5 Things I Need Babe

So, my friend Victor at Victor’s Corner wrote a post encouraging you to write an Open Letter and describing the different types of open letters you could write and I decided to do one. I thought about what kind of letter I would write and I knew that I wanted to write an open letter to my future husband. For all intents and purposes it will most likely be Mr. C, but I wanted to let you (and him) know the 5 things I need for our marriage.

Dear Mr. C:

It’s almost that time. Our time of reckoning that this life we’re building must go further. We can’t continue in an indefinite state of boyfriend/girlfriend. I know it was my wish to be this way for many years and you have indulged my spirit. I want you to know these 5 things before you ask me to be your wife.

  1. I need to know what you think. I’ve had so many relationships where the man that I’m with doesn’t offer me an opinion on anything I suggest. I hate that. I need you to be my partner and I will be your help mate. You need to be able to offer an opinion on things that I suggest, even if it’s “Babe, I don’t know what to say. It’s complicated, but I trust that you will make the right decision.” That explanation alone speaks volumes. I don’t expect you to have all the answers. I expect you to be able to talk to me and respond when I feel uncertain. Ask yourself whether or not you could do this?
  2. I need you to understand that it’s more than me and Munch. You know my relationship with my son’s father is contentious on its best days. I struggle to find the time, energy or power to respond. We don’t speak and even though the constant emails and text messages are wearing on me, you continue to keep me motivated and inspired. I need that for the next 9 years. It may never get better (although we pray that it will) but you need to be bigger than me when I am feeling defeated. You need to remind me that we have less than 9 years. I need you to understand that you will now be faced to deal with some of the frustrations, back and forth or drama. Are you okay with that? This is my reality. Ask yourself whether or not you believe that Munch and I are worth it?
  3. Respect my neurotic need to delay marriage. My girlfriend told me years ago that every delay is not a denial. I love you and I can’t imagine a life without you in it, but I’m just not ready to get married again. Yet. I love how you respect my wish to set a wedding date for the fall of 2020. It shows that you know that we’re not going anywhere. We’re willing to take the time to invest and cultivate our relationship in our own time. You totally respect the fact that I love being in the G-spot (girlfriend spot). But, ask yourself would you be okay with that should I want to move a wedding date closer or later?
  4. Know that I need you to lead. I am so tired of being superwoman and I need you to lead us. As a couple and a family. I told you before that I would follow a man to the end’s of the earth if I knew that God was leading him and God told me to follow. I can’t do everything. I feel like I have to do everything and sometimes it gets so overwhelming. I can’t do it all – without consequences and sacrifices. As a partner, I shouldn’t have too. I need you to know what I’m asking of you. Ask yourself whether or not you are ready to be superman?
  5. I am not her and you are not him. I know that we’ve both had experiences and relationships that may not have been the best, but surely we’ve learned the lessons that we were supposed to learn. Everything in life is meant to teach a lesson. Sometimes we listen and learn and sometimes we’re not that smart. Whatever the case, I need you to know that I’m not her. I’m not the one that may have broken your trust or family or anything else. I’m me. I also want to assure you that I know that you are not him. I will never compare you to anyone else or tell you that you are just like such and such. You’re not. I know this. You will never pay for the mistakes of anyone before you. I vow to communicate openly and honestly about all things knowing that you love me and what we’re building. I need you to ask yourself are you truly over your past relationships with your exes?

Life isn’t perfect. I know this. I’m not expecting perfection. I’m just expecting that two people that love each other will work together as a unit to build a strong foundation that will support us and our family for years to come. I vow to speak life into you and our family and all our dreams just like it says in Proverbs…

Proverbs 18:21 (NRSV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Do you want to participate in Victor’s Open Letter challenge? Check out his blog: Victor’s Corner and participate. I would love to hear what you have to say.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

You Will Not Believe This

I told you all about how my ex and I are going back to court for custody and that when we arrived to have our custody hearing we were told that we were still married. No? You can read about it in Failure of the Court and in Divorced Again. Long story short…we were both shocked as hell.

We went to a Pendente Lite (temporary custody) hearing on May 4th only to be told that nothing can be done because the second divorce hadn’t been signed off. Yep, another day off work. Another day of time wasted. Another day of stress. The magistrate then said that we have a custody hearing in August so it would wait. What the hell? More delays. More stress. More time off work.

I was beyond frustrated and barely holding on with all this back and forth. I felt like the courts had failed me. Could no one do their job? Would I have to continue in this state of unknown until August? Yep. Apparently.

I was a wreck a few days after the hearing as you can imagine because I was mentally and physically tired. I allowed myself a couple of days to focus on other things and to get my mind right. There were still things that I had to do and Munch still needed to be taken care of. After a few days of moping around, I got up and moved on with my life.

