I took a deep breath and hit send…
“Thank you so much for your time and patience yesterday. I’ve looked at the trial schedule & must say it looks complicated. Our son has been on a consistent schedule for 5 years with no need for calendars to be posted in his room to remember what day he is sharing with each of us. I can’t even imagine how he would adjust to this.”
“Rather than waste anymore of anyone’s time I am writing to let you know that I have decided to say no to the trial period. It is unfortunate that we now have to move forward with the best interests evaluation and trial, but I can not agree to something I am not 100% comfortable with for my son just to avoid it.”
Though I knew I’d made the right decision, it still scared the shit out of me. The idea of having my son interviewed by the Court riddled me with guilt. For six months I’d done a great job at shielding him from what was going on, but this time I couldn’t and it was his own father’s doing.
The only way for me to protect his future now was to trust my gut and move forward with going to trial, even if it meant being put under a microscope on a stand. I could speak my truth, win and keep custody and visitation the way it was, or I could lose and my son’s life would change forever.
I’d fought for his best interests this long – I couldn’t give in to my ex and give up now.
After receiving my email, the mediator let the judge know that our mediation was unsuccessful and the Court made preparations for the best interest evaluation. I sat and tried to figure out how I could explain to my son why he was going to be questioned by a stranger about his life and current living arrangements. I really had no clue how to, which only added to my anxiety about the entire situation.
Luckily fate stepped in before I had to initiate that conversation.
My bullshit custody battle began one year ago as I opened a manila envelope, and it ended after I opened the following email…
“After much thought I will accept Melysa’s offer of changing the parenting schedule to Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of every week. I feel very strongly against including our son in any part of the process and therefore will not pursue the additional time I had been seeking. I will wait to hear from both of you so that we can continue to move towards a resolution in this matter.”
I had to read it three times and pinch myself before it fully registered that my ex had officially backed down. The battle was over and my son was safe. As tears of joy streamed down my face I called my mother with trembling hands to share the good news.
“It’s over, Mom. We did it!” I choked out through sobs when she answered her phone.
“Really?!” she asked.
“Yes. Really. Aidan is safe.”
And then we were both sobbing. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
We sobbed from sheer fucking joy. From pride. From relief. From six months of our family having to be so strong to protect ourselves and a little boy’s future to finally being able to have a moment of vulnerability again.
I sobbed for never backing down. For realizing and finally believing what an amazing mother I am. For standing up to a man that controlled me for years, and for finally breaking free from his grasp. He and his lawyer had tried their best to bully me, and break me, and against all the odds I’d come out the other side stronger than I’d ever been.
He couldn’t intimidate me anymore. There’d be no more threats. I was finally free.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
- Paulo Coelho
One year ago I accepted my destiny. I stayed true to myself. I found my courage. I fought for what was best for a little boy that could not fight for himself.
Happy Bullshit Custody Battle-versary to me!!
If you’d like to learn more about my custody battle, check out the following posts: