I’m watching some folks I know go through things…situations that are, sadly, all too common. The blended family. It ain’t the Brady Bunch, believe me. It’s more like living through a Nightmare on Elm Street but it ends, I swear to you, eventually the pain, the anger, the frustration all end and if you’ve risen above, if you have placed your kids first? If you have choked back your ego when required and behaved like a role model adult? Not only will it end but your kids will have benefitted and will go on to live full and happy lives, secure in the knowedge that they were and are loved. We’ve been there and we’ve done that; battling 2 absentee bio parents, sometimes at once but in a very black way, we were lucky enough to have one of them suffering from drug addiction, so contact was sporadic – explosive but sporadic.
We were in and out of court, constantly. Fighting nonsensical “torts”, putting up with verbal abuse, threats of physical abuse. An example? One of a long, long string of boyfriends follows my husband home from work, threatens to shoot him and rape me, just an example that sprang to mind although there were other appalling incidents – some minor, like phone calls through the night but other times, there were threats, very credible threats.
There were legal bills that constituted some people’s annual salary – gross salary, not net, while the deadbeat bio parents flitted from one legal aid attorney to another.
There were a lot of things we would have loved to have given to our kids but between costs for lawyers, paying for psychologists (court appointed and for one of the bio parents!!!)and just general living; we never had enough money for even the smallest of luxuries. I remember buying Hot Wheel cars for Christmas one year, wrapping each one, individually, so it would seem like there were a whole bunch of gifts under the tree.
Not a red cent of support payments – not one red cent – EVER.
There were no “away” vacations and my husband worked 3 jobs just so we could survive. Was it tough? Lying awake in bed, crying, tough. Ulcer inducing frustration, tough. Believing that there was no light at the end of the tunnel, that the darkness just stretched on and on and on – a long series of courtroom corridors. Each battle uglier than the one previous. We did our best to shield the boys from the ugliest incidents – sometimes we failed but damn, if we didn’t try. We fought through that darkness – my husband and I – together. When one of us started to fall apart, the other would come along and keep the pieces together. We have battle scars but we’ve worked through them.
And that freaking tunnel??
It did have an end, and now, some 20+ years later? We can look back on it and we realize how much we learned – this could have broken us. It could have broken us as people – it could have broken us as a couple – it could have torn us to pieces if we had let it. There was no way – our children meant and mean, too much to us to allow anyone to sully that love.
One of the bio parents has died and the other is in oblivion somewhere, hopefully, forever. I am no saint. I hope that Karma visited these two, frequently.
I thank them none the less though, I thank them for teaching me how strong we were, my husband and I. How relentlessly we defended the safety and well being of those children through that strength. And now, as they are all out on their own, living their own lives as good human beings? We not only found the light at the end of the tunnel – we are basking in it.