Well, last Monday when I went to get the mail I had three notices from the courts. Not thinking it was anything other than the second divorce paper and update on the August trial, I was shocked to read:

The Scheduling Order dated April 20, 2017 and the Magistrate recommendations of April 11, 2017 and May 4, 2017 are stricken. The Judgment of Absolute Divorce dated March 17, 2016 remains in full force and effect. The parties’ respective Motions for Modification shall be scheduled for three hours on the earliest available date. Notice to be sent to the parties.

What? Was I reading this correctly? That meant that a judge had reviewed our complicated file and decided that all that extra BS we were going through was not necessary and that the original divorce stood as is. Custody remained as is. We were legally divorced back to the original date granted.

I ripped open the other two envelopes and one said to schedule the Motions for Modification hearing on June 21st and to remove the merits hearing scheduled for August. The final was the hearing confirmation from the court house calendar management division. It was real. It was happening. Sooner rather than later and I didn’t have to wait until August.

What’s the big deal? Nothing really. Time. I am tired of all the back and forth and the courts are stressing me the hell out. First we’re divorced, then we’re not divorced, then we can’t have a hearing on custody because the second divorce hadn’t been signed off and then we’re really divorced (my bad) let’s go to court next month.  It is exhausting. Heck, I’m exhausted telling you about it.

But, thankfully a judge reviewed the file in it’s entirety and upheld the original divorce and decided that we didn’t have to start all over. Again. I appreciated that. I don’t know what will happen in court next month, but I’m convinced that God’s will will be done. So, I ask that you keep us all (Munch, my ex and I) in your prayers because truthfully we need it.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

the gf

I really enjoyed this read by a fellow blogger, Staci Beth over at From He Double Hockey Sticks and Back about co-parenting. She really discusses her struggles and I could relate on so many levels. Ideally we would like to think that everyone can have a great relationship with the other parent, but in many cases this doesn’t happen. What do you do when it happens? Check out her great post about her struggles:  Source: the gf

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Divorced Again

I told you in yesterday’s post Failure of the Court how we went to court for a modification of custody to find out that we are still legally married to each other. The court failed us. We thought we were divorced, but the divorce wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. It was a sham.

In Maryland you can have both your divorce and custody tied together if there are no issues. It’s simpler, more effective and cheaper. I chose this route since I filed for divorce. It saved us time and money. However, because our custody was tied to the divorce and not separate. There was no custody agreement because there was no divorce.

You see the dilemma?

We were both having mini-breakdowns and trying to navigate what happens now. The magistrate explains that he can’t discuss custody because we’re still legally married and that divorce we were given is invalid so we can’t modify the custody as part of the divorce because the divorce is invalid. Basically, no one has custody. Are you freaking kidding me? What?

We were trying to digest all the information that was provided. The magistrate informed us that he was upset over the situation as well and wanted to get out of meeting with us because he couldn’t bear to hear that one of us had remarried and what that meant because he had defended a woman that had a similar situation in another county.

In Maryland, bigamy is a felony that can result in an individual spending up to nine years in jail.  The only way out of it is if your “ex-spouse” has been gone for seven continuous years or you don’t know where your “ex-spouse” is living at the time of your new marriage. That meant that if either of us had been remarried we would have been charged criminally with a felony because the courts screwed up our divorce. They don’t care if you knew about their screw up or not because you are charged criminally and divorce is a civil case.

This is getting more frustrating.

To learn that even if you didn’t know that your divorce was invalid and the courts were at fault and you get remarried you could still catch a felony case? To put it in perspective, our magistrate then tells us a story of a client he had a few years ago that went through this. She went through a bitter custody and property divorce. Her ex was upset because it wasn’t favorable to him. They settled custody and property and then the woman’s attorney filed for divorce. The divorce was filed 11 months after their separation and they were granted a divorce.

Fast forward two years and the woman is remarried and just had a baby with her new husband. She receives in the mail a bench warrant for her arrest and a notice vacating her divorce as invalid. Her “ex-spouse” had went to the state’s attorney’s office and requested that he check their files because their divorce wasn’t legal because Maryland required a 12 month separation not 11 months. The state’s attorney found out it was true and then the woman’s life became a two year nightmare of having to fight a felony bigamy charge, getting divorced, getting remarried and getting her life back.

We sat there dumbfounded.

I said “I don’t understand how the state can charge someone for something they did. The state is at fault because you can’t marry or divorce yourself so if documents aren’t valid then the state is at fault for that. How am I to be criminally charged with their poor hiring choices? That’s not my fault.” He responded “It’s not your fault and you did nothing wrong. But, Maryland law is firm.”

