DSS initiated a great talk last night, with DH.
DSS brought up
what I've been assuming: Since coming home from his summer visit with his Mom (who visited over Labor Day weekend, incidentally), she really
pushes this idea that they are both secretly counting down to the day he turns 14 and (she expects) he will tell a judge he wants to go back to live with her, in CA. She also expects that will quash any other considerations in the case. Surely some things about CA are
attractive to DSS, even if he doesn't feel comfortable telling us
that. But last night he got teary-eyed, telling his Dad all the things he loves here
, too (including his new school!
). But he can't bring himself to say that to his Mom, since she seems so certain
that all he cares about
is being with her and that leaving us wouldn't bother him in the slightest. He doesn't want to disappoint, or hurt, or upset her. DH thinks he's also afraid of making her angry
. She does tend to completely cut ties with people who make her angry. Surely, heronly child
is the exception to that rule! But maybe he does
worry that she'd stop loving him, if he didn't tell her what she wants to hear.
Anyway, he also said that this summer, his Mom started telling him DH "is trying to completely cut her out
of his (DSS's) life". It's such a relief that DSS said
that, and gave DH a chance to respond to it! DH explained everything he does, to make sure she knows about activities at DSS's school and his sports schedules - way in advance - so she can arrange visits around them. And he pointed out that whenever she visits, he agrees for DSS to spend nearly every moment with his Mom, even though the court has said it would be OK if he had DSS sleep at home every school night.
have wondered, "So, why
doesn't she visit more, or participate in anything?" But he didn't ask that. My
answer? #1- When she had custody, she was so stuck on this idea that she and DH could not share in ANYthing in DSS's life. Even though DH's willing to share, she refuses to get out of that rut. If she can't have an area of DSS's life all to herself, she won't get involved at all. #2- She hopes to make DSS feel dissatisfied with his life here, by refusing to participate in it. She'd like to convince him the ONLY way he gets to have her be a significant part of his life is to reject his Dad and return to her. She's manipulating him! But, of course, how would I really
say all that to DSS? Maybe he already knows it and that's why he didn't give his Dad the opportunity to say something like that out loud
DH told DSS that even if he does
decide he wants to move back to CA:
* The decision is still the judge's
, not DSS's. The judge is required to consider a list of other
factors, too; and
* DH will not
just back down and agree to let him leave!
DSS has always insisted he didn't want to be forced to choose between his parents, "I just want the judge to decide!" I always thought that was remarkably mature and sane, for a 5- to 8-year-old! But he probably didn't know why
his Dad fought for custody, and just assumed he was a possession
that both parents wanted to "win".
Last night DH explained - without going into detail - that he feels very strongly
that living with him is best for DSS
, for a number of reasons. So until DSS is ready to leave for college, DH will continue to do everything in his power to make sure DSS lives with him, even if DSS doesn't agree or it makes him angry.
Then he said, while he understands DSS wanting to say whatever will please his Mom, if she believes
he's miserable here and she expects him to fight
to return to CA for high school, it may influence her choices. She changes jobs at least once a year. So she could at least consider
moving back here. But if she feels sure
DSS will be back in CA by 9th grade, she might think it's better to stay out there and wait for him. Then, if the judge says DSS should stay here for HS, she may wish she had gone ahead and moved back. Again, it's not DSS's
decision. But telling her the truth (that he likes things about both
places and it's not certain
he'll move back) might be the kindest thing for him to do for his mother, in the long run, even if it's not what she wants to hear, right now
DH and I hadn't discussed that concept, so I was surprised when he said that to DSS, but I'm glad he did and I think he handled it well.
What I also
wish someone would explain to DSS - but there's no way to do it without attacking his Mom (and maybe he already knows it)... is that there was/is no cruelty
in his Dad fighting for custody, or wanting to keep it. DH never wanted
DSS's Mom to move away. When DSS came back here, DH never wanted her to stay
away. He just wanted to stay involved in DSS's life and DSS's Mom decided he could not do that
, while she had custody. On the other hand, what DSS's Mom did while she had custody - and what she's expecting of DSS now
cruel. We all see how loving, affectionate, playful and wonderful DH is with our 2-year-old son and how the baby adores him and loves to be around him. Surely, it was the same with DSS. But when the relationship between DH and DSS's Mom ended, she decided DH and DSS
needed to break up, too - and she fought tooth and nail to make that happen. Even now
that she's spent almost 3 years learning how miserable it is to live across the country from your kid; and she believes DSS is ALSO miserable, being away from her - she is not telling him
, "I'll ease your
pain and stop making you live thousands of miles from one of your parents,". Instead, she wants DSS to ease HER pain
, by pointedly choosing between his parents (which he's begged since kindergarten not to be made to do!!!!)
; ONCE AGAIN moving away from his Dad (and ALSO his brothers, his friends and his school); and never burdening her with the fact that this would make him sad, or that he'd MISS anyone here, the way he currently misses her!!!
Ack, I feel SO ANGRY toward her, about this! And I know it's far from the first time I've said it. But it's feels good to get it out, when I'm thinking about it again.
If anyone has made it to the end of this post, we can't seem to decide on a new counselor for him. Any advice about just taking him back to the custodial evaluator, for some counseling? Are there advantages or disadvantages to that, in anyone's experience?