This has turned out to be one hell of a summer.
In both good and bad ways.
So I’m going to cut to the chase and get the bad out of the way, so I can end this post on a happier note and not leave all of you (my three or four readers who may see this) depressed.
Before the summer started, daughter Panda Bear’s marriage, which was already running on life support, suddenly imploded, with the force of a runaway nuclear chain reaction. The details of which are not bloggable, but I will say that something Very Bad happened, which precipitated an escape to auntie’s house and a divorce filing in 24hrs. Of course, being semi-estranged from her (mostly momma Yes Dear) meant that we heard about things third-hand. No worries, she’s safe and so are grandkids.
Sadly there was another innocent party involved, stuck in the middle. Grandson/nephew hybrid Mark.
His side of the family immediately swooped in and took him away, sequestered him, and proceeded to blame our daughter for everything that went wrong, and how victimized their son and grandson were for her scheming ways. Sadly they are very ignorant people caught up in their own denial, and they are also the kind of people who shun not only those who they perceive have wronged them, but everybody related to them and all their friends. With no chance for explanations or forgiveness. Not helping is the fact that our daughter did indeed have her part in the drama, though she is not to blame for the abrupt ending.
Unfortunately, she’s currently chosen to shack up with another loser. I know little about the person, other than I’m tired of the merry-go-round she keeps jumping on and if it smells like shit, it probably is shit. I tactfully told her that her new “beau” is going to have to earn my trust and respect, and left it at that.
And in the meantime, Mark is gone from our lives. It makes my heart ache just thinking about it, but there’s nothing any of us can do. I can only hope and pray that our paths cross again someday and he hasn’t been too brainwashed by his family.
Enough of that. Let’s move on to the ugly.
Daughter June Bug, last time we left her, had moved to Georgia with her boyfriend and two kids, to live near his dad and grandparents, on some property that they can live on rent-free. It hurt my heart to see them go, particularly my grandson Cam, but felt they were only acting in what was their best interests to a better life.
They now also live closer to Cam’s baby daddy and his family. The same ones we had to pry both her and him away from two years ago.
And she’s been letting them into his life.
I was not opposed to the baby daddy grandparents seeing him, but with the caution not to let them take him alone. And I’m opposed to the baby daddy being a part of his life until he demonstrates he can be a positive influence. Also Yes Dear & I have been after her for the past couple years to finish her custody case so she can be secure in her hold on Cam and any future visits by the baby daddy or family would be at her own discretion, protected by the law. All she needed was a not-unattainable sum of money to finish the mediation, which we would’ve gladly paid for without recompensation, but she refused to.
They’ve been working on her, apparently. Worming their way in and hitting her with guilt trips. Knowing her vulnerabilities, that she is weak and wishy-washy and unable to stand up for herself and set hard limits.
Also while in Georgia she felt the need to take care of some unfinished legal obligations once and for all, so they wouldn’t continue to follow her around. Something I was very supportive of, so long as she did so with proper legal representation.
To make a long story short, in all too typical June Bug fashion, she clusterfucked everything.
She turned herself into the county jail where her case originated, without any legal representation. She was hoping for a release after no more than 72 hours (which a lawyer may have arranged for her) but instead for her
stupidity troubles she’s in there for 45 days, at the whim of the probation officer assigned her case.
But the real face-palm moment is the fact that she allowed baby daddy family to take Cam to Florida before she went in. With no legal protections.
So in effect, she handed Cam back over to the very same people we worked so hard to help both of them get away from.
We saw this coming. We begged her not to trust these people. We begged her to at the very least get the legal stuff done, to get custody of Cam. The current boyfriend and his family begged her to do the same thing.
But apparently to no avail. The mass of brain cells in her head that radiate I’M STUPID has apparently taken over.
So Cam is down in Florida in the not-so-tender care of the people who doesn’t need to be in his life right now. They said they would bring him back, but when they found out that June Bug was locked up they balked at returning him to the boyfriends family until she got out, which doesn’t look like it’ll be until September. And I’m not holding any high hopes that they’ll give him back then. They once swore that if they ever got their hands on him again that they would not let her have him back, and now they are in excellent position to make good on their vow. The only way she’ll get him back is to get a lawyer and fight in Florida courts for custody, which will be an uphill battle. All the advantages she had out here within her grasp are gone for good. She has to start over like she never left.
Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe how Yes Dear and I feel. My rage at her boneheaded maneuvers is such that I can’t talk to her right now, for fear that I’ll unload on her to the point of permanently destroying the love we have for each other. I’m having to work on forgiving her, but I’ve decided that in the future that any help that I give her is going to be strictly conditional and on my terms only, and she will just have to relinquish control, because she seems to be incapable of making good decisions in hers and her kids’ best interest.
In the meantime, all we have is prayers for Cam. That the family he’s with won’t destroy the potential he has and turn him into a criminal CC of his baby daddy (virtually every family member has been either addicted to something or engaged in criminal behavior). That we will get the chance to be a positive influence in his life again.
This whole episode has made me reflect on how I once wondered if we weren’t too hasty in moving in on AJ and adopting him, if we should’ve allowed June Bug more of a chance to be a mother to him (or forced her).
I don’t wonder that anymore. I’m now convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we did exactly the right thing with AJ.
And I’m so thankful that we have him as a permanent part of our lives, with full legal rights to him and the decisions that are best for him, and not having to look over our shoulders for someone else who may lay claim to him. That he has a relatively stable household, he goes to bed and wakes up knowing who the central figures in his life are and that they are constant, that he feels secure knowing who his mommy and daddy are even if they didn’t get him in the “traditional” way. That we have the opportunity to raise him as a normal kid, with all the experiences that a normal kid should have.
He’s had a heck of a summer, BTW. We took an epic trip to California for two weeks earlier in the summer, and exposed him to all he could stand. From the desert to the ocean, from visiting a WWII-vintage battleship to the San Diego Zoo, from swimming in a longtime friend’s swimming pool with their dog, to experiencing the surreal foggy beauty of the heart of San Francisco in June.
We also got him involved in Cub Scouts before the summer. He’s gotten the opportunity to grow and make new friends, and experience hiking and camping. He’s worked on service projects with both the Cubs and our church. He’s slowly been overcoming his shyness and been more bold at trying new things and experiences. He has grown quite a bit this summer, both physically and emotionally, yet he still retains enough little boy in him that he enjoys his bedtime and morning snuggles and tickles. He is learning what it’s like to love and be loved outside his immediate family. He’s even gotten himself some positive attention from female peers lately (shhh!) And he’ll be turning seven in about another week.
That’s been the good. Which goes a long way towards dispelling the depressing stuff I wrote earlier.
And as for myself? Work still sucks, they’re threatening another layoff, which I may survive only to be forced to work ridiculous hours again due to being shorthanded. School is coming along just fine, I’m about a year and a half to completing my online program and getting a bachelor’s in accounting. When that comes I’m going to find a way to leverage it to get out of Arkansas and find someplace where I can make a living that doesn’t involve me standing on a production floor all night long. After that, who knows?
Keep positive, people. Grab the joy in life wherever you may find it and whenever it may come to you. Because it’s all we got to counter the bad things. Milk it for all it’s worth.