Thank God neither one of us remarried.

The magistrate then asks us do we still want to be divorced. Umm, yes. However, I said that I don’t want to pay for it. I paid the first time and it was a waste of money so everything should be free.

So, he has us go to the paralegal’s office down the hall and have them print out a complaint for absolute divorce and an answer to an absolute divorce. I then requested a complaint for custody and an answer to complaint for custody.

We completed the forms and I asked for sole custody in all paperwork. Both sole physical and sole legal.  I wasn’t going to stop his visitation, but I needed written confirmation on how we’re supposed to do this. We went back into the court room and the bailiff let him see my forms so he knew how to respond in answer. The bailiff gave the forms to the magistrate.

We asked questions on how do we proceed not having a signed custody agreement in place, he said as a lawyer I would advise you to keep things as they are until you go before a judge. No matter how you want to change it, the courts care about how the child is coping with things now.

We sighed.

He included a line in the decree to untie it from the divorce and we would get a separate custody agreement. He turned on the recording and then proceeded to divorce us.

We were divorced again. We left feeling somewhat defeated. This ordeal was working our nerves.

We then met with the scheduling coordinator and turned in our custody paperwork. The coordinator then scheduled all of the things we needed to do including the temporary hearing for 3 weeks. It was overwhelming to say the least.

We go to court again for a hearing on May 4th. My ex-husband (I pray this is in fact legitimate) and I will go to discuss a temporary custody agreement, attend parenting classes and mediation and then have a final custody hearing in August. It’s a hot mess.

We are trying to meet and work some things out on our own prior to our May 4th court date. The more that we try to do on our own and just have the courts put it in writing the better off. There are no winners in our battle for custody. I know that. Ultimately, Munch will be the loser, so knowing that allows me to try to meet with him and work some stuff out on our own.

At this point I realized and began to accept the silver lining in all this. What silver lining you might ask? The fact that he wanted a modification which got us back in court to realize that our first divorce wasn’t real and then actually get divorced again. This allowed us to not have to catch a felony case or sue the state for negligence.

You see? God was in it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

I Broke

I’ve always been honest with you about my co-parenting struggles. The relationship with my ex-husband is sometimes unnerving, antagonistic and dysfunctional to say the best. I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting.

I received a certified notice at my house in January. It was a certified letter from my ex’s cousin. I opened it up and in it was a Writ of Summons. He was petitioning the court to modify the custody arrangements. I cried.

I couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t even send me an email or try to communicate with me about his wishes before trying to take me to court. Nine months after custody was finalized he was trying to change it. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t object in March of last year.

I called Mr. C. I was a wreck. Between tears and anguish, I poured out my heart. I screamed “You see why I don’t trust him? Why would he betray me like this?” He said “Babe, calm down.”

I couldn’t. I couldn’t be calm. I had to get a handle on my life right now. I struggled to breathe. How could he do this to me? This is ridiculous.

I have physical custody of my son. My ex-husband has a visitation schedule with joint legal. I talked about this in my post last year entitled Closed. He knew that I was filing for sole physical custody. It was in the best interest of Munch. I never hid that from him. I wanted to modify the visitation schedule we were doing with every other week due to his health issues. He agreed.

I told him that I would give him time to let me know what he would like and proposed a Thursday to Monday every other week. I told him that I was open and to please let me know what he wanted to do. He said “Okay. I’m going to trust you. I’m going to trust that you’re not trying to keep my son from me.” I’ve kept up my end of the bargain.

I’ve never kept him from his son. Never. He came back to me a few months after the divorce was final and said he didn’t want to adjust the schedule. He wanted to keep it as is. Trying to appear fair and level headed and not the controlling b*tch that he’s called me, I agreed.

Best of interest of Munch. I allowed him to keep Thanksgiving and Easter. I offered him the opportunity to spend time with his son on Christmas Day too.  Any additional times he wanted to take Munch out of town or just be present in his life. Yep. I have no problem with that either. That’s his dad.

Best interest of Munch.

That is what I kept telling myself. It is in the best interest of Munch. The many arguments, the threats, the name calling. I’ve endured it all. I never harass him about payment for expenses and I don’t ask for child support. We agreed to equally support Munch. It’s not equal. I pay for medical expenses, dental expenses, swim lessons, tutoring, guitar, soccer and any and all equipment needed.

His response was “You never tell me how much stuff costs.” I sighed and responded “You know it’s not free. When I asked you before you said you didn’t know when you could give me the money.” I let it go. I didn’t worry about it.

