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.

Requesting Prayers Please

I can never prepare myself enough for my monthly trip to Florida.  I haven’t shared this openly just yet, but I’m going through a divorce.  I live in Arkansas and my girls are in Florida with their dad and grandmother.  I fly to see them every month for about a week at a time.  It is by far the most emotionally trying thing I have ever experienced in my life, and I would not wish it upon anyone, ever.

About a week before I fly out I get stressed and a little depressed.  Knowing I have such a short period of time to spend with them I worry over what we will do each day.  I want to spend high quality time with them, so I stick to activities where we can talk, play and interact with each other.  I took them to see a movie once and decided it was a huge waste of quality time. That was the last time we saw a movie as an activity.

With the cancer scare just a week ago, getting paperwork prepared for my lawyer and getting ready for Bloggy Bootcamp Dallas, I didn’t have time or energy to be worried about what activities the girls and I would do.  I ended up planning the week on my plane trip out to Florida.

This trip was different.  They had a holiday day off school Monday, so I picked them up Sunday night.  Monday we bowled, swam, shopped a little and then ended the night at their favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.  The  thing that was different was having to take them home in the evening.  I usually have them an entire week without interruptions.  I did however get to keep my 3-year-old since she isn’t going to school yet.  She was thrilled to get to come back to the hotel with me.  She talked the entire ride back…I’ve never heard her talk SO much!

I’m lying here in the bed next to her, typing this post in the dark of the morning feeling really sad.  I miss having her warm little body next to me, so close that I can reach over to caress her hair or rub the warm skin on her arm.  I miss all three of them.  I have that happy/sad emotion going on in my heart and it sucks.  I’m grateful that in my line of work I can visit them each month, but being so far away is one of the hardest things a mother can experience.

My divorce mediation takes place later this week. I’m going to need lots of prayers on Thursday.  I need everyone to pray that we can reach some equitable and start moving toward a conclusion to this process. I’d hate for some judge, who doesn’t know or care about my girls, to make decisions on their lives.  I’m hoping the ex and I can agree on decisions that will affect their lives forever in positive ways.

Divorce is never easy, and this has been hard on everyone. Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers this week. We can use all the help we can get.