I’m contacted fairly often by those seeking advice, support, or just those in need of someone who can relate. Sometimes the messages are fairly calm, collected, orderly, and just seeking a general ‘how to’ answer. Sometimes, they aren’t. Sometimes they are desperate. Terrified. Confused. Panicky. And guess what? Throughout this journey I’ve been the one in search of guidance, sometimes calmly, sometimes desperately, but I never stopped seeking. I can relate. What I found though was the most incredible truth all along…the truth no one wants to face….the truth that is blinding TRUTH any way you slice it – “What will be will be”.
You can guide a situation, sort of…you can influence it, sort of…but when people tell you ‘what will be will be, don’t worry about it’…I get that you want to punch them in the face. I was you. Those that contact me most frequently (and I love them by the way) know that I often respond with SOME sort of “it’s all a part of your story” to which they’ve PROBABLY rolled their eyes a gabillion times, and I can’t blame them 🙂
But they know I mean it when I say it, because it happened to me. I had to learn the hard way that my timing is NOT always best, and that no matter what your spiritual beliefs are, in my experience, there is someone else writing this story, I am simply a character. I most certainly get to choose how I behave and how I react that things…and that IS a very strong realization and power to have (the power you have over your SELF), but that is about it. We don’t puppeteer people like we wish we could.
That being said, no matter where you are in your journey, you can benefit from this one little promise of mine: It’s all a part of your story, and you’re right where you’re supposed to be right now, today.
When we’re having sunny weather in life, this is just a nice little reminder. ‘Ahh yes, how nice for me, right where I should be. I’m skipping along to the tune of this truth, because hey, I deserve it. Of course I should be here, happy and fulfilled are glorious..and I can get used to days like this’, you tell yourself.
But then the clouds show up and we friggen panic. Oh dear God what’s happening? Is that a gust of wind? A raindrop? Before we know it it’s a full blown shitstorm and we have no idea how we will survive. I’m not making fun, I always did it too! I believe it’s because we’ve trained ourselves to apply truths to good situations and toss them aside when we’re drowning. Not on purpose, we just get so blinded by what could go wrong, we don’t always think clearly. We don’t recognize the truths are often most powerful in BAD times.
“It’s all a part of your story” is your life preserver. It’s not there to choke you and take you down. It’s there to say you know what…things are bumpy….waves are taking me in treacherous waters, but my head is above water. You may not be sure where you’re going, you can certainly do what you know is right for you, and you should. Take deep breaths. Tread water. But trust that storms don’t last forever, and when it passes (as it ALWAYS does) there will have been a reason for it, and you will either be crippled and shivering on the shore when it’s done, or walking off with your life preserver – your unwavering truth that this was part of your story, and you’re RIGHT where you should be.
I will share a brief story with you. I don’t like to get too personal, and I have grown so much with my feelings about our BM and what she did (and didn’t do) throughout our particular journey thus far. But here are the basics. We have full custody and have for some time. It was obtained some years back due to a substance abuse issue, and mental and physical incapacity on her part. I do not need to divulge further and if you’ve followed me any length of time you know I promote respecting the other party (regardless of their actions/ behavior) and sticking to facts, especially when it comes to the written word.
But this was an ugly time for all of us (simply another TRUTH) and while I could probably pull out many stories to illustrate my point, this particular was pivotal and necessary for me to learn this valuable lesson I present you with.
To us, she had admitted to drug use and certain issues at the time, which was our main concern for her having unsupervised parenting time. She had already given us full custody several months earlier since she needed a break and we offered a better home. She has other children and a chaotic lifestyle, we all agreed it was better that he had the structure and consistency of living solely with us, while visiting her in short spurts. She accepted supervised visitation because of the drug use and the safety concerns we found, probably knowing full well IF this went to court she would have to truly own up to all of these things and could be faced with higher expectations than if we had just done this between us (that part is important, remember I said that). She also agreed to seek help for the issues.
She agreed to all of this freely and signed documents drawn up by our attorney which were submitted to court, we were done…easy, right? Not exactly. The judge said that was not a decision to be made without his involvement, and we had to go to court. As we sat in court years ago, with what would seem an open and shut case (those don’t exist in family court, by the way), we were astounded to hear not only was the case not closed as simply as it should have been, but that we were ordered to pay for a substance abuse assessment FOR her, as she was incapable, and we were the ones alleging her problem. She fully denied any parenting issues on her part, said she was ready and willing to take a drug test at any time…although she had just told the judge to his face she was doing drugs. She changed her story on court record many times about her substance abuse, and also any mental and physical ailments. And then the JUDGE turns around and says no we’re not done yet, he is basically going to give her EVERY opportunity to do the right thing. I’m in shock….ummmm how many more chances does she get?? We’ve been doing this already for far too long…I’ve been raising this child with all of me, full time already for several months and we are currently supervising her visits with him…I spent my one year anniversary doing so by the way…but…back to the point…..
You can imagine what this looks like for me. I’m drowning. I am out to sea. My mind is racing. “What PLANET am I on?!”, I thought to myself. As I’m fighting back tears, my attorney leans over to my husband and says something about how we will pay for it and make no fuss. My husband agrees, and another court date is set pending the results of this test. Except it was me who had the extra money that was to be used for this assessment. Several hundred dollars. And my tuition money for that semester. MY HARD EARNED MONEY.
I’m livid. I’m hurting. I’m devastated. I’m SHOCKED. I’m numb. I’m so pissed, I want to leave my husband and ALL this drama behind at that very moment. What on EARTH had I gotten myself into. Family court is a JOKE, I thought. I’m SICK over this. How can she just WIN like that? She is in the wrong and I’M paying for it? So I pony up the cash for the test. A thorough assessment detailing all of her drug and alcohol use for her entire life, drug tests, histories of her family members and their substance abuse, and her mental health background.
