When last we checked in my friends Dick and Jane, his daughter, Mary and Sue, had finally pushed him to give them what they both had been saying they wanted, to rid of him, his home, Jane and to live with their mother, Medusa, full-time. Not only did they want to live with mom, neither seemed to have any intention of communicating with their father at all. Medusa, begrudgingly, agreed to allow the girls to stay with her full-time for a “trial period”. She wanted him to commit to a specific end date, which he would not do as it depended on the girls, their attitude and their willingness to go to family therapy with him (and eventually Jane), something that has been ordered by the court but had been put aside (with the therapists approval) to allow the girls to each have their own personal therapist to work out their individual issues (of which there are MANY).
The girls have been with Medusa three weeks now. Given they are on an every other week visitation schedule, that is only one additional week Medusa has had them (trust me, that will factor in later). In that time the younger, Sue, has refused to see her father, who has made attempts to spend time with them on weekend and for dinners during the week. She will not answer texts or calls. She is under the impression that she is owed (yes, OWED) and apology from Dick and Jane and until she receives that, this 13 wants nothing to do with her father. Mary, who had been the more distant of two for the better part of the past year, has been more open. She had gone to dinner with Dick and hung out with him on the weekends. They have been communicating frequently via phone and text.
The three-week mark Medusa feel is her deadline is this Sunday. Given Sue’s continues hostility and Mary’s finally opening up to her father after a year, Dick feels the consistency of staying in one home environment would be best. For how long, who knows, but forcing Sue to come to his home now will make matters worse with her and Mary may once again retreat into her shell. The differing rules and parent styles in each home has been the primary cause of tension with the girls for the past ten years since Medusa and Dick divorced, so it seems logical that one home environment is best for both girls given the extreme behavioral issues both have exhibited. Or at least that is what one would think. Medusa sends Dick an email earlier this week stating he MUST take the girls back, she needs a “break” and she has been doing all of the parenting alone for going on three week. Again, as stated before… IT’S ONE EXTRA WEEK!
The other shoe in this case: money. Dick and Jane have been in contact with their lawyer for direction on everything these past few weeks. Early on Medusa mentioned that having HER kids an additional WEEK was a strain on her time, energy and resources (aka $$$). She gets almost as much in child support as her salary, under employed by choice mind you, and actually more in additional benefits with Dick paying every penny for the girls’ education (tuition and fees at private schools, tutoring and arts classes) and medical (insurance and ALL costs: co-pays, specialists, prescriptions). The only expense to having her own children in her home is food, as she would have to pay for basic necessities like utilities if they were there or not. She has no mortgage or car payment thanks to her divorce settlement. Sue attends school where Medusa works, so she is literally going there everyday and Mary’s school is not far. What mother is more worried about her free time and how much more money she can get vs. what is best for her obviously troubled kids? Kids, by the way, who are 16 and 13, so they don’t require constant supervision, so she could still have a social life.
With Sunday looming, Medusa reached out again to confirm that the girls would be returning to Dick’s home on Sunday. He informed her he feels it’s best to leave things as they currently are and offered to help with Mary’s schedule for the week other than school, but given Sue’s hostilities, her mother would need to make sure she to where she needed to be. This was not well received and Medusa replied with what sounds like a veiled threat the he in violation of original custody agreement. Once again Dick replied, on advice of counsel, that he was not in violation and was doing what he honestly felt was in the best interest of his children. Waiting to see if she serves him with papers taking him back to court for more child support during this time or if she simply drops the girls off at his house on Sunday, as she made it very clear she would not keep them Sunday.
Since I didn’t hit “publish”, I can add that Medusa did not drop the girls off without warning Sunday. Dick planned to spend Sunday with both girls, however when Sue finally took his call it was yell at him that she hated him, she was not going to see him and she never wanted to talk to him again, then hung up. Mary did spend the day with her father and I have to say, it was a good and productive visit. Dick was honest with her daughter of maybe the first time. She is 16, old enough to talk about the reality of the situation. He told her that he feels that she should say with her mom indefinitely, she agreed and said with the exception of the lack of privacy at her mom’s, she is happier living there vs. going back and forth. Then he broach her disrespect and hostile attitude toward Jane. At first she claimed she was not being rude or disrespectful, that Jane didn’t speak to her either and why should she talk to someone she has nothing in common with. Mary has used this excuse before, but was never pushed on it, this time Dick pushed back that she would not treat a stranger the way she treats Jane in own home. Mary pretended she was a toddler living in a cave, “why would an adult want to talk to me?”, seriously? If you are in someones home, the host will speak to you, even if it just to welcome you and say hello, which is pretty much the extent of her interaction with Jane for the past several months. Would she grunt and ignore the host or politely say hello and answer basic questions with full sentences? The latter, of course, and Dick pointed out that Jane deserved at least that level of respect and until Mary can do that with a level of sincerity, there will not be overnight stays at his house. Mary agreed that was only fair, but wasn’t sure how long it would take her to get to that point. ‘
In Sue news, her personal therapist finally replied to an email Dick sent a few week back when Sue lashed out, looking for advice and input. The doctor explained the reason for his delay was he was waiting until his next appointment with Sue to assess how she was doing, however he has not seen her. Seems in the time she has been with Medusa, all of her sessions have been missed or canceled. Sue has also missed most school days since being in her mother’s care. There is no cost to Medusa, literally all she has to do is get Sue to her appointments, but apparently, that is too much for her. Sue attends school where Medusa works, so there is literally no excuse whatsoever for her to miss school.
Dick and Jane are still waiting for the other shoe to drop by being served with papers to return to court. I don’t think Medusa wants her kids full-time, but I believe she has been telling them that she does for years in an attempt to alienate them from their father and stepmother. Now what she has them, she wants them gone, at least part of the time, but she will not tell them that, she is trying to get Dick to agree to overnight to it looks like he is forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. Medusa thinks asking for more money will stop Dick from standing firm, but what she doesn’t realize that with all she currently gets its highly unlikely the court will give her more money for two teens who need no childcare and the father pays for everything other than their food and clothing, $2000 a month is certainly more an enough to cover that and then some. And even if she were to get more, Dick will not fight that and cave to her demands he take the girls, he is doing what is best for his girls at this time. Medusa is pissed, but these are the consequences to her actions… hope she’s happy.