This Means War

Nickelback – This Means War

He protested, “You can’t take the kids. It will kill my mother.”

“Your mother? I am not divorcing your mother.” I snapped back at him.  “I want my life back and I want our kids safe from your sexual antics and casual encounters with men that you bring to your home. I don’t think our children are safe at your home.”

And that was the fight that launched a custody battle. Of course the Gay Husband still loves his children, but he wants more to please his mom by ensuring that her grandchildren remain close. He promptly changed his pleadings and is now asking for custody to thwart my efforts to leave town. GH wants his mommy to be happy.

I can’t even believe that I am participating in this absurd process. What reasonable person would think that he is a proper and fit parent to care for our children? I guess I am going to find out if one exists.

I’ve asked that this whole charade be fast tracked and that we get a court appointed representative involved in determining custody. GH and I can’t come to terms and agree on who is a better and fit parent for our children and I am not inclined to drag it out and let it go to a trial. That would be expensive and take too long. I want a decision made so that I can start to pick up the shards of my life and piece it all back together. I am not going to be able to do that without our children.  I plan to take them and relocate to my hometown, to be near my family and my support system, but most importantly to get the kids away from this ‘adult’ behavior and give them the educational, cultural and social opportunities that they just can’t get here in Mapdot, USA.

She showed up with her notebook. Unannounced and unceremonious. I however was expecting her. Not because I am psychic or anything, but because I was told that the Gaurdian Ad Litem would come to do a ‘site visit.’ I was also told that she may visit where we work, socialize, and she can call personal references. She may even show up at the kids’ events to observe the environment. No stone should expect to be unturned.

A ‘site visit’ sounds so clinical and impersonal. She was coming to my home. To the home where GH and I remodeled, redecorated and poured our love into to to make it livable for our family. To now have  it called a ‘site’ reduces it to what it really is – walls that are shelter for the kids and me. It is the site of where I confronted GH about his lifestyle. It has been reduced to the fallout shelter where the kids and I now take shelter, waiting for this process to end and the next phase of our life to begin. I guess calling it a ‘site’ is fairly accurate now.

The Guardian Ad Litem arrived to ensure that the children have adequate living space and are safe. It’s her job to look out for their welfare, and that involves judging us as parents and our ability to provide a safe environment. I don’t fear my scores on this test and am confident that I can provide for my kids’ physical, emotional and social needs. GH, I think he wants to do that, but the reality is that he constantly makes bad decisions.  His primary motives are pleasing his penis and then his mother all else falls in line behind that. After those two are served, he focuses on his children. Since he’s moved out, he’s been quite active on the gay websites and quite the social entertainer at the winery and his home.  His parenting has been outsourced to his family.

My day to day life with the children remains the same.  We sleep in the same beds we always have slept in. We cook and eat in the same kitchen we always have and to an outsider looking in, that sense of normalcy for the kids has remained the same. This site is still their home. It houses all their toys, books and childhood memories. My social life remains focused on the kids and my adult time is spent with the parents of my children’s friends. Lately my only ‘adult entertainment’ has been emailing with GI Joe, and that poses zero risk to the kids.

The office interview and the site visit has kicked off this war. We are going head to head. Really, I should not be shocked by the process or the extent that GH and his mom will go to win. Regardless, I am confident.  I am a sane, reliable parent. I continue to provide healthcare, education, supervision, meals, love and hours of consoling to our children. I want that to be recognized. So even though I feel like I am being scrutinized, I find it comforting because I expect that the Guardian is going through the same process with GH.

She is going to visit his ‘site,’ which the kids accurately call a shanty. I expect that she will notice that he provides shelter but safety is questionable. His home is located down a rural country road that includes directions, “turn off the paved road onto the gravel…” His home is located so that he can entertain men and his lifestyle can go unnoticed. Coincidentally that also means that should a jealous spouse find her husband in the shanty with GH, she could unload a shotgun and it would go unnoticed. That is not where I want my children to spend any time.

Also, as a reasonable person, she must conclude that having our daughter’s bed in the same bedroom as the GH’s may not be the best arrangement. Our son’s bed is a mattress on a floor in a different bedroom.  GH didn’t take the care to duplicate the comfortable surroundings our kids enjoyed at home. By the looks of the photos the kids show me and the descriptions, it sounds more like a flop house.

