Tag Archives: visitation

To The Man Who Demands It All

“Jake,”

I’m writing in the hopes that you will understand how important gymnastics is to Em. NOT to me, to our daughter.

Em has been taking gymnastics classes for a little over 1 year. It started out as a gift from my parents, a trial summer once-a-week-class to see if she enjoyed it. Em loved it SO much she dropped dance in favor of twice-weekly sessions. She learned quickly and worked extra on her own at home and at my parents’ house to improve her skills. This fall she was invited to compete in 3 competitions. At her current level, the gymnasts are awarded ribbons of color instead of the standard number score you see in televised meets. There were 5 different colored ribbons you could earn based on the individual’s performance and execution of the apparatus: rainbow ribbon was the best, pink 2nd, purple 3rd, blue 4th and green 5th. Out of three competitions with 4 apparatus at each, Em earned 6 purple ribbons, 4 pink ribbons and 2 rainbow ribbons! Her personal best was the rainbow ribbon she earned for her beam routine at her final competition which was an improvement from the purple she earned at the first competition! She was so excited and proud of herself for earning that ribbon!

I’ve attached videos of each of her apparatus, the best of all three competitions.

Em has been invited to move up to the next level, almost tripling the amount of time she currently spends in the gym and making her eligible for competitions with formal numbered scoring. Em knows how much time and work this will take, but she wants to do it. Please reconsider your request to have her with you all summer vacation. There are intensive gymnastics camps that are available during the summer that really help the gymnasts to grow and strengthen their skills. While attending both camps is not mandatory, attending at least one is recommended. If Em cannot attend an intensive camp, it can really set her back among her peers, increasing the amount of work she has to put in to catch up to their level and decreases the likelihood that she’ll be invited to more competitions.

I ask you to talk to Em about her gymnastics the next time you two speak on the phone. Listen to the excitement in her voice when she talks about what she’s learning. And if possible, ask her to show you IN PERSON what she can do when she visits this Christmas. Some of the things she can do, like back walkovers, she learned outside of the gym; many of her peers in her level cannot do that yet.

Em knows that I am sending you this email with the videos, so be sure to tell her if you enjoyed watching them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My not-so-serious Christmas dilemma

The last couple of days I haven’t been able to get Christmas out of my head. Not (just) because every department store except Nordstrom’s is blasting the holiday music already, but because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year and it’s throwing my core belief system off-balance.

I’m a firm believer in attending church on Christmas when it lands on a Sunday. You stop opening presents, you change out of your Christmas Eve pjs and you get your butt in a pew. If you consider yourself a Christian and your church is having worship on Christmas Sunday, you go to church!

Here’s my dilemma: as of last summer, “Jake” now has “Em” from 2:00 PM Christmas day until the night before school starts again…

If Em flies to her dad’s house, she can take a 5:05 PM flight out of John Wayne airport and be at his house around 8:00 PM; there are no earlier flights on Christmas day after 2:00 PM. If Jake chooses to drive down and pick her up, then they’ll leave town at 2:00 PM and not reach his house until 8:00 AM the next day at the earliest if he drives safely.

My stress is this:

I haven’t heard from Jake on his pick-up plans for Christmas day. Lately he doesn’t talk to me or respond to anything unless it’s Em calling him in response to his text message to me asking her to call him. And every time they talk, Em and Jake talk about how much closer Christmas is, but never about how she’s going to get to his house. I don’t know if he’s already purchased her airline tickets yet; if he hasn’t, it’s gonna cost him a pretty penny to do so closer to Christmas (currently nothing less than $300 round-trip). If he pulls what he pulled last year, I won’t know for certain when she’s coming home and I’ll have to pay half of a very expensive last-minute return ticket because he didn’t plan (again) in advance. But, at least I’ll be able to spend Christmas morning with Em and my family and still attend church.

If Jake chooses to drive down to pick up Em, then do I still go to church in the morning? My Christmas morning with Em will either be shortened or we’ll have to get up a couple of hours earlier than usual. As it is, I don’t go to bed on Christmas Eve (or, rather, Christmas morning) until around 2:00 AM because I attend the 11:00 PM service at my church on Christmas Eve (non-negotiable in my mind), then have to wait for Em to fall asleep before Santa delivers her presents. Getting up an extra 2 hours (the average worship time including post-worship mingling) to guarantee that I get a decent Christmas with my daughter would probably mean I’d be functioning on half of my brain cells.

A part of me wants to talk with Jake about his travel ideas for Em, but knowing that he doesn’t like talking to me and has yet to discuss anything about Christmas with me, I kinda just want to wait until he starts the conversation. As a father of two in his 30s, one could expect that he would already have the round-trip plane tickets purchased (being that Christmas is just a little over a month away)¬†and he’s just so busy with his infant son that he’s forgotten to send me the confirmation email.

Ha!

Probably time to start saving money now to bail out his butt when he realizes that the plane tickets are so expensive and I’d rather pay half than get to deal with Em’s realization that her father has, once again, been late on the planning aspect of his time with her and her hopes of meeting her little brother are dashed.

An Annual Death

For about 49 weeks of the year, I am in full bloom. I am in a “go-go-go-go” mode that rarely allows me to catch my breath or to stop and reallyevaluate where I am. Then for about 2 or 3 weeks I fantasize about the few weeks I’ll be free to do whatever I choose because “Em” will be with “Jake.” I get excited, I make plans, I tell everyone about my upcoming un-mom time.

And then I die.

It’s like my senses just stop sensing. Things I was excited about before Em left are suddenly a burden to follow through with. My vision stops seeing the fun things I could be doing and just sees the end of the tunnel where Em stands once again, waiting for me to be in charge of her life again. Jokes aren’t funny. Movies aren’t memorable. Days fly by, my brain barely acknowledging that they even happened. When the workday is over, I realize I haven’t made the plans I thought up in my head and it’s too late to do anything about them. My friends and I make empty promises to do something together while Em is away.

I flounder my way through my few “single” days, doing nothing to improve my situation. I tell no one of my death. I just wait.

Wait for my life to return to the hustle and bustle that surrounds a family with children. Wait for the crazy, busy normalcy to force me to forget the weeks before.

The weeks I died.