Sunday, 23 May 2004

doing the right thing

i'm still at a loss .. normally words come pretty easy for me .. i figure a lot of it has to do with relying on a journal since i was young to help me sort things out  
i suppose if i write long enough the words won't be such a struggle  
backtrack to a few weeks ago  
after struggling financially for years i finally worked up the nerve to file the necessary papers with CSS to see if i could get some help from the ex with child support for our 13 year old daughter
he got the papers last weekend  
his first call to me last saturday went pretty much as i imagined it would .. call me chicken but i guess i neglected to warn him the papers would be coming .. my bad  
i can't really fault him for wanting to know what was going on .. after all, its been 10 years since the divorce and i've never relied on him for money for our kids .. when our son moved in with his dad 5 years ago and i retained full custody of our daughter we more or less considered things "even" .. now our 19 year old son is in college .. thanks to his dad  
so last weekend he tells me that if i pursue child support he's going to be forced to take our son out of college  
when our call was accidentally disconnected i was relieved  
his call last tuesday night didn't go anything like i had anticipated
 i answered his call and took a deep breath .. i figured worst case i'd finally find out what kind of stuff i was made of .. actually i *know* what kind of stuff i'm made of .. steel and fortitude ain't in the mix .. even way back in my junior high school debate i gotmarked down constantly for "buckling under pressure"  
some things never change .. its one of my dreaded character traits that hangs over my head like a dark cloud to this day  
i've found ways to cope with this irritating trait by any means possible .. like changing my middle name to avoidance .. i was determined not to cave in and take the opportunity to say whats been on my mind  
so i told him i needed to accomplish 3 things .. first that our daughter had the same immediate opportunities offered to her that we gave to our son like braces and summercamp  
second that in 5 years she gets to go to college too  
third that he spends more time with our daughter  
i told him that i have grown tired of asking him to help out financially and being told that he can't afford to help .. i am also at a loss as to how to get him to spend more time with his daughter  
he agreed to help out more financially and spend more time with her  
you could have knocked me over with a feather .. i was prepared for a lot of things .. his being nice wasn't anticipated  
the next day he dropped off a check for HALF of the cost of her summercamp  
since he's received the papers, he's taken her shopping for clothes .. on wednesday, he took her to dinner and helped her with hercurrent school project .. friday evening he invited her over to spend a few hours just hanging out at his house .. today he's picking her up again and taking her shopping for an outfit to wear to her friends party tonight  
he's also agreed to pay for half of her braces over the next few months  
after 2 years of promises he finally arranged to get our sons car fixed so that i can drive it while our son is home from college for summer break  
and now, of course, i feel like a big old meany  
in a little over a week he's managed to make it appear that he's always been willing to help out .. all i had to do was ask  
i have no intention of having him pay so much money to help with his daughter that he's forced to take our son out of college .. i don't want to sacrifice one childs future for the others  
when i got his check for half of the summercamp i sat on my bed and cried tears of relief, no longer worried on how i was going to manage to pay for it  
we've agreed to set up a calendar for the next 6 months so that both he and my daughter have time scheduled together .. after talking with her about how much time she'd like to spend with her dad, we agreed on 3 weeks during the summer, 1 week at christmas, 1 weekend a month and dinner once a week (resulting in increasing his time with her from 3% to 15%)  
he also agreed to pay half of the costs for sending her to college in 5 years  
and he says he understands that i'm going to need a guarantee
i suppose i should be relieved but the last 2 weeks i've been in a tailspin .. i've got CSS working for us to ensure financial aid from my ex-husband for our daughter and they've already told me that they can't take our son into consideration since he's legally an adult  
obviously i'm going to have to compromise on the amount he needs to help out with so that i don't force our son out of college  
i've told her dad that its simply far too early to be discussing a compromise until we know what figure CSS comes up with  
i've gone and worried myself sick about this entire thing .. i even had to take a sick day friday and i've been in bed the entire weekend
i wish i could just relax and rely on things working out .. but i've had that mindset for 10 years and from where i've been sitting things weren't working out .. now its up to me to figure out whats right and fair  
its a burden that feels extremely heavy at the moment

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