Chapter 33, loren
“Strong women don’t play victim, don’t make themselves look pitiful, and don’t point fingers. They stand and they deal.”
I was certain I had hit my cap when it came to the amount of bullets I was able to withstand from my co-parent. My simple mind could not fathom that there would possibly be anymore ammo they could shoot my way. Ah, but how wrong I was.
I began to realize that these hits towards me were meant for one reason, and one reason only: to break me. They were trying to break me down so that I would run from my children and MY motherhood. The day I realized this plan of attack, was the day I discovered the purpose of the stubborn will I had been born with.
Seeing a friend of nearly 8 years walk into court to testify against me was more than just a knife in my back. It was vinegar poured onto a knife wound that had already been stabbed several times. I never questioned why she turned against me, mostly for one reason: her character spoke for itself and so did mine. I knew anything out of her mouth was nothing short of fiction. I could not dwell on her betrayal for long, after all, what goes around comes around. In this case, karma took over and several months later I was witness to her demise.
Unlike her, I never spoke a word of the secrets I knew about her…because my loyalty runs deep, no matter how “wronged” I was. Like most weeks, I received news or updates from my attorney quite frequently. Each week brought a new story, trial, or accusation. Only this time, one of the Seven Deadly Sins was debuting and was ready to smother me beyond repair.
A trial had been set for Child Support. That’s right, I was being asked to pay my ex-husband child support for the fact that he had sole custody of our sons. The injustice and irony were not lost on me, and my blood boiled over at the thought. At that time, I was making a mere $1000 a month, not enough to feed a rat. I had contacted a bankruptcy attorney because I knew the hole I was in was impossible to crawl out of.
Now, this! Again, I prepared myself for my judgement day. Dressed in my best clothes, I had my new beaux by my side. Down the hall I seen two figures dressed in all black. It was John and April. As they walked by me, John reached down pinching the perky behind of the woman that was now his wife.
A tinge of red glazed over my eyes at his blatant gesture in front of me. I could feel his energy, full of glee, at the chance to see me squirm on the stand one more time. That day, he got a front row seat to my execution. As I sat on the stand, unsure what I would be asked to pay, his attorney stood up to declare her winning number - $750 per month.
My heart sank to my stomach.
“How am I going to pay $750 in child support when I only make $1000? I don’t want to be a part-time mom! I’m begging to have my children back!” There were a billion more questions whirling around my brain at that moment, but many of them involved highly inappropriate language.
I’ve always had a rebellious streak, and that court hearing nearly brought it all out in full force. If ever I was going to break the law and show out in a courtroom, that was the opportune moment. My out-of-body experience consisted of me lunging across the table and shouting in the middle of the courtroom, “Give me back my babies! Stop listening to the lies and start listening to me!”
The thought of metal cuffs might typically intrigue me, but in that instance, I restrained myself with every fiber of my being. I resisted the urge to just say, “screw it all” and take my chances at a life in an orange jumpsuit.
After both our attorneys gave their closing arguments, an entire courtroom full of strangers sat in silence as the judge had his turn at us.
If you have never seen two grown adults get put in their place, then I highly recommend taking a visit to your local courthouse and sitting in on a custody case. We were shredded to pieces like two 16-year-olds that were just caught coming home drunk after curfew.
My judgement: pay $228 dollars to my ex-husband.
The light bulb of pettiness lit up brighter than the Texas sky at dawn!
I dug deep down into my memory bank, recalling the first time my ex-husband and I met up for a rendezvous - pre-marriage and kids. Our infamous hotel room meet-up occurred in room 220, a number we always remembered and joked about for years to follow. Only this time, no laughs were shared.
I decided to make my first child support payment out into two parts- $220 and then a separate payment of $8. I knew John’s skin would crawl, but heck, I was given a gem of an amount and I was not going to let the punning opportunity pass me by!
In addition to my financial embarrassment, John’s attorney now suggested that I communicate with my sons via a cell phone his father was to purchase. This new fad was short lived, after my attempt to communicate with them through said phone several times, went unanswered.
“What was the intention behind all of this?”, I pondered.
This attorney continued to come up with, in my mind, any outlandish request she could think of in order to provoke my incompetence or lack of character as a mother. Instead of supporting motherhood, she seemed to have only one intention: demolish my motherhood. I often wondered how this woman slept at night, as a mother herself.
I say this because I often try to put myself in another’s shoes before making an opinion of my own. Then again, you know what they say about assumptions? Everyone has one. So, I suppose the opinions aimed in my direction, were something I was just going to have to continue to prove wrong.
Time and time again…
On the flip side of my life, apart from combating ridiculous court requests and my continuing fight for custody of my sons, my relationship with my new love was growing more and more intense. So much so, that when April reached out to us to meet up with her and John for a battle of the brains, I eagerly accepted. After all, I had a battle buddy now and he was not going to allow them to intimidate me…at least not in person.
If I’m being truly honest, I also knew he would not allow me to lunge over the table and attack my opposing enemy, as I so often wanted to. If he needed to man handle me and carry me out kicking and screaming, he made it well known that he would.
Our double date was scheduled, and once again I had another try at facing my enemies with trust and high expectations.
But…where there is smoke, there is fire.