Making Hard Decisions

Life is full of hard decisions.  As we get older they get progressively harder because more people join our lives and are affected by those decisions.  As a mother of 3 beautiful girls I recently had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life…at least I hope.

I flew back to Florida last week for my monthly trip to see the girls.  During this trip, I was also going into mediation with my soon-to-be ex-husband.  We had been together for 8 years when I knew for sure that it was completely over.

During those 8 years, we had had some ups and downs throughout the marriage. I wanted to leave several times before now, but I tried each and every time to work through it — even if it meant pushing my hurtful feelings aside and dealing with the unhappiness.

The state of Florida orders all divorcing couples to go through mediation to see if they can resolve custody and support issues without going before a judge. Prior to mediation day, I had planned meetings with the girls’ teachers to let them know what was going on and to form a relationship with them.  The teacher meetings went better than I expected and I left each meeting feeling conflicted in  my plan  for the girls.

I had arrived in Florida intending to fight for full custody of the girls.  After seeing the girls’ teachers and seeing the girls themselves happy to see me, but happier to go back home and to school each day, my plan changed.

They make straight A’s, and their teachers didn’t even know their parents were going through a divorce because the girls are so happy in class. They were both student of the week  within the first  few weeks of school.  I decided I couldn’t break their hearts or their father’s heart by taking them from their home on Florida.

I went in knowing exactly what I wanted and that I would leave if I had to change anything.  I wanted shared custody.  I wanted to make shared decisions with their dad on health, religious and school issues.  I wanted half of  Christmas break. I wanted 8 weeks in the summer.  I wanted every other Spring Break and  every other Thanksgiving.  I wanted a four day weekend every month and I wanted Mother’s Day.  If I didn’t get all of that, which is an amount of time sharing I could live with, I would leave and fight for full custody.

Mediation took 10 hours. All we resolved were the custody and visitation questions, but those are really the most important ones.

Next up…financials.  And, I won’t be sharing those details.

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