GH’s mom has gone overboard to compensate. She’s been cooking meals for GH and my kids, doing their laundry and stepping it up to ensure that all is spic and span for the Guardian’s visit. Apparently she’s fighting the only way she can – with cleaning supplies.  She has not quite realized that she is not going to get custody and all the efforts that she puts forth demonstrate that her son is even more incapacitated in the realm of parenting.

It is laughable. The extent to which he is going to demonstrate he is involved in our kids day to day life is now on display for the town to see (and the guardian, should she happen to visit). He’s rallied his family to show up at our sons’ ball games, so now our son has his own large cheering section! Good for our son, but the motives are highly suspect.

The guardian will call our witnesses, who will each testify that we are suitable and sane parents. I am confident his mother has prepared all the town to proclaim that GH is a stand up citizen and that it would destroy our children to be uprooted. My allies will assert that I am a better parent and that our kids will be surrounded by loving family in their new location.  Our witnesses will essentially cancel each other out.

Now the biggest decision of our children’s lives will be made by a woman who will have over the course of her investigation, spent just a fraction of a month with them. She’ll have a few hours of interviews, observations and reviewing documents. In the end, it will take her a few hours to write her report and issue her recommendation which the court will follow.   In a matter of weeks, this war will be over.

I fear for the safety of our children while in his care and I will fight to the end to protect them but I have no notion that there will be any winner in this war.

Getting there from here

I drive along and that the lyrics from Talking Heads song, Once in a LIfetime  pops in my head, “And you may ask your self, well, ‘how did I get here?'”

How did I get here here to Mapdot, USA? There are generally three categories of people who live here. Those who are from here, those who are from near here and those who relocated.

Those who are from here have family that goes back generations. Family friendships go back far and regardless of how old someone is, they talk about high school, going so far as to pull yearbooks out to reference the subject of the current gossip. GH and his family are from here.

Those who are from near to here relocated to the area because the may have graduated from the regional university or they found some reason to escape their own home town and this was a safe and comfortable distance.

Those who are not from here usually got here the way I did. By marriage and subsequent relocation. The area is very rural and has very little industry other than the regional university, a couple of junior colleges and the regional hospital which tends to draw professionals to the area.

With beautiful rolling hills and a large national forrest and lakes, the area is ideal for outdoorsy hunter types and as a result draws some tourists to the area. Other tourists come to enjoy wine from the local wineries. The area is ideal for growing grapes and a couple decades ago there were some pioneers who blazed a trail and created a new industry. And that is how I got here.

GH and I bought a vineyard and grew a small regional farm in to a large tourist attraction. He was responsible for all the farming and viticulture areas of the business (the outdoor/man work) and I was responsible for the branding and sales channels. Our business grew and now is an established stop for many tourists in the area. It is like our third child that he will get custody of. I will not be engaged in the business or able to benefit from it financially. And I don’t want any part of it because it is the symbol of deception and the place where he would court and entertain his prospective partners. It makes me sick to see our dream as the backdrop for his fantasy land.

As a result, my time here is over. I need to get my life back, the life that was on course before I took a detour and trusted the GH to lead us here into his web of lies. I don’t want our kids raised in this environment and I’m ready to fight for my rights to leave.

The next place I go will be intentional and I will know exactly how I got there.

Scheduling Bravery

“Honey, we need to talk. Your dad is a lying son of a bitch and likes to have his penis in other mens’ assholes.” No, that probably isn’t  the way I should break the news to the kids. But, the news is going to have to come out. I want GH to tell the kids. I have wanted him to tell them for months, but he’s a coward. Not just a run of the mill coward, but a delusional, narcissistic coward.  He’s  basically a trifecta of stupid and lives in his own fantasy land.

Unfortunately, the inevitable has happened. Maybe I am paritially to blame, but I wont take full credit. The word is out about GH. The king of Mapdot is gay. People know, partially because I have told some friends. But also because GH has his gay ON. He is out and proud with a few folks and has been to the gay bar just north of Mapdot in the Collegtown. He’s also been entertaining his potential partners and their crew at the business. In Mapdot, when something like this breaks, it’s worthy of discussion around the bars, the ball fields, the kitchen tables, and god forbid, now the playground.

