Move on the Horizon

Todd and I have wanted to move to Austin for a very long time. It is where we want the boys to go to school. We have very good friends there with kids that are close to the boys' age, and we love the area, the attitude, the land, the hills - pretty much everything about it. Not long ago, I decided that sitting around waiting to move, to finally be where we wanted was starting to make less and less sense. So, we have been discussing moving, even though my job is sort of here, and the girls are here.

Cassie goes to school in the fall, and she is really the one of the two girls that hangs out around the house at all. Brittany has her own agenda and spends as much time with friends, away from here, as possible. I am her running-around-buddy. I am her sounding board. I am her never-ending-supply of money. But her interest does not continue much past that. And really, that is ok. She is a teenager. I was one once and I doubt I was any more interested in hanging out with my mom than Brittany is with me.

Then there is the issue with her dad and our strained relationship. I pay him a HUGE amount of money every month to take care of the girls, pay for whatever they need, etc. He pisses this money away - his wife not working - and continues to stick me with additional expenses whenever he gets the chance (read: Cassie's College). I don't argue, because in the end it is for my girls. But the reality is that I am being taken advantage of continuously...financially and emotionally.

This, coupled with our strong desire to move, has encouraged me to push for the move sooner rather than later. And by sooner I mean "as soon as possible". Which could mean 3 months, or could mean over a year. We have a lot of work to get done on this house (general upkeep things, recarpet, painting, landscaping, etc) and then we have to sell it for a profit. That should be fun. So we told the girls that we are moving as soon as possible, explained the most likely time-frame (a year) and then...well all hell sort of broke loose.

Cassie took it fine. She is leaving anyway. So on vacations she flies to Austin instead of Dallas...big deal, right? Brittany on the other hand, well, she seemed upset at first, then was OK with it. We will still see her on our designated weekends (1st, 3rd, and 5th of month) along with 45 days in the summer, every other major holiday, every other spring break, etc. The only thing changing is I won't see her on Wednesday nights - when we move. She will be able to bring a friend sometimes...and I think she will like the flight - it is about 30-45 minutes total, and more exciting than a trip home from school.

It has not settled quite how I thought it would though. I had a pretty horrible argument with Brittany this morning related to this. We were headed to her friend's house to pick her up for school, something we do many mornings when I am taking Brittany. On the way there, I noticed a LOT of houses for sale. I mentioned this to her friend when she got in the car...and asked why everyone is selling.

Brittany : Everyones' parents must be moving away to Austin and leaving their kids here
Me: I am sure they will still see a lot of their kids
Brittany: Not as much as if they staid in Plano
Me: Perhaps if those kids had chosen to live with the other parent when they had the opportunity they wouldn't be so upset.
Brittany: Perhaps if their mom had not abandoned them when they were in 2nd grade they wouldn't have had to choose.
Me: Your father wanted to drag you into court and make you choose a parent - in 2nd grade. I was not going to have any part of that. It was insane. You were too young to make that kind of decision. When you were old enough, I gave you that opportunity - twice. Paid for lawyers - twice. And you decided both times not to change where you lived.
Brittany: Whatever.

That was the end of speaking for the rest of the trip. Wonderful. After dropping her off, I cried the rest of the way to work. Thank god I was too busy to think much about it. I was so mad, so frustrated, felt so guilty.

Tonight I thought a lot about the discussion / argument. And you know what? I don't have any regrets about what I have done in the past - the decisions I made with the girls. Their dad made it clear he didn't love me, didn't want to be with me. I decided I didn't want that kind of life...so I left. I wanted to preserve as much of the girls' stability as I could without dragging them into a court battle. Their dad - well, he just wanted to win. And he made it clear that he would fight until his very rich parents ran out of money. I refused to make them choose parents or be part of that mess...so I accepted joint custody with their dad being the primary residence.

When they were older, they told me they didn't want to stay there anymore so we talked to a lawyer. They decided not to change anything, and backed off, only to want to talk to one again a year later - which I again jumped into, only to have them back off a second time. This is when I decided that we needed to keep things as they are - mostly for my sanity. It was too hard on my emotionally and financially to keep hopping on that roller coaster.

I would do the same thing again.

It was when I realized this that I sent Brittany the following message: First, a move is pretty far off. Let's not get upset about it yet. We will be able to find ways to make it better for all of us...but for now, I am still here. I love you Brittany.

I don't know if things are better now, but she is talking to me. She apologized. But I doubt her feelings have changed. This whole divorce thing - well it just goes on sucking long after the initial shock is over.