Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Breeding Contempt

My ex-husband is an asshole. No, that's not entirely correct. He is a selfish asshole. For the first two years after we divorced, he had Lizzie three weekends per month. She was with me one weekend per month, which is not exactly the typical every-other-weekend parenting agreement, and it was hard because she was only three years old and so little. I wanted her with me all the time, but I knew that was unreasonable plus the stress of constant negotiation of the parenting agreement was beginning to take its toll on me.

Eventually, we did modify the parenting agreement but there are still quirks and sometimes Lizzie ends up spending more weekends with one of us. Recently, Lizzie was with me for five consecutive weekends because of our established parenting schedule, Mother's Day and Memorial Day (always my holiday - his is Labor Day).

Naturally, Lizzie's dad was missing her. Okay, I get it. But that doesn't mean he should force her to visit him when he knows she would rather attend a slumber birthday party for one of her best gal pals. It's one night he would have missed out on her being there with him. One night. But he refused to give in and let her go to the party. She was angry with him and there were tears but neither of us said anything to him because it doesn't matter. Whatever he wants for her is always right and any opinions to the contrary are unwelcome.

But, I think he should realize that she's reached an age where her friends are important to her. Of course, being aware of her feelings and willfully ignoring them are two separate things. What he doesn't seem to get is no matter how we feel about it, Lizzie is growing up, and it's our difficult job as her parents to let go. I know Lizzie is not always going to choose to be with us and that's ok. Her father doesn't feels the same way. He thinks she's still a little girl who is anxious to please him. As usual, he's wrong about her. She's a tween with friends and secrets and an agenda. I think when Lizzie's a bit older, say in about four years when she is 16, things will start to get really ugly between Lizzie and her father. But what can I say? It's his own damn fault.

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