Single Parenting ... how are you getting on through the school holidays?
I have just waved my eleven year old boy goodbye for the school holidays, as it is his dad's 'turn' to have him, as per our court ordered parenting agreement.
I cried a bit at first, prayed a lot for his well-being and protection from harm, and am now sitting on the couch with a comforting cup of tea and a chunk of organic chocolate from the fruit market down the street.
At the advice of many who have done this for longer than i have, i have many small and middle-sized events planned for the next fortnight, and am also grateful to have quite a bit of work on my agenda to occupy my often overactive brain.
I'm trying to focus on the fun he will no doubt have with his father, camping and surfing and all the kinds of things i generally don't do with him. I know they have fun, and generally get along well together and i know that my ex would never harm him. But i'm afraid that therein lies the rub.........
You see, last Christmas holidays on the very afternoon he was scheduled to bring him home after a camping trip, his father turned up here alone. He stood over me and told me that he had taken primary custody of our son, had enrolled him in a new school (up north where he lived, an hour away from us), and that there was nothing i could do about it. There was no lead-up to this in anyway, and no reason given other than his deciding that he could do a more competent job of parenting. (Based on nothing of note whatsoever).
I know that he fully expected that i would fall in a heap and not know what to do next, but in this way, as in so many others, he doesn't know me at all.
With the help of my wonderful family lawyer, (there are many wonderful ones to pick from if you ever, (hopefully never) need one), and a family court mediator who intervened immediately, i had my child home with me within 72 hours.
Whilst i cannot be more grateful for this miraculous conclusion, and for the ensuing parenting plan that was put in place and duly followed all year, it is always now in the back of my mind that i can't really trust this man in the way i need to ever again. I would not have believed he would ever take the misplaced and ill thought-out action that he took, and so now find myself quite unsure of the workings of his mind, ( to be fair though, i had honestly pondered this on many occasions preceding the incident).
It just so happens that there are two little boys from the exact same area as my ex-husband, who the police are currently searching for, believing them to have been abducted by their father, and i pray hard for their safe return.
Some of the comments i have seen on social media just break my heart, clueless people so quick to suggest that this mother can only have brought this situation on herself by denying their dad fair access to his children. I do not know the circumstances of this family at all, as i am certain nobody else possibly could either, and it stuns and amazes me at how quickly others are prepared to make a snap judgement at such a gut-wrenching time.
I tell anyone who will listen the importance of having a legally binding parenting plan in place as soon as possible after a separation, as it is a clear starting point if ever the worst happens. Legal-aid will supply a family-court mediator free of charge at your request. They do a great job and are very intent on providing the assistance you need.
And keep busy in the times you are without your children. It is very counter-productive to dwell on imagined scenarios and outcomes. Catch up with friends, go to the movies, have a massage, read a great book and watch all the dvds you've wanted to see for the last 12 months. (I stocked up last week on the Thursday special $1 weeklies and I've been a little bit excited at getting through them!)
Talk a lot to your Angels, as they are always listening and can assist in amazing ways if you let them.
Be kind to yourself and get a good night's sleep. Oh, and make sure there's plenty of chocolate!
Guest Blogger: Tamsin Wolfe. Xx