A Puppet on a String

A Puppet on a String

It’s nearly midnight on the night before we were supposed to pick up our little man for his visitation. I’m so angry I can’t sleep. I want to scream and cry and pull my hair out in frustration.

I tucked my little girl into bed just a few hours ago. I had reassured her that we get to see her big brother tomorrow. I watched her eyes light up with excitement. She was so overjoyed she could hardly sleep. She wanted it to “be tomorrow right now!” She had been asking when she gets to see her brother again all week. In the morning I will watch that light drain and hold her while she cries.

I had planned an interactive learning activity about healthy foods and even made a poster that’s been hanging on the wall in anticipation for a week. We were going to play a fun game and stick pictures of healthy and non-healthy foods in the right category. I’ve been re-assuring my child that as soon as we are all together this weekend we will play the game. Now we will try to salvage the weekend by playing this game without him.

This is the second such incident that just happened to prevented her from dropping off our son after we had previously declined a weekend trade. She had wanted us to swap the Super Bowl weekend for the following weekend. We declined as my husband would be out on a business trip.

Tonight the ex-wife texted to let us know that her and her partner were both experiencing car troubles and the vehicles would conveniently be operational again for the following weekend.


The first incident completely and utterly ruined our youngest child’s Christmas. We had been visiting family for the holiday. The demand had been that we must be at the exchange location on Christmas Day or we wouldn’t get our son for the remainder of Christmas break and she would simply take him with her on her vacation. She made it clear that the weather had better not be used as an excuse to miss the exchange and that our vacation plans had better accommodate for snow. With our hands tied, we packed our sleepy little toddler into the car at 4am to start the long drive home. Our little angel spent all of Christmas Day in a slow moving car braving a blinding snowstorm. After 10 hours we arrived home just as the text came in. There was a snowstorm in the mountains and the ex would be unable to drop our son off at the exchange point “unless we wanted to risk his life.” But we could coincidentally do the exchange the following morning right at the specified time she had proposed weeks before that we couldn’t agree to.

Flustered beyond belief, I forced a smile and pulled our little toddler out of her car seat to tuck her straight into bed.

“Merry Christmas little one.” I tearfully whispered. “It’s been a long day. Sleep tight.”

It would all have been worth it for our son but somehow I had to fathom that our child’s entire Christmas Day had been ruined for nothing.

Once again our entire weekend was ripped out of our control and taken from us. Somehow I would need to explain to our pre-schooler that her brother was not coming like I had reassured her he would. He wouldn’t be there to play the game with us, to watch the last and biggest football game of the season with us. She wouldn’t be able to play with her best friend even after she had counted down the days.

How could I possibly explain the reason he couldn’t be with us? The only explanation she would understand is if I regurgitate the lie the ex-wife told; but to my own child!!!! The acidic words burn my throat before I have even spoken them. If I don’t lie to my child, am I pitting the two children against each other? Her brother will most certainly be told his mother’s convenient circumstance. If I speak anything opposing to his mother, even if it is the truth, it is bound to become a source of contention between them. I never imagined that an ex-wife would control a lie I told my child.

I feel absolutely hopeless. I never imagined that I would have less control over my own children once I re-married than when I did as a single mother. It torments my soul to play a pawn to the ex-wife in this dictatorship of a puppet show she believes she dominates. I am caught between the games she plays and enough proof to hold her in contempt of court and the only power we truly hold is to document everything. How many times have I heard this?! “Document Everything.” It seems to be the only consoling advice anyone can give and I can’t help but wonder… Will I spend the rest of the co-parenting years only documenting? Will this ever end? Will we ever be able to regain a sense of routine, control and consistency? Will she forever get away with her selfish dictatorship?


Remarrying is Documenting Everything,

While you’re being yanked around like a puppet on a string.

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