I took my 11-year-old step daughter out for a much-needed haircut yesterday. You see, she had long hair but refused to take care of it. We repeatedly asked her to brush it, but it continued to stay a tangled mess. We warned her over and over again over several months that if she continued to neglect her hair, we would take her to get it cut. Still, she refused to take care of it. So, hubby and I decided it was time to get it cut.
C was utterly distraught over the idea I was taking her to get her hair cut. She slammed stuff around, stomped to and fro, and did her best to show her anger over what was to take place. It was okay. I've had children and adults upset with me before. It wasn't going to change the decision hubby and I made. At her age I probably would have been just as upset, if not more. But, C went further by emailing her mom and telling her mom the horrible thing that was about to take place. The ex wanted no part of our cutting her precious daughter's hair. She wanted to be in complete control of their 3 daughters and make every decision when it came to them. This is how it's always been. This is how it will probably always be. The girls are like possessions to her. Something to use in a tug-of-war with their father. What happens if we aren't tugging from the other side, though? The ex falls flat on her face.
Hubby stayed at home with 4 of the 7 children, and I took C and 2 boys with me. The whole time in the hairdresser's chair C would glance my direction and give me one of those "burn a hole through you" glares. I smiled at her and told her how cute her hair was shaping up. It truly was going to be an absolutely gorgeous haircut, one that showed off her beautiful face and eyes. She didn't want any part of it, though.
After 30 minutes she stepped down from the chair with the cutest haircut. The problem? The scowl on her face was dreadful. I hoped and prayed she would come around and see the beauty of it, and she did. After 30 minutes she was coming around. We met a friend for coffee and smoothies. My friend and I, and even the 2 boys, continuously told C how wonderful she looked. A smile emerged, followed by laughing and her running her hands through her hair. By the time we got home, C was back to her usual bubbly self. That is, until she called her mother.
I probably don't have to say what happened as most people can guess. The ex was livid. The "how dare you" attitude was in full swing. I know, of course, C played this to the hilt. She let the ex know how distraught and embarrassed she was. She manipulated both sides to reap the benefits. That is one attribute of children caught in the middle of a divorce. C came out of her room after speaking with her mom with her hood over her head, hiding the beautiful hair cut she had recently come to like. There was no question about it … the ex told C exactly what she thought about it and how she felt about hubby and I. VERY WRONG. But, very much out of our control.
Being the naive optimist, I wrote the ex a level-headed, well thought out letter stating my position and my continued desire for a working relationship. I knew she could come back with a nasty response, as is usually the case, but I hoped she would see the value in having an amiable relationship for the sake of the children. What did I get? A nasty response.
I'm heartbroken. Not over the fact she continues to be insolent to hubby and I, but over the fact she refuses to work with us for the betterment of the children. As a mother, I just don't understand how it's possible to say you love your children, yet use them as pawns and continually put them in the middle of you and an ex. I don't understand why the ex's goal wouldn't be what best for her children. I guess I am truly naive, but quickly learning that there are people out there who have to have chaos around them to feel "normal," and who have to be in the middle of "a tangly mess" to feel important in life.