Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Saga Continues

Brace yourselves for the ride, folks. There are lots of twists and turns up ahead.

When I picked up the girls on Christmas day, they wanted to know when I would bring them back. I wasn't sure how to answer that because I was hoping that they would decide to stay. Lindsey demanded that I take them back on the 1st, and I reminded her that we had agreed to seek the Lord's will and do what He leads us to do. Sarah remained silent.

Everything that took place from that moment on gave me every indication that I would have to stand firm on my convictions, yet I wavered. As the year drew to a close, the pressure was mounting, and I was stalling for time.

Meanwhile, back on the roller coaster...

For reasons I ain't saying, I called the girls' dad to inform him that he needed to have a talk with the 19-yr-old boyfriend of our 16-yr-old daughter. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that even if you aren't a parent, you were once a teenager, and you may have already drawn your own conclusion about what prompted me to make that call. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon. Nonetheless, I had to draw mister man a picture. He admitted that he'd had misgivings about allowing her to date him, but he also said that he had warned them about what would happen if they ever got caught in the act. Then he gave the boy permission to come to the house when he wasn't home. Does anyone else see a parenting award in his future? Maybe he's holding out for a grand-parenting award. Oh wait. Is there an ostrich award?

Later that same evening, he called Lindsey, and I could hear him screaming at her, but it wasn't about the boyfriend. It seems he had just seen the phone bill. I was slightly amused at first, since it wasn't the first time she had exceeded her minutes. Last time, it wasn't all that big a deal since I was paying the bill. Now that it's his bill, it's not just a big deal, it's an ordeal. So much so, in fact, that he asked her if she wanted him to blow his brains out. She hung up on him, and Sarah said "If he kills himself, it'll be your fault." Oh my word.

He called back to continue the tirade, and she handed me the phone. I asked him what he'd have done if Lindsey had said yes. I told him that he needs to stop the emotional manipulation, aka ABUSE, because now Sarah is worried that he would actually carry out his threat. He then called Sarah to reassure her that he wouldn't do anything drastic and apologized for upsetting her.

And here's what baffles me: They still want to go back. Lindsey is willing to endure all manner of degradation just to see her boyfriend. Her dad told her it's fine if she doesn't come back, and he doesn't care if her mother beats her (she doesn't, though it is tempting). Ain't love grand? Sarah doesn't realize the effects of witnessing that kind of behavior. She's learning to make excuses, to blame the victim, to bury her head in the sand and pretend that all is well.

Here's where the boyfriend redeems himself. Lindsey told him about her dad's threats to throw him jail or kill him if he came anywhere near her. He encouraged her to stay here. It appears that self-preservation may have been his motive, initially, but his concern for her well-being was very much a contributing factor. He reminded her that the braces on her teeth would not adjust themselves and that she needs to stay where she knows she'll be taken care of. He even said he would move here if he had to. She began asking me if he could stay with us until he saves up some money to get his own place. (Yes, dear, I did fall off the turnip truck just yesterday. Why do you ask?) Boy howdy.
Oh. He also apologized to me, declared his love for her, and said that he would respect the boundaries I set for her. No, he isn't moving here, but I've got no problem with allowing him to see her as long as he understands that there will be constant supervision.

At this point, Sarah still hadn't spoken up about not wanting to stay. I understood her to say that she was thinking about staying. Then their dad called me and assured me that the girls would hate me for the rest of their lives if I made them stay here, and that they would never ever want to see me again.

Here's where we all throw our hands up and scream.

This ride ain't over yet.

18 comments:

BooMama said...

I read this whole post without exhaling.

No kidding.

HAVE MERCY.

Barb said...

You really know how to pick a roller coaster, Brenda. I'm with Boo Mama. I can barely breathe.

I don't know how you can stand this. Your ex is so unbelievably clueless it's frightening. My word, having children is supposed to make you grow up. And he still throws tantrums.

I have to say one thing though. In spite of what you're actually relating here, you have such a way of saying it that I can't help giggle. I know this isn't funny, but honestly, I love it when your wry sense of humor pokes through even things like this.

So first I'll cry a little, then I'll laugh a little and then I'll pray. Hard.

Diane said...

Mercy, girl, I think I got whiplash on this ride! Good gravy, you've got a lot on your plate. (No pun intended...seriously.)

So now you parent as best you can amidst all the uncertainty. Bless your heart and gizzard, I'll be praying. Wish there was something more I could do, my friend.

Lyndy said...

