Tag Archive for family

Life Changes on a Dime

It was before 6am last Thursday when my mobile phone sounded with a text. I couldn’t imagine who was texting me that early so I asked my husband what it said. He said, “SS wants you to call her as soon as you get up.”

SS is my best friend. We’ve been there for each other for almost 30 years. I’m talking high school, college, weddings, births, divorces. You name it, we’ve been through it. Recently, she and her husband of 18 years went through a divorce. She, the kids, and her ex were all still in that first transition phase post-divorce when the police chaplain showed up at her gate Thursday morning.

When you get a text that says to call as soon as you get up, you get up. I went into the living room and called her. No answer. I left a voice mail and sent a text to call me back when she could. She called back immediately and told me that her ex had been killed in a motorcycle accident. My mouth dropped open. No words would come out. I told her that I was just in shock. Asked how she was, and she said that her first thought was how the boys were going to take it. With that the tears started for both of us. I asked her if she needed me to come out to the house, and she said yes. I broke down in tears and went back into the bedroom to tell my husband the news.

The motorcylce had been a recent post-divorce purchase. That’s all I say about that.

The past 5 days have been a blur. Keeping my family running and trying to support her and the kids any way I can. It’s been more about being present for her and the kids. 

My friend is in an awkward place. Not quite feeling like an ex-wife yet and then being thrust into the world of widows. I know she’s struggling in some areas, but she’s doing a great job at navigating it all.

Life can change on a dime. Draw your loved ones in a bit closer. Tell them how you feel about them. Don’t think for a second that they know and that you don’t need to say it. Say it and say it often.

Deb

Two Cars In Seven Days

Yes. That’s right. We bought, not one, but two cars for our two teen drivers in the past seven days.

How did we get here?

Well, let me tell share a story … many, many years ago (well, maybe not that long ago), my ex-husband and I set up requirements for getting a car for our oldest son. We were still married when we established the requirements and I think our son was in 5th or 6th grade, heavily into Cub Scouts, going into Boy Scouts.

The requirements are:

  • Grades must be As and Bs
  • Must participate in a sport
  • Must have achieved Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts

For reference, our son just started his junior year in high school last month. Oh, and these rules also apply for being able to keep driving the car.

About 18 months ago, we backed off of the Eagle Scout rank requirement a bit. When my ex and I divorced, my sons and I moved to a different state. Obviously, this made our son change Boy Scout troops. It was a tough transition going from a troop with boys that he had known since first grade, to being the new kid in the troop and knowing no one.

We agreed that he had to have his Eagle project defined and approved by his troop, along with the other requirements, before he got a car. He turned 16 last August and he only had 2 out of the 3 requirements. So, no car. All last year, he didn’t do too much about working on the last requirement, and complained off and on about not having a car. His dad and I discussed it again this summer, and agreed to reduce the requirement to just having the project identified. It’s not what we really wanted to do, but we also recognize that we threw our son a curve ball with the divorce. He’s adapted pretty well with all that has been thrown at him so we wanted to show him that we’re working with him, however, he still has to finish his Eagle Rank to keep the car.

This gave him the renewed energy that he needed. He worked with his troop to find a project. What sparked the difference? I’m not sure. It may have been that his step-brother is about to turn 16 in a couple of months. I’m not sure how that would have gone over at all. His step-brother getting his car before he did. I’m guessing not well. It’s just one of those blended family things. Both my son and stepson get along well, but there is an underlying competition.

We bought my son’s car from an auction in Mississippi last Thursday, right before Hurricane Isaac hit. We don’t live in Mississippi, so we’re having to have it shipped to us. No car transporter was going to tell us how soon we could get the car until they knew what we were dealing with post-hurricane. So, we’re waiting to hear how soon it can get shipped to our city.

Meanwhile, my stepson has been looking for a particular car that meets his parents’ budget requirements. Since he turns 16 in November, we’ve started looking for his car as well. My husband went out to a local car auction yesterday morning and there was THE car that my stepson has been looking for. My husband called me, we discussed the car’s condition, loan value and what he thought he could get it for. From a business perspective, we decided there wasn’t a way he shouldn’t bid on it. Plus, it would decrease the anxiety level in the family. Well, he bid on it and won. We picked it up yesterday afternoon.

Two cars in seven days. My husband and I had discussed early in the year about the possibility of the car buying going something like this due to my son’s requirements. I wasn’t too surprised that this is where we ended up.

This is one of the challenging parts of a blended family. When two families have different expectations of their children for earning a car, and then they get brought into a blended family situation, it can create some opportunities. I imagine that there is some resentment on my son’s part that his dad and I have different expectations of him than my stepson’s parents have for him. I explain to my son that this is the way his dad and I have chosen to parent him, these are not new requirements, and it’s not going to change based on another family’s decision on how to parent their child. We feel this is best for him. My ex and I are no longer married, but we still parent the same way we did when we were married. It’s funny how my boys forget that from time to time.

While you don’t hear of too many families buying two cars in a week, frankly, I’m happy that that the whole car buying thing is over. No more “when do I get my car” discussions, no more reviewing car auction sites, no more looking at Craigslist cars, AND it minimizes potential drama. Life is good!

And, luckily, the next child who will need a car doesn’t turn 16 for three more years.

Lots of blended love,

Deb

 

Happy Father-in-Law Day

How does Father-in-Law Day work in a blended family? Today is Father-in-Law Day, and it has me thinking about my father-in-law. Can you still count your father-in-law as your father-in-law once your divoced?

This pic was taken in 2006 when we took the boys to England for Christmas. Why would we go England for Christmas? My ex is English. So, this is my ex and my father-in-law.

My father-in-law was a wonderful man, husband, father, father-in-law and granddad. He served his country in World War II, landing on Sword Beach on D-Day. He was also head gardner at Pusey House in Oxford, England. I always loved learning about gardening from him when he would come over on holiday.

He passed away in 2009 not knowing of our divorce. My ex and I agreed on not telling him as he was dealing with so many health issues. We didn’t want to worry him. So, since he didn’t know, can’t I still claim him as my father-in-law? I hope so. I loved him dearly, and still consider him as my father-in-law.

I hope you have a father-in-law as special as mine.

Deb