Oh No.

Anyone see the movie “Stepmom“? It is such a good movie. Susan Sarandon plays a mom extraordinaire who is divorced from a pretty good guy played by Ed Harris. Ed Harris gets engaged to Julia Roberts. There are two kids, a 13 year old girl and a 7 year old boy (or something like that) that are in a shared custody arrangement. Susan Sarandon gets cancer and the family has to come together, despite the differences between the two powerful women in the story. I have watched this movie probably a dozen times. And at the end I always bawl. I think being a stepmom and watching it brings up different feelings than it would for others, but still, I highly recommend.

A little history: TW and PT’s mom (I will call her X) never got married. He was in the Marines, and as Marines do, frequented the local watering hole when he was stationed here or there. X was a frequent lurker at the watering hole, hoping to catch a Marine or two. They got together whenever TW was in town, and at one point she moved to AZ when he was stationed there. The truth of the matter is that they didn’t really get along all that well, but they liked having sex. Clearly they had unprotected sex because PT was the result of this on-again, off-again relationship. X announced she was pregnant. TW said she needed to decide what to do, and he would be on board. X decided to keep the baby and TW left the Marines (he had done his required term). They moved in together and TW supported her through her pregnancy. He wanted to see if marriage should be an option for them. When the baby was born, X sounds like she had post-partum depression, because the story goes that she didn’t get out of bed. TW was in grad school and working, he would feed everyone breakfast and get back early evening. X would still be in bed, the baby would be screaming in a filthy diaper, the house would be a wreck. TW would clean up, cook dinner, feed everyone, and the whole thing would start again the next day. Finally he started taking the baby to his mom’s during the day so that she would get some TLC since X seemed to be unable to parent.

Things got even worse. TW and X started fighting like cats and dogs. TW ended up moving out and there was a horrific court battle over custody. As is the case many times, the courts sided with X and she got much more custody than TW. Over the years TW started getting more and more custody and currently it is split 50/50. Some highlights of X’s behavior:

  • Called Child Protective Services on TW when PT was 2 years old and launched a huge child abuse investigation which was thrown out due to lack of evidence. But not until after they interviewed TW’s co-workers, the teachers, family members, etc. Totally humiliating and horrible. X said that PT came home with a cigarette burn on her arm (TW doesn’t smoke) and that her vagina was always sore and red when she got back from a visit with him. The doctors concluded that the sore vagina was due to long soaks in cheap bubble bath at X’s house. The “cigarette burn” was actually a burn from X’s kitchen. X even called TW towards the end of the saga to apologize, saying she had no idea it would get so out of control. She admitted that she lied.
  • X put TW in jail for the weekend. It was TW’s official weekend for custody, and he was on his way to pick PT up on Friday after work. He called X when he was on the way, and said he was 20 minutes out. X said that he should just turn around because she was taking PT to Texas for the weekend. TW said “It is MY weekend” and that he was coming to get her. So TW got to X’s house and the cops were waiting for him. He had a copy of the court order in his car (he always had to have it on him because of X’s antics) and showed the cops. X had a copy of a letter she wrote to her attorney asking permission to take PT to Texas. The letter was just a letter asking permission. The judge hadn’t even seen it, there was no court order or response. X was hysterical saying that TW was trying to kidnap her daughter. They cuffed TW and threw him in the back of the car. They said that the judge would clear it up if it really was his weekend. They carted him off to jail, and since it was Friday at 5pm, he had to wait until Monday morning to speak to the judge to get released.
  • She called CPS on me. When TW and I first moved in together, PT was in kindergarten. I arrived home from work and there was a note on the door, saying that CPS had come by for a home check. We were to call within 24 hours. We called, and they said there had been an anonymous complaint and that an investigation was launched. We went through about a month of interviews and visits and they threw the case out. One day the CPS social worker stopped by unannounced and it was like a Norman Rockwell scene: hot chocolate and board games in front of the fire, Grandfather was over for the day, dog sleeping on the hearth. They even said that when they visited X’s house, they were more concerned about the child’s wellbeing because of the filth and bad neighborhood that they lived in. I know it was an anonymous “tip” but who else would have called CPS?
  • There was a court assessment for changing custody. Luckily X was too stupid to realize you cannot tell a 5 year old to lie because they will usually fuck it up. In the court document it is recorded that PT said to the court assessor, “My mommy made me promise that I would tell you that I don’t like my dad and that I don’t want to live with him anymore”. Ha!
  • We asked X if we could take PT a few hours early on a Friday so we could take her to Disneyland for her birthday. X said it would be fine so we bought a non-refundable package travel deal. Then two weeks before we were supposed to go, I sent an e-mail reminding her and she said that she never gave us permission. She said that she was throwing a big birthday party for PT and the invitations were already out. Mind you, we were picking up PT a couple of hours early on a FRIDAY. (We were going to take PT out of 1st grade for the day). X claimed that the party was at 9am on a school day. But in any event, we didn’t have formal permission so we had to lose the money, AND PT lost out on going to Disneyland.
  • More minor incidents include X keeping PT out of school whenever she gets wind that TW is going to chaperon a field trip. This has happened multiple times. TW ran a couple of girl scout meetings and PT didn’t show up on those days. She never brings her to team practice for sports, never checks her homework, says horrible things about me and TW to PT on a frequent basis (for example she told PT that her dad didn’t want her, and that he tried to force her to have an abortion).