I received a call from a friend of mine whose daughter plays with my daughter. Apparently word is out amongst the 8 year olds that “her dad is gay and that is why they are divorcing.” Dare I even ask if an 8 year old really knows what gay is? With what’s on television and the bluntness in which people talk, I can assume that the kids all have a fairly good idea of what gay is. And now my fear is how those kids will confront my daughter. It may range from the mundane description, “her dad loves men like my dad loves women.” They might kick it up a notch with a description, “her daddy kisses boys. ewww. groosssss!” Or my biggest fear, which is probably more likely to occur, is that there will be full on bullying by a bunch of ignorant children who have bigots for parents and are utter homophobes who can string together articulate descriptions of how gays ‘do it.’

As much as I want to don the cloak of cowardness that GH has worn so well, I can’t just ignore this subject. I can’t leave my children unprepared for the social battles they will face. They need some mental preparation but most important, they need the truth. Well, a version of the truth that is age appropriate and gives them the security and confidence to go forward and not be victims.

In a perfect world, GH would sit down with our children and admit to them that he was a gay. He would tell them that he loves them very much but that he can’t continue to be dishonest with about who he is and that it is time that he live a life that allows him to be who he is. He will explain to them that he was weak and afraid to tell anyone he was gay. That he spent his whole life lying to people because he was afraid about how people would react. He’d tell them gently that not everyone in the world thinks that gay people should live an open life and that he was afraid of people being mean to him and saying hurtful things. He and I would then tell the kids together that they may face some people like the ones their dad was afraid of. They may find that they have friends or their friends parents may say mean things. But we will reassure them that daddy still loves them and that nothing has changed for them except that mommy and daddy are getting divorced but we will still be the best parents ever.

So, back to the drawing board for things to tell the kids. My brutal honesty and bluntness will probably do more damage than good to my kids’ evolving sense of self and security (note to self, double up on their therapist appointments). My out loud voice will probably say something caring and rational along the lines of, “You know how mommy and daddy are getting divorced, right? Well it is time you know the reason and unfortunately your dad has been too scared to talk to you about it. Dad’s had a secret his whole life and has been very, very scared about how people would feel about him if they ever found out the truth. In fact, he was so afraid of being honest that he never told me or your grandparents. He’s kept it to himself and it has been very hard on him.  You know what gay is, right? We have gay friends and they come visit us so you know that there is nothing wrong with them. And you also know how some people make fun of them and say mean, hurtful things. Well, Your dad is just like them. He is gay. There is nothing wrong with your dad and he still loves you very much. He will always be the same dad to you that he has been. So if your friends or your friends parents say mean things to you or about your dad, please know that it has nothing to do with you.”

Perhaps I am a coward, but at least I will be an honest one, which is more than I can say for GH. Now, off to the calendar to schedule my moment of bravery, knowing that this moment will be a demarcation in their lives. It will be the line in their lives separating “before we knew dad was gay” and “after mom told us dad was gay.”

Impractical Desires

I wouldn’t say I obsess about GI Joe, but I think of him often and fondly. With the passing of Memorial Day, I have been thinking of all the families whose lives were forever altered as their loved one gave the ultimate sacrifice. I am so fortunate to know GI Joe and am so inspired by him. I also know he is alive and well and not just because I saw that video. It is because he finally was able to send me an email!

When I saw his name in my inbox my heart skipped a couple of beats. It was short and simple. Just enough to let me know he’s at a place where he has access to internet.

The months of wondering if he would ever reach out to me finally came to an end. His job is secret and my life is dramatic so once those short conversations to catch up came to a conclusion, the subject of our conversation narrowed to the one topic we can talk about with full disclosure albeit with no immediate resolution. We are both extremely attracted to each other and are compatible and given the opportunity would be banging on a regular basis.

It is utterly impractical for us to even plan a reunion and silly to think we have a future together because of the sheer number of variables we have to work with. Yet, amidst all the chaos and impracticality of a relationship, I am content with things the way they are: long distance silences followed by occasional cyber flirting and then punctuated by anticipation of rocking hot, porn star sex.