Come Get Your Kids

“Come get your kids” is a phrase that anybody who has spent any amount of time with me has heard. It’s my mantra concerning the Fan4 regarding visitation with their dad. Soon after he and I divorced, I adopted this expression, I live by it and I whole heartedly mean what I say. Come get them, please. 

I love my children with all of me. They receive more of my time, energy, effort and money than anything else in my life including me. But that’s nothing new. We, as mothers, tend to sacrifice everything for our children and we have a sense of ownership when it comes to them. We put ourselves in a position of dictatorship and determine we have absolute control regarding the children. After all “mother knows best” right? 

For some mothers “best” is never seeing their fathers. Oh they have a litany of reasons and excuses. When they begin sharing their list they sound very convincing. The father of their children is a terrible person and should never have access to the children. That’s right! Keep your children safe and sound from the monster who broke your heart, left you for another woman, doesn’t dress the correctly, never combs your daughter’s hair just right, wants to bring that woman around, lives with his mother, lives in a neighborhood you don’t approve of, doesn’t pay child support, refuses to get back with you, doesn’t consistently show up for visitation, has other children, is a terrible cook, has them sleeping on the floor, only has a one bedroom apartment, refuses to buy organic, gives them sugary sweets… You get my point. It doesn’t take much for the tzarina to pull the plug on visitation. 

If the guy actually has any knowledge of his rights and refuses to bow down to her then she adjusts her tactic and becomes combative. When he shows up she’s gone because she forgot he was coming over. She refuses to open the door. She complains about everything he does or doesn’t do. She tells him he can only have his visitation  with the children at her house for a limited amount of time. She teaches the children to fear and or distrust their father. She encourages them to disrespect him. Her intent is to sabotage the relationship between father and child. After all, she is constantly making sacrifices on the alter of motherhood and everyone must bow down to acknowledge her supremacy, control and fear. Yes, fear is one of the driving factors, a broken heart / rejection is  another. He was the reason their family is no longer in tact. It’s always his fault. 

I was talking to the mother of a male toddler not long ago when she went through her well rehearsed list of why her son would not be allowed to spend time with his father. One of the many reasons  she listed was he’s incompetent and doesn’t know how to be a father. So I asked her, why did you marry and create a baby with a man like him? I informed her, from my perspective, marrying him was a reflection of her character and decision making ability. 

Can I be honest? I mean really honest? I don’t believe that a woman has the ability to be mother and father. I refuse to say Happy Father’s Day to any woman. It doesn’t matter if she’s  widowed, divorced or never married she cannot be a father to her child(ren). There is a different dynamic and perspective that men bring to the relationship. Women don’t have the ability to duplicate a male’s thoughts or actions. I try to temper my offense when people wish me Happy Father’s Day. I’m not a man. On my very best day and his very worst day, my ex is still more of man than I’ll ever be. 

I’ve heard people say they didn’t have the same set of circumstances as I do with my ex. I work hard at this, very hard. I make sacrifices. I negotiate. I keep my opinions to myself at times. I ask him for his input. We make some decisions together. When it comes to extracurricular activities, we have a conversation about them because it requires both of us to commit to games, practices, camps, tryouts etc. 

Am I able to do life with the Fan4 without their father? Heck yes! Do I want to? No! I like having time to myself. I’m not sure I would have began a master’s program. Juggling four children is a lot of work. Knowing that they would go to their father’s house every 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend from Thursday until Monday gave me the time I needed to study and complete projects. Having them gone gives me time with friends. I can’t tell you how many things I do when they’re gone. I would have missed out on a lot of events I attend out of state because I would not have been able to fly all of us and I refuse to drive more than 9 hours with them. See how I made visitation about me? Come get your kids!! Free childcare!! Yes, sign me up. Do they always want to go? No. Do I care? No. He’s providing their basic necessities in the form of food, clothing and shelter. Do I cringe when I see them with uncombed hair, in dress clothes that are wrinkled, wearing clothes that are too little and with ashy knees and elbows? Yes! On my gosh yes. But I get over it each time. 

The Fan4 come back home today after spending two weeks with their dad. I have come to appreciate and even look forward to summer visitation. They are gone for a total of 30 days. I know some of you just choked on the air you’re breathing. I’ve loved every minute of the time they were gone. I haven’t cooked more than four meals, my grocery bill was nonexistent and I didn’t have to wonder about them. I know they are safe with their father. 

When you change your mindset you change your actions. When you change your actions you change your outcome. A change in your outcome is a change in your child’s present and future. 

