car broke down recently. They are not going to fix it. They are also not going to get her another one. They told her to buy her own. This is the same car that they put tires on for Cassie’s sixteenth birthday present. She wants to keep the tires, just to be a pain to them, but doesn’t even get to do that.

She finally fell apart yesterday and practically begged me to talk to Heather or her dad – to do SOMETHING to make them stop being so awful. I talked to Todd, and we just cannot see an upside to doing this. Her dad will not be responsive to ANYTHING I have to say. He will simply retaliate by sticking absolutely to the divorce decree – not letting me pick them up from school, or being flexible in any manner. This would significantly cut down on the time we have together. Neither her dad nor Heather will be any nicer to Cassie as a result of any discussion I have with them, and it may in fact make things substantially worse for her, and possibly for Brittany.

All I want to do is scoop her up and bring her home with me…where she can be happy and spend these next six months before she goes to college without all of the pain and misery she is experiencing…and yet, there is so little I can do. Trying to get a lawyer to change anything will take months, and she only has 6 until she is 18, and can do whatever she wants.

I was listening to Matchbox 20’s How Far We’ve Come this morning with Cassie in the car. She mentioned that she was singing this to herself the other night when her dad and Heather were yelling at her – especially the two lines:

Started crying and I couldn't stop myself

I started running but there was no where to run to

It upset me so much to hear how much they are effecting her. She is a brilliant, fun, fantastic girl and they are destroying her soul. It really makes me want to do …something. Although I have no idea what. I cannot expect her dad or Heather to be reasonable human beings who sit down and listen to me and act in an appropriate manner to fix the situation. They are not capable of that.

And yet I am doing nothing. I am not talking to them and it feels wrong and awful and horrible. I have been going over and over this in my head - making myself sick trying to come up with SOMETHING that will fix it all. And then I realized something. Something big…and important. And it calmed me.

Parenting is about not being able to fix everything… it is about giving your children the ability to cope with problems and then silently standing by watching them work through the issues, finding a resolution, and growing into adults during the whole process. It is all about gearing up to let go of your child. It is heart-wrenching, it is difficult. It is so very difficult, but it has a purpose. She has chosen this path, she is learning to manage it…and she will be OK. We both will.