Brenda,

Sweet mercy...thank goodness you can still have a sense of humor through all of this. I think we can all see why ex is...well, the ex.

Waiting for the next installment.

Praying for you too.

Connie said...

Almost makes me glad my ex is in prison - I wont have to deal with such a mess :P I'll be praying for you and your girls Brenda.

Yellow Mama said...

Wow...do you have a score card when you are dealing with this?

I too would have a cow with a 16 year old daughter...which I have...

Mommy Dearest said...

Honey, you hang tough. You've got a good head on your shoulders and know more than the kids, even though of course they know it all, don't they?

I think your girls need you much more than they realize, with their father and the boyfriend in the picture. I'm glad you've got your bloggy buddies for support!

Laurel Wreath said...

OH my goodness girl, I am so glad you have God on your side because he is so much bigger than all this. This roller coaster is up and down.

I pray they do stay with you. Praying you through this roller coaster.

Blessings.

Kelli said...

Bren- hang tough! We are all praying with you girl. You stand you holy ground. And I'm callin you. I am!!

Dawn said...

Well, it's been a long time since we chatted! Roller coaster ride is for sure! But you are so funny! I love your wry humor. And I haven't heard Boy Howdy for awhile - must be an Arkansas term, because I do say it once in awhile after all these years.

Hang in there, Mom!! By the fingernails if necessary! Come on over and read the ride Kristen and I went on battling anorexia.

PEZmama said...

Brenda,
There are often times when words escape me. This is one of them.

I am praying for your family.

L

Grafted Branch said...

Oh for cryin' out loud! Oh FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD!

Hold tight, Brenda, hold tight -- to Jesus, if not the girls.

Tammy and Parker said...

Wow. All I can think of is to say Wow.

We are praying for you and your girls. Your ex is totally on his own.

Robin said...

What to say?!
I had words of encouragment until I read the last comment. I just can't get past that. I'm not sure what Tammy meant. It most definately sounds like the ex is the ex for a good reason AND it sounds like your girls would be more than better off with you, in spite of themselves.
If that is what the last comment meant about your ex being on his own than I agree. However she made the comment in direct relation to her comment about praying for you and the girls. Understand that I realize I've never been in this situation but it sounds to me like ALL of us need to include Mr. Ex in some very serious heartfelt prayers and not for vengence!
I will pray for the whole family.

Brenda, I do enjoy your humor. YOu write very well. I know the more stressed out my son gets the funnier he is. Hang tight.

Dawn said...

Anxiously awaiting the next installment!

Anonymous said...

Brenda,

I'm dizzy! This is some rollercoaster ride you are on--thanks for letting us share a bit of the ride with you.

As the mother of older children, I often look back on the struggles endured without immediate results. I can only say--that the effort you are expending may not have immediate and satisfactory results....but you are most definitely putting fuel to fire relating to their future. By that I mean, they will, one day look back at your steadfast involvement and see more clearly than their teen-aged eyes allow right now. We lived by the standard--"I am your parent--not your friend..." and believe me, one of our older children rebelled at every turn. He is 24 now and has begun to understand what our intentions were. That's not to say that he completely buys into our values and our standards...but he has been teased into curiosity by our faithfulness in his life. You are doing the right thing Brenda--and no matter what our societal value is regarding hard work...it is worth the effort.

WOW! Still reeling from the ride...maybe it's cause I was holding my breath while reading! Can't imagine how you feel....but want you to know, I care how you feel!

I join the ranks who will be praying for you, your children, and for God to open your ex's eyes and heart.

Blessings,
For some reason I can't comment as blogger so will opt for Other.
Diane
www.prayingforaprodigal.blogspot.com

Melanie said...

With all of this, you still seem amazingly calm. How on earth do you do it?

It all goes back to blood being thicker than water and how we don't want to give up on our parents, or admit that they can hurt us. We want to feel like they can't make mistakes.

Unless the parent is mom and we are the daughter. Why is that?

I really hope it works out that they will accept the need to stay with you. And still maintain some sort of connection to Dad. Very hard.

Hang in there, Brenda!

Robin said...

You know, I was just a typing and doling out my .02$ worth of arm chair advise and the computer froze up on me! :) So... I think I'll just stick with I'm praying for you guys! I so sincerly hope that MR. Ex releases his emotional maniplative hold on your girls and allows you to keep them with you! I also pray that it is done in such a way where the girls do not in any way feel like they are having to choose between the 2 of you.
I really liked Diane's words of encouragment to you; I needed to hear them as well.