Continued from 360 Degrees: Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?
BD had accused me of anything he could think of in his certification to the court. We both had to write up letters summarizing our cases and his was complete fiction.
He was asking for sole custody of our son, saying that my parenting would be â€œdetrimentalâ€ to our child. I was furious. It was a feeling I still wish I could have felt about a year and a half earlier.
I think back on some of those events and it all too surreal, like it was somebody else going through all that. I canâ€™t even imagine it being me. How could it have been me? People who know me insist I wasnâ€™t myself at the time.
â€œIt was like you were somebody else,â€ a friend told me. That sentiment was echoed by others.
Sometimes it makes me angry. There were so many times when I should have left. Times from the very beginning. It was small stuff at first. My car keys, the food â€¦ it makes me wanna scream at myself thinking about that stuff. I relive scenarios in my mind with renewed strength and they play out differently in my imagination, usually culminating with me telling BD to kiss my ass as I head for the door, never to return.
I have learned an eternity of lessons in a fairly short amount of time and I continue to be taught by adversity.
I have so many regrets â€¦
Not actually pressing charges when that troop of cops was called to my doorstep; glossing over BDâ€™s bad points with the psychologist, fearful of sounding like a scorned woman; hiding the truth about my stifling relationship from the people who cared about me; betraying a friend -- two of them; putting the worth of a relationship before my own â€¦ so much.
Our trial was scheduled for a Monday and Tuesday. If it went over, weâ€™d have to continue that next month. We each had a witness list and a gallery of supporters.
In addition to character witnesses and family to testify to my latter complaints, I had Shay and Mike, my sister and her fiancÃ© whoâ€™d seen my bloody nose months before. BD knew they were on my list to testify. Our attorneys had to submit witness lists weeks before. But I do believe their actually showing up that day was the turning point for BD. For all his refuting my claims about his violent temper, sitting mild mannered in a suit and tie, I had two people who could testify first hand to his out of control anger spells. I know he didn't want the fam around for that testimony.
But I didnâ€™t want to go forward with a grueling trial any more than he did. I just wanted permission to move back home with my son.
In the end, he gave me that. The irony here is thick, though I missed it at the time. The doctorâ€™s report that heâ€™d shamelessly gloated about for weeks didnâ€™t even matter. We sat, our lawyers separating us, at the long table designated for the plaintiff and defendant, poised and seemingly ready to war. We stood and were sworn in, and technically, the trial had begun, when his lawyer interrupted and said we might be able to settle this whole thing if he could have a word with my attorney.
BD and I were also then directed into a mediation room with our respective representatives where we sat for about three hours mapping out a calendar for the next three years of our lives, finally agreeing on how we would share our son across state lines. This is something heâ€™d sworn he would never allow to happen. Itâ€™s the reason weâ€™d been in court for almost a year. Heâ€™d rejected five of my parenting plans at previous mediation sessions and two in court, never once attempting to amend or work from them, as they each allowed for my relocation. This is what had been our stalemate this entire time. And yet, on the day our trial was set to begin, the judge didnâ€™t grant me permission to move. BD did.
We agreed that BD would get the summers with the baby as well as the month of November or December, depending upon the year, in addition to at least one month at a time during other parts of the year. An extremely generous arrangement, plus liberal visitation.
His concession was bittersweet. I went for it though, because while I did not fear the judge would give my child over to his father, she did not have to allow me to leave. At the end of the three years BD and I mapped out, when our son reaches school age, we will inevitably be back in court to rearrange the parenting plan around his schooling. That will no doubt be a battle in itself. But one thing at a time.
In the meantime, BD does his best to harass me. I swear, it never stops. LOL. But Iâ€™m so over the sinking feeling I used to get in my stomach when Iâ€™d hear his ringer across the room. Heâ€™s kicking himself about the parenting plan and everyday tries to trump up some charge to get us back into court. First it was, I never let him speak to his son. Bullshyt. I call him everyday on his planning period at 11:45 so they can chat and again at 7:30 p.m. before bedtime so he can say goodnight. When I advised BD that Iâ€™d been recording all these phone calls (another lesson Iâ€™ve learned) he quickly changed his strategy. Now heâ€™s working on my lack of cooperation when he wants to come and visit. Also untrue, but weâ€™ll see. Really though, the biggest hurdle is over. Iâ€™ve moved legally and I canâ€™t be made to move back.
I sent a Christmas greeting to Serita last year, but other than that, I havenâ€™t made contact. Perhaps itâ€™s hard for me to accept her forgiveness so easily because I know I wouldnâ€™t be nearly as understanding in her position. Maybe Iâ€™m still forgiving myself.
Havenâ€™t spoken with Digital in quite some time, either. He used to text me occasionally and ask how I was doing. Itâ€™s been months though. I hear the wedding was fabulous. Perhaps Iâ€™ll send a card.
Thanks so much for reading, everybody. Iâ€™ve enjoyed all the great feedback, the nasty and the nice. Really. If my writing inspired you to comment, then you definitely inspired me to write. Look out for the book, in the works and coming soon. : ) Itâ€™s been fun venting. Peace.
*All names have been changed to protect the guilty & the innocent.