I have spent the last few months especially burdened for my kids and all of the things they are struggling through with their dad. I have wanted to do the best for them but my judgement about what that would be exactly had been clouded by my fear. I have been afraid to cross him, to make him angry - or angrier than he already was. I have worried that if I made him mad he would fight me in court. I dread the idea of having some random judge decide the fate of my children. I don't have any faith in the system because I've seen it go very wrong before. I also worry about the cost of that process on an already strained financial situation.
Finally though I realized that I had to act on my conviction. If I'm not willing to do what's best for them regardless of my fears, then who will? So I went with my gut. My decision to no longer allow the kids overnights or one on one visits with their dad was a tough one, but it has been reinforced in many ways. The kids counselor was absolutely in favor of it. The kids are clearly relieved. They have been overheard reassuring each other that they don't have to be afraid of dad now because they don't have to be alone with him anymore so he can't "hurt" them. The fact that they didn't know a grown up was hearing these conversations further reinforces my decision.
It had been two weeks since they had seen him but since I still don't have a monitor in place, in spite of a sincere effort to find one, I offered to meet him for a visit at a park. When I told the kids we were going to see their dad, Isaiah was apathetic, the younger two seemed to think of it as any other outing, but Ella said she was scared to go. She said she was afraid dad was going to be mad that they haven't seen him. She was afraid he was going to yell at them, or at me. I reassured her that if he yelled at me I could handle it, and if he yelled at them I would be there for her.
The visit went as smoothly as it could have. My parents, his mom and sister were all there too. He looked wrecked. He eluded in a recent phone conversation to bad news of some sort. He had said that he would be giving me more information soon. Still nothing on that front, and when asked he said he might be able to tell me more next week. I'm trying not to read too much into it though because it could be anything from actual bad news to some sort of sick manipulation or anywhere in between. He did say he was loosing it. He said he was going crazy and that the fact that he couldn't see the kids was making it worse. I reminded him that his being unstable wasn't good for them, nor is it fair for him to look to them for his stability. I told him, as I have many times before, that I wasn't trying to be mean, that this decision wasn't made lightly and was not intended to be hurtful to him, although I'm sure it ends up being so anyway.
After the visit with Drew we headed to San Gabriel and had lunch with my grandpa for his birthday. Then the kids and I headed home. We made a quick stop at Target for a few things I needed and I picked up some things for Brian's trip as he was packing at the last minute and needed a few things from the store. My cousin was supposed to be arriving at 3:30 p.m. Well, she forgot that Arizona time is not the same as ours so she arrived at 2:30 and I wasn't home yet. I got home a few minutes later, we started getting ready to go out to a big family get together. Brian came by to pick up a few things, I said goodbye to him. Then my parents arrived and got ready. Grandma Sue came right as I finished getting ready. She took the kids to church and to Carl's Jr. for dinner. The rest of us left to go to Alhambra for the family event. I got home after 11 p.m.
I didn't calculate the mileage, but I drove/rode from Rialto almost all the way to L.A. and back twice yesterday. I'm exhausted today!