In my many blogs about my friends, Dick and Jane, the running theme has been dad always gives in. While I’m not a parent, I get why, even if I don’t agree with it. They are his kids. No matter what they do or say, he wants to be part of their lives, and them in his, and he has to believe they are better than the behavior they have exhibited. In my last blog things had taken a turn for the worst with his younger daughter, Sue. Dick allowed her a “mental health day” home from school after she threw what was nothing more than a tantrum over a question about a school project being asked at the dinner table. Dick has admitted that was a mistake, especially given how things got so much worse after. My guess is many of Dick’s decisions are made in hopes that his daughters will see the effort he is making to “hear them” and given them some say in their lives, as they claim he is controlling (you know, with making them bathe and attend school- insert eye roll here).
Much of last week the girls were allowed to come and go between their parents’ homes as they pleased- something that had not been allowed in the past, but given how unhappy they both have expressed being in Dick and Jane’s home, why not allow them extra time with mom (aka Medusa). After giving them that control and buying a small fortune in art supplies for Mary to do portraits at a local art fair, Dick hoped for a peaceful weekend. Poor delusional man. After taking Mary to the art fair Saturday morning he returned home to have a talk with Sue about events over the week. She had not been open to talking to him earlier, which led to her stress and need for the aforementioned “mental health day”. Sue said she didn’t want to talk if Jane was going to present, to his credit, Dick told her no, it was Jane’s home too and this affected her as much as anyone, so she was most certainly being part of the discussion. Acting more like a 3-year-old vs. a 13-year-old, she sat with her hands over her face refusing to talk. When she finally did speak it was to say that her mom was there. Yep, Sue had texted mommy and without conferring with Dick, Medusa showed up at their house to take Sue with her. Dick went out and sent his ex-wife away, returning to the house to FINALLY take back some of the parental power he handed over to his girls on a silver platter long ago.
Things escalated quickly with Sue making wild claims as to why she is so unhappy in their home and when they didn’t just except her crazy lies about Jane forcing her only wear clothes she picks out for her and how her father controls every aspect of her life, she ran (yes, RAN) from the house saying she was going to kill herself. Dick went after her, but rather than coddle her and give her whatever she wanted to make her stop saying such hurtful things, he called her mother and told her to come get her- however if she did, she was to keep her. Medusa, not one to give up her social life freely pushed back that she couldn’t keep her overnight, but could spend the afternoon claiming her down. Dick stood firm, if she took her from his house, she was not to return. Being backed in a corner, not wanting to say no in from of her daughter, Medusa agreed.
In the past Dick has said he would never allow the girls to live with Medusa full-time, that it was giving in to both their mother’s coddling and the girls desire to live with no rules or responsibility. I guess with the realization that Sue had been lying for months about being happy with him and Jane only to find out she hates them both and the time in their home is torture, causing her to threaten to kill herself rather than stay there, on top of the journal in with Mary said pretty much the same, he hit that point. He sent an email to their mother saying, on a temporary basis, he feels the girls should stay with her full-time given the threats of self harm, or worse. He also said they will be returning to family therapy to work on these issues. Family therapy had been set aside after both girls expressed the desire to have individual therapy on their own. Medusa agreed, in theory, but she was pushing for more details regarding the arrangement, all self-serving, not about the girls. He told her that he was meeting with the family therapist on Friday to discuss details and he would meet with the girls over the weekend to explain it to them.
I’m sure what Medusa is concerned with is money, plain and simple. I know a lot of divorced parents and let me say, Medusa has the sweetest deal by far, especially considering infidelity on HER part was the final nail in their marriage’s coffin. She got a lump sum settlement that was enough for her buy her home outright, so no mortgage. Dick paid of the car she had at the time and still has, so no car payment. Dick carries the kids on his insurance and pays ALL out-of-pocket for medical/dental- every co-pay, prescription, EVERYTHING. He pays for tuition for both private schools and any extra school fees. The only expenses Medusa has for her kids is half of any extra curricular activities (which at this time neither girl does) and their needs when in her home (food, clothing, etc). In addition, to all that, she gets $2000 per month in child support, which comes out to $1000 per week that she has them with their 50/50 arrangement. Dick was more than generous when they divorced, for the sake of his kids, kids who treat him like dirt, in large part because their mom has made him out to be the villain at a every opportunity. So now, they have done it, they finally pushed him to cave and give them exactly what they want- but what they didn’t count on is what they will be giving up. Medusa claims to be broke, so all the luxuries the girls enjoyed while in Dick’s care will be gone. No more trips to the coffee shop. No more cable tv with every channel. No more shopping for expensive art supplies, clothes or make-up. No more vacations to tropical locations. Dick will continue to pay for their cell phones service, however if their phones break or go missing, it will be on mom to figure out a replacement. Same for the fancy laptop Mary enjoys, mom will need to figure out a way to extend the photo editing software when the year is up that dad paid for. But they will be free of their horrible father, evil stepmonster and the prison like environment they made life in their house to be.
And Medusa will not get another cent. In our state child support is not based on the amount of time the children are with each parent. Doubling the time she has with the kids will not translate into double the support. Based on the state calculations, Medusa is currently receiving more than what is typically awarded- so she needs to consider herself lucky and figure out how to live within her means. My guess is that will mean a lot of using the word “no”, which the girls hate to hear, but this is what THEY wanted, all three of them. They will not be happy however. The reason family therapy was put aside was the therapist suggested that they make more effort and change to make their situations better. For years Dick and Jane had been the ones making all the changes, doing everything the therapists suggested to make the girls happier in their home- nothing worked. So they will go back, my guess is the girls will not speak, they will sick in silence for each session. At this point I don’t know if these girls are capable of being happy, which is sad.
Dick is heartbroken, but feels he has done all he can and its time to take this drastic step. His marriage was on the line, as well as the safety of both daughters if their threats were to be believed. He is good man, with a good heart and the best of intentions, but you can only be pushed so far…. Dick has been pushed past that point.