The last two or three years, things have calmed down quite a bit. X got a real job (prior jobs were day-care aide, changing poopie diapers) as a 2nd grade teacher. She started allowing PT to participate in after school activities and TW and X have even been amicable enough that they call each other for help if one or the other is busy and need transportation for PT. Which has been HUGE. I have even met X for lunch a couple of times. I thought it would soften her up a bit, and I think it did. And we actually had a pretty nice time. I realized that if circumstances were different, we may have even had a friendship.

X has breast cancer. I found out yesterday. I feel so awful and guilty because I used to have horrible, horrible thoughts about the woman. Like wishing she would disappear. Wishing she would meet some guy and run away forever. Wanting to plant drugs in her house so she would go to jail. (I don’t know if I can even type the next one…) Hoping that she would die in a plane crash. My life would be SO much easier if she didn’t exist. That is how I felt daily when I first got engaged to TW. To the point that I wished I had known what a bitch she was because I would have rethought the whole marriage/stepmom thing.

But as I say, things have really gotten better.

I saw X this morning at an event for the girls. TW told me last night that she has cancer (she told him), but being a GUY, he really didn’t know what to say to her. So I talked to her about what was going on, what her prognosis is, what her treatment plan is. She puts on a pretty good public face. She just found out on Wednesday. I was tearing up and then she started too. I gave her a big hug. I told her that if she needed ANYTHING, I would be there for her. Her family is far away, and she isn’t seeing anyone. Her only friends are work friends. She doesn’t have a good support network.

I just feel awful. I hope she makes it out alright. I know that women survive breast cancer all the time now, but it is so SCARY. And I worry about PT if her mom gets really sick. They are so attached to each other, a bond that I have always been really jealous of. And one that I know I won’t be able to replicate if something happens to X. I wonder what our lives will be like, if X dies and PT lives with us full time. I wonder if I will be able to handle it. I wish I could look into the future right now.

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7 Responses to “Oh No.”

  1. missedconceptions Says:

    OMG. She is very young, isn’t she? Cancer is such a horrible disease, I wouldn’t even wish it on X.

    That being said, I don’t blame you for having conflicted emotions.

    Are you still going forward with the next IVF? Clearly you do not have enough stress in your life right now.

  2. Rebecca Says:

    Oh hon, I can’t even imagine how you are feeling right now. Just sending you a huge (((HUG))) xxx

  3. Freyja Says:

    Wow. That’s huge.

    I recomend these people.

  4. Kona Says:

    I saw that movie Stepmom several times. Wow, you are living it. You have been through so much with X and all the drama. But, this turn of events is so scary. I hope she fights a good fight. It does give you a lot to think about. I am glad things have gotten somewhat better between you two. X will need lots of support. You must be feeling a lot of mixed emotions right now, too. Tough situation all around.((Hugs))

  5. Lizzy Says:

    Wow.

    I just wanted to say that you are a very good person and you’re very kind to be there for her during her time of need. It doesn’t sound like she’d be there for you if you were the one with breast cancer.

  6. docgrumbles Says:

    Despite her past behavior, I hope she gets through it.

  7. Laura NaComLeavMo Says:

    That is tough. I hope you can all get through the tough times & that X remains well.

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