Munch was my responsibility. I had primary physical custody. I can’t complain about the many expenses outside of the $150 a month he pays towards Munch’s childcare. I would take care of it. I adapt. I adjust my spending. I adjust and keep it moving. Allow my son to learn and love both parents equally.

I don’t say no to the things he needs or the experiences he wants. I figure it out. Alone. I just make sure that my son has the experiences he wants. I didn’t have that when I was growing up. My son would never know what that is like.

I submitted my response to the courts last month. I had 30 days. New information was presented to me. I amended my response and submitted it to the courts. I mailed everything to him. Now, we have to do what I thought we never wanted to do…allow the courts to decide what is best for Munch.

Today is the day that the courts have to be in our business and choose for our son. Am I happy about it? Nope. Am I surprised? Honestly, nope. Did I wish for better? Yeah. But, this is the luck of the draw. I chose this situation when I ended my marriage and this is where I find myself. Accepting responsibilities for my choices and fighting for the best interest of my child.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Dating Parents – Part I

This is going to be a two part post because I have to tell ya’ll what’s going on and I don’t want it to drag out. Please bear with me because I will want some advice in the end. Here’s what happened…

Last month, Mr. C and I took our children to view the National Christmas tree and to dinner afterwards. His son is 18 and Munch is 8. Two different decades and nothing much in common. It was my first time meeting his son and getting to sort through the emotions that I amassed as to whether or not he would like me or how he would feel about me dating his dad.

I’ve never seriously dated a man with a child. I was always adamant about being the center of a man’s attention and children didn’t allow that to happen, so I avoided men with kids. Until…

Until I became single with a kid.

I realized that I didn’t want anymore children so I really wanted to date a man with kids so he wouldn’t ask me to have any. Pregnancy wasn’t that great and I’m over it. I’m too old to try and have another baby and I wanted to spend my life loving someone and the family that we built together through love and determination.

I also needed someone who could get the fact that I’m a  working mother. That I have things that I have to do at work, at Munch’s school and with my friends and then understand that I wanted one-on-one time with my son. My son is my priority. I needed someone who could appreciate that. I dated some men that couldn’t appreciate or understand when I had to cancel a date because my son was sick at his dad’s house.

Others that said that they understood, but wanted me to have more children. Umm, nope. I’m done. I’ve closed up shop and decided that no more children would occupy this womb.

Those men were the worst. They really believed they could convince me to abandon my beliefs and bear them heirs. Yeah, like that was going to happen.

And then there was Mr. C.

He came into my life not wanting more children. Loving my ambition and encouraging me in a way that I never thought possible. His love was real. It was healthy. I was truly happy and at peace.

So, it was only inevitable that I would fall in love with a great man that didn’t want anymore children. He was willing to love me and my son as though we were flesh of his flesh and would help me raise Munch when we got married. He didn’t mind starting over. He would have a child in college and one in elementary school. I loved that about him though.

In this space that we are creating and building I’m trying to merge our lives more. Not just as a couple, but as parents. Letting the kids get to know each other and spend time with each other. We’re not rushing an instant bonding session, but we wanted our children to know how we feel about each other and share our respective lives.

But…I didn’t expect that to have an impact on Munch.

Why?

Because Munch has met his dad’s girlfriend. He likes her. He spends time with her. He speaks of her often. I had never introduced Munch to anyone that I was dating. Ever. So, him having experience with his dad’s girlfriend should let him know that I was serious about someone right?

Munch has met Mr. C a few times. The first being this summer for all of about 5 minutes in an informal setting and then he off he went to play with his friends. Then a couple of times at the house. I wanted to slowly introduce Munch to the man that I had fallen in love with. I wanted him to know that here was a man that I thought worthy to introduce him too.

Seeing as where I had taken things slowly with Mr. C, I thought that Munch would see the importance of this man in my life. That he would be able to understand that this great man is a good guy and wants to get to know him. That he would feel that man’s love ooze all out and be able to process that mommy wanted a future with Mr. C.

However, that didn’t happen. Munch is 8 after all. I was wishing on a star and I thought he would be cool. But, he wasn’t and I just wasn’t prepared for that. It started when I picked him up and I told him that we had a big day and that we were hanging out with Mr. C and his son that evening and he sighed. What? What is the sigh about I asked. He responded, “Can’t we just spend some time alone me and you?”

I was hot. Really? I explained to him that he spends time with his dad and his girlfriend all the time and it’s never a problem. I told him that I limit the amount of time I spend with Mr. C when it’s my week with him because I want that alone time with him. I said, “You can’t act like it’s cool for you and your dad to spend every waking moment with his girlfriend (I’m probably exaggerating, but I was emotional) and when I want to spend a couple of hours with you and Mr. C it is a problem.” I had to catch myself. I was having a mommy meltdown.