The results were astounding.
Had I known what was coming down the line, I would have actually slept. Not cried. Not fought. Not worried. Not been SO incredibly worked up at this particular storm. In short, the assessor determined our concerns to be accurate, gave her a list of things to do to get herself back on track, and suggested supervised visitation continue (this time it was by a third party- not myself and my husband).
In order to ever see her son again unsupervised, she has a list of things to do. I’ve even offered to help with a few of them along the way. They are totally doable, she just hasn’t chosen to do them….and is nearly 2 years late on it as we speak. She must also go back to this assessor, should she choose to someday…describe her progress or lack thereof, and he must reassess her (at HER cost this time) and have it cleared with the court.
Not an impossible feat, but an unlikely one, as it stands today. All we wanted was for LB to be safe, and for her to get HONEST help and put in REAL effort at personal change in order to be an active part in his life…which she CAN do, it’s simply now TOTALLY up to her to do it. No more scares with the court not understanding, no more back and forth custody/parenting time bull shit. It was final…she makes positive changes, or doesn’t. Our involvement was over. The judge knew what he was doing. Our attorney knew what she was doing. The assessor knew what he was doing. And now, we have a professional assessment, it wasn’t forced on her, nor did she have to pay for it, in black and white, on file with the court, the assessment office, and of course she has one too and so do we. It details everything she was doing and why things went the way they did, the TRUTH from her own mouth, and that she has some real issues to iron out in order to be a positive force in his life.
She spent a great deal of time saying we took her child and she basically was the victim. This assessment and how ALL of it played out is the TRUTH and one that can never be questioned. One day she will have to face that, and I have faith she will have grown enough to do so. She will have to own up to what she had done, and the fact that she was not a victim, just a troubled soul who (hopefully) chose to change to be back in her child’s life. She will ALWAYS have the option of telling him her twisted version and blaming us, OR owning her side, and making it PART OF HER STORY WITH HIM.
I do NOT share this to bash her, belittle her or speak poorly of her. Everyone has their struggles and this is simply a truthful general story from the PAST. SHE holds the key to change and her future and always will. I share this to paint you a picture. NOT every storm will end this way. But every storm has a purpose, this one certainly did. Had it ended without the storm, who knows where we’d be today. Without that last step to completely seal this thing up and make it IMPOSSIBLE for her to just waltz back in and threaten LBs safety and way of life, so many things could be different today. She now has real expectations to meet, and they are hers alone. This storm was AWFUL at the time, yet, necessary, and today looking back on it, BEAUTIFUL. Not only because it’s a part of our story, but it’s a part of hers. It may be a hurdle for her, but if she chooses to overcome it, face it, own it, and be truthful with it, what a BEAUTIFUL story it could be one day for her and Little Bear. The story of how she overcame herself, her issues, and made herself GREAT. If that doesn’t happen, it’s still a part of OUR story, the true version, the one where we had to face huge obstacles and feel constantly beaten down, but we made it. And now we are here today.
In EVERY storm you can choose to freak out and breakdown OR you can let it grow and change you and keep the faith that this is SUPPOSED to happen. When this happened to us (before the assessment) I was so upset I couldn’t stand it. I was physically sick over it. NO ONE could tell me at the time that it was ‘part of the story’ or worth it. And yet, it was.
That money is long spent, until I decided to write this blog, I quite honestly hadn’t even thought about it. I no longer harbor resentment about these things (read the previous blogs on the topic!) and I respect her as his mother, and accept many truths, withhold judgment, and work on being MY personal best. But I learned a valuable lesson along the way. Every single thing that happens to you is SUPPOSED to, and every test can become a testament. Even the UGLIEST test can become something beautiful.
When you’re upset about the other party not cooperating…it’s part of your story. When the other party doesn’t return clothes as they should, work properly with the teachers, administer proper health care and hygiene….YES it’s frustrating…and it’s just another part of your story.
You may forever hate the other party, or you may one day turn out to be a functioning blended
family…either way it is YOUR story, it’s part of YOUR story.
I’ve heard and feel for every person with a struggle. I went through them too.
And I got through them.
EVERY SINGLE THING that has happened up to this point was SUPPOSED to happen and you can take REAL comfort in knowing that EVERYTHING that will continue to happen is supposed to happen.
Because it’s part of your story. And it means something. I can literally look back today on EVERY piece of our journey and link it somewhere meaningful, therefore relieving anxieties about the future. Because when I see a storm brewing, I don’t run and take cover anymore, I withstand, knowing it’s going to refine me.
I continue to seek truths, I continue to do what *I* can, and I let the rest handle itself. BECAUSE IT WILL. Whatever will be will be indeed, but it doesn’t have to cripple us. Instead of allowing our story to break us down, try to see it from a different perspective, which you know I JUST LOVE AND ENCOURAGE.
In my darkest days I take comfort in the fact that not only will it NOT last forever, but it is shaping me, it is a part of my story. I spent a great deal of time so paralyzed by WHAT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!? WHAT MOVE SHOULD I MAKE NOW?! that I missed the point.
Today, if you’re in Hell, you’re supposed to be there. Hunker down, grit your teeth and let it make you great. Today if you’re in Heaven, you’re supposed to be there. Be THANKFUL for it, allow it to humble you and make you remember how amazing those good days are. Bad, good, or indifferent EVERY SINGLE PAGE must be there in order for your story to make sense.