It was my scheduled day to pick Little Hart up from school as it has been for years. I typically leave at 2:15 to make the 30 minute drive. Just before leaving I uploaded my post to Facebook when I noticed Little Hart's status posted two hours earlier: Can't wait to see my brother in 30 minutes! Um interesting, since Jax, home for less than 24 hours - left over two hours earlier to meet Greta for lunch. No communication from anyone the lunch involved Little Hart.
I shared the status post with my Hubby, asking his guidance - he responded;" hold tight, Greta must of forgot to share with us the schedule change." At 2:35 Greta called - she had taken Little Hart out of school to have lunch with her and Jax - he would bring her home. No need for me to pick Little Hart up.
I quickly got off the phone - looked at Raylan - I guess I should feel lucky she even called. If I hadn't glanced at Little Hart's Facebook post I would've been more than halfway to the school by the time I received the call. I know, I hadn't actually made the unnecessary trip, but my blood pressure was boiling!
This isn't the first time this has happened in 14 years. The first time really left an indelible mark that I realized Tuesday I have never let go of the hurt. Every incident since feels like I've cut open an old wound that's never fully healed.
The first time was early on in my Step Mom journey. I went to pick Jax up from school on our scheduled day. I arrived at my usual spot 15 minutes early. The bell rang, kids flooded out of the school. 15 minutes went by - then 30 - no Jax. I called Greta a dozen times - no answer. Forty five minutes later I was in full panic mode - my step son was lost on my watch! I walked the entire school grounds. One hour after school had let out, I saw Jax's first grade teacher - she informed me that Greta had called that morning - Jax had stayed home sick.
The tears just started welling up and running down my check as I tried to keep my cool. She had time to call the school, but couldn't find time to call me? Knowing that I pick him up without fail on our scheduled days. I left Greta an abrupt message - appreciate you letting me know that Jax stayed home today - click. Surprisingly that message prompted an immediate call back. I chose not to answer.
I arrived home, to find Greta in my driveway with both the kids. She invited herself into my home. I immediately went into the bathroom - I didn't want her to see how deeply hurt I was by the incident.
Several days passed - my Hubby asked me to please call her back - she desperately wanted to apologize. Reluctantly I called. I listened to Greta say - I'm sorry, but in my defense here's the reasons why I didn't call: what I was doing was more important than calling you, your time and your sanity wondering if Jax was kidnapped, hurt or lost.At least that's how it felt. I was more hurt, not less when the phone call ended.
It has happened a number of times since then. When Tuesday originally unfolded I didn't recognize how much of my anger was wrapped up in the past - it wasn't just that day I was feeling it was a dozen.
Little Hart arrived home a short time later. She said "Were you already on the way to pick me up when my Mom called? - I know she called you late with the change in plans." With that simple acknowledgement from a 14 year old my anger and hurt quickly dissipated. Had acknowledgement been what I had been waiting 12 years for? Yes.
Most times I feel like an after thought to Greta when it comes to the kids. Yes, she is their mother and doesn't need my permission to pull her kids out of school, but a simple phone call when that choice affects me in no way interferes with her right as their Mom. No call or an extremely late call feels like a hammer coming down - reminding me that my place is more like a hired hand.
Acknowledging my hurt doesn't change what has happened nor will it stop it from happening in the future. Instead, acknowledgement gives me permission to heal an old wounds. I know I am an important part of our kids life. I don't need Greta to validate it in her words or actions. My self worth and value comes from within. I also know that being respectful of a Step Mom's involvement doesn't diminsh my role and rights as the mother.