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The land of What If

It’s built like the kingdoms of old. Fortified by high walls, guards, a real moat with dangerous looking fish that have sharp teeth and are always looking for a nibble. When you enter its gates it is understandable if you are overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. There is one way in and one way out. Maybe. Creative exits and entries are allowed and encouraged. That’s how the town got its name, What If. 

Like most settlements you have the naysayers and the yaysayers and then there are those who quite honestly don’t care. It’s the people who make the town what it is. What is it exactly? I’m getting to that. As the narrator it’s my job to weave a tale of mystery and intrigue. There I went and added more pressure to myself. What if you don’t agree that I’m intriguing or what if you decide that I’m only slightly interesting. 

Where was I? Ahhh yes! The town. Some of the town is rather bland and unassuming while other parts are colorful and bold. There are no rules or associations setup for neighborhood dictatation it’s merely your imagination that opens or close the door to your mind’s elaboration. The bland and the bold intermingle throughout. There is no set pattern, nor rhyme or reason just whatever was pleasing to the purchaser and dweller. They decide quite naturally depending on their reasons. What if I’m not accepted or what if I stand out? What if I have to repaint? What if I get to recreate something magical? It’s your outlook and perception that act as your interjection. 

Do the dwellings reflect the owners garbs and gowns? Not necessarily. After all, one could live in a home without color but choose to dress like a beautiful rainbow and accessorizing  with things that shine or sparkle. There is no rhyme or reason it depends on what they consider pleasing. 

What if  you take a moment to walk about town take time to breathe in the aromas of the markets’ fresh wares? Fruits, vegetables, fresh seafood and meats. Boiling soups and desserts freshly baked will flirt with your senses and draw you in like the sirens. Feel the texture of the clothes and become awed by their colors. Or you can walk past the market with a swift foot not indulging in the sights or sounds. What if you have an important meeting or want to go home after a long day of working?

What if you get to decide how to live? What if you get to decide what to fear? What if your glass is half empty and another’s half full and yet others celebrate with the chance to add ice or rum to theirs? What if you what if yourself into a tizzy? What if you have so many brilliant thoughts and ideas that make your brain dizzy? What if indeed the never ending tale. It’s been around for centuries and will continue until the end of ages. 
We had a rough Mother’s Day of 2015. We spent time off and on all day in our closet due to tornado warnings. When I put Little Dude (9 year old and #3 of 4) to bed he said he was scared. “What if a tornado comes while I’m asleep?” My response was, “I don’t live in the land of what ifs unless it’s full of positive thoughts.” We then began to what if some hopeful and silly things. He slept peacefully with his mind full of cheer and not fear. 

As my honeygirl contemplates divorce

One day, not too long ago, my honeygirl asked a question. She asked, “if God knows everything then why did he allow you to get married knowing you would get a divorce?”
What would you say to that? How would you answer that question for a ten year old?
I answered her but I wonder what you would say.

Walking On the Wild Side

We just returned from a fabulous week-long trip to Virginia. If you ever want to walk on the wild side, travel with four children. This was our third trip to Virginia in two years. Within those two years, we spent time in Washington DC, Maryland New York and Pennsylvania. The fantastic4 and their marvelous mom are making our way across the USA.

Head ’em up and move ’em out!

The Fantastic4

These are my babies. The infamous fantastic4. From left to right lil dude from upstairs (7), teenager (13), studmuffin (5 **but will turn 6 in 10 days) and honeygirl (10). They keep me laughing, praying and self-reflecting. Most days, I wouldn’t trade them for Toyota Sequoia, Limited Edition in dark blue. They, however, will trade each other for a shiny object or a cookie. I love me some them.

The patriotic studmuffin

Last night, the fantastic4 were surveying their spoils. I’m one of those mother’s who doesn’t allow her children to indulge in a lot of sweets, especially late at night. They asked if they could take candy to school with them today. I said yes, one piece each. They dug through and discussed the various types of candy. My youngest, the stud muffin, saw the Tootsie Roll pictured above and got really excited. I mean really excited. You see, we have always talked about America and of course the great state of Texas. He could recognize the flags before but once he started kindergarten this year, things changed for him. He started to become patriotic. The class has been learning all about the constitution, the founding fathers and the flags. He even had the opportunity to hold the flag one morning during assembly and was very proud. Back to my story, when he saw this piece of candy, he knew this was the one. He had to take this one to school to show it to his teacher and all of his friends. This one has the American flag on it! I can still hear his voice and see the look of excitement on  his face. Yes, he loves the flag so much he sacrificed having a better piece of candy. If that isnt’ patriotic for a five-year old, I don’t know what is.