This past couple of weeks...wow. I still don't know if I can articulate what it's been like.
I know I shared before that lots of anniversaries were coming up...and not good ones. July 3rd, the anniversary of John leaving. July 5th, the day I found out he'd had an affair. July 7th...our wedding anniversary.
But I have to back up even further to set the stage. A while back, a couple months ago, John's girlfriend broke up with him. He was devastated, to say the least. As weird as it is, I felt bad for him. He had, for whatever reason, fallen head over heels for this girl, all logic aside. I know what it feels like, to have the person you think is behind you no matter what walk away from you. Now, to be fair, my experience was real and life altering and his, like the rest of his relationship with this girl, was...not exactly something to write home about. But when someone's hurting, it doesn't really matter if it makes logical sense, right? He was hurting, and that was all there was to it. I wanted to help, because no matter what he's done to me, I wouldn't wish feeling that way on anyone.
And with this chick out of the picture, (or mostly out of the picture, foreshadowing, foreshadowing! Haha!) John improved. So much. He was bearable...even fun. He was more attentive to the kids. He made jokes at his own expense. He was kind. He apologized for things he had done. We actually got along...we spent time together and had fun and talked about lots of things and eventually, after he started to move past the devastated phase, even broached the subject of what it would look like if we got back together. I started to think that all these anniversaries may come and go and the situation would be very different than last year, maybe even a new start. I was, you could say, cautiously optimistic.
You know when you're watching a movie and the pieces all just fall into place a little too easily, where the kid is just too cute and sweet and you know without a doubt something bad is going to happen to him?
Yeah, I'm that kid in this situation. Not that I'm just too cute and sweet, but that's my character in this story, okay? It was like a perfect storm, the way all these little things fell into place to make it all fall apart again.
It turned out that John's ex, despite having gotten herself engaged to someone else, wasn't exactly a fan of him spending more time with me. I'm still not quite able to figure that one out, but who knows. Regardless, it got me all bejiggedy and I could tell it was reaching the point where John was going to have to choose what kind of life he really wanted. One with his family, or one...well, without, aside from visitation, of course.
And then this really crazy thing happened. And you could say I took it personally.
Someone called Child Protective Services and told them I was abusing the kids.
I almost didn't tell this part, because it's beyond mortifying...I mean, all I've had this year is my kids, and the fact that someone took it upon themselves to call and tell someone that could take my kids away that I was a bad parent? Well, I didn't take it well, to say the least.
I was incredibly hurt and John was incredibly angry and between the two of us, we thought of roughly a hundred people who could have done it, all without knowing any details about the allegations at all. This is when I stopped blogging...I felt like I was under attack, that anything I said or did could be picked apart and put back together to prove that I didn't deserve my kids. My head was spinning and I was suspicious of everyone, although there was one person who came to all of our minds first. I tried to be fair and give the benefit of the doubt, thinking it could have been an overzealous VBS worker or someone who misunderstood Jace on a chatty day. (He's a talker, you know)
In case you hadn't noticed, what people think about me is really important to me. It shouldn't be, but it is, and whoever launched this attack hit me right in the heart. I fell apart, a little, although I tried to hold it together and got a list of people who could speak to my parenting together for the case worker.
The timing of it all was crazy, and it was days after the initial visit before the case worker made it out to interview John and me. When she did, she told me she would read the allegations and then we could discuss details.
So she started to read the list. And she read and she read, and my jaw just dropped open. It was so long that if any of it had been true, my kids would have been in the hospital or possibly dead. Jace alone was supposed to have about 12-14 bruises in various locations on his body. As she finished and looked at me expectantly, I just shook my head.
"I don't even know what to say." I stammered, almost laughing at the insanity. "I mean...he's a boy. He gets bruises. He flips over his bunk bed. He dive bombs over the couch. But...I don't remember any of the bruises you're talking about."
She nodded and finally, her composure relaxed. She said that she saw Jace within 24 hours of the call, and he didn't have a single one of the bruises that the person who called reported. 24 hours. So there was no time for the supposed bruises to fade, which means...they never existed.
She went on to speak to John and then we both stood on the porch, talking to her. John asked her if she thought it could be malicious and she just nodded, then asked us the same question. Then she went on to tell us that if we ever found out who called in (the call was anonymous), they could prosecute, but as things stood, she would just be closing the case, as she didn't see any reason to keep it open.
As John and I sat in the kitchen after the case worker left, it hit us. Whoever called did it just to be spiteful and miserable. They knew it was completely fabricated. Truthfully, that upsets me more than anything else. I could have forgiven someone who was truly concerned, but knowing that someone is just messing with me is tough. There's no reason for this...no logic, no sensibility. Just spite.
And while getting the case against me closed was a weight off my shoulders, it still burns me up knowing that someone would attack my parenting in that way. Then, as if that wasn't enough, John let his ex girlfriend know just how much time he'd been spending with me, and she wasn't a fan. So he told her he wouldn't anymore, and that was that for our possibly burgeoning re-relationship. Which...yeah, I kind of opened myself up for that, so I can't complain too much.
And it all, the CPS allegations, the crumbling of the possibility of my marriage working out...it all happened literally days before the anniversary of John's leaving. So I was in a really good place going into that weekend, as I'm sure you can guess.
That was sarcasm, of course.
So I took those days to just...think, to be sad, to mourn, to look at where I am now and where I was a year ago...on the surface, ironically similar places. I'd been, in essence, left all over again, and on top of that, I felt like someone was out to get me.
But then I took all these days to think. And I'm thinking it's okay. A bookend, if you will. Yes, I'm a big pushover who put herself in the position to get crushed all over again, but then again...I'll never have to wonder if I did everything I could for my family. I was, in simple terms, an idiot to consider giving John another chance after everything he's done. I mean, what did I think would happen? This is the guy who left me when I was three months pregnant.
Well, redemption, for starters. I feel strongly that everyone can be redeemed. Turned out that the glimpses I was seeing of redemption were just that...glimpses, potential. He's not there, yet, and to be honest maybe he won't ever be. I opened myself up to getting hurt again, as silly as it was, because I needed to know for sure. I don't feel bad for forgiving him. I don't feel bad for giving him a chance. I don't feel bad for expecting more from him, either. I don't feel bad for being disappointed for me and for my kids but most of all for him that he keeps make these choices that take him further from us. I don't feel bad, at this point, for moving on.
But it is what it is, and there are good things. I've made it a year on my own, and while it would have been nice if God's plan was to rebuild my family, I have no doubt that I can make it another year, and another, if that's what's in the cards for me. And hopefully someday a year will come when I'm not doing it on my own anymore. I have no doubt that that person, whoever he is, will be ideal for my family, will be handpicked to come alongside me and share both the joys and the burdens of my life with my children. And I hope it will be someone who will guard my heart so I don't have to.
For the record, though. I would be okay with it being sooner rather than later. I'm ready to have something good happen next July so I can stop dreading these anniversaries. I'm glad I have a year before I have to worry about it again. And most of all, I would really, really like it if I never ever heard from CPS again.
So there. That's what happened on my blog vacation. I know, I know, you're all jealous. =)
18 hours ago