I'll give him something to be concerned about.
So you know that I am very fortunate to have a law firm working on my behalf, pro bono. That means they are doing all of my legal maneuverings free of charge. I owe a huge debt to my former BFF and her awesome husband for making this happen. I quite literally shudder to think of where the kids and I would be without this help.
Anyways. Big Daddy has hired his own counsel (is it safe to say that? I sure hope so.). Hey, I'm thrilled to the gills that he can afford a lawyer. That tells me he has some discretionary income. The pool, the new car, the 50" flat screen, the zoo memberships, the new windows, the Jetson-esque washer and dryer all tell me that too, but the lawyer is really telling. (funny story about the washer and dryer, remind me to gab about that one later)
Here's what his lawyer is telling my lawyer: Big Daddy is thinking about paying child support. He's mulling it over in that head of his. He's also considering paying me some back support, since he hasn't paid a dime in just about four years now. My attorney told me, "He wants to pay the back support in installments."
Don't get me wrong: I will take it. I will take it in pennies and nickels and dimes if it means being able to stretch my income farther in order to provide more for my children. I know some people never see a cent, and that is always at the forefront of my mind: at least it's something. But then I think, "Gee...when I was in the middle of losing my house, it sure would have been nice if the mortgage company had offered to let me pay them in installments." And I also think, "Gosh...I bet if all of those companies who were after me for debt that I inherited from my dead marriage said they would take installment payments, I wouldn't have had to declare bankruptcy!" So yeah, I will take it no matter how it's paid. I'm just a wee bit bitter that child support is seen as something less serious, less SCARY than "regular" debt.
I'm willing to bet that the total amount he's being asked to pay is less than what he and the Missus are paying for a few months of daycare.
Daycare for one child, vs. four years of support for four children. I would cry if I had any tears left.
He wants to pay in installments, eh? Here's what I said to my lawyer:
"Ask his attorney if she accepts installments."
I have spent the last two weeks getting three kids ready for school, and me ready for a new job. I've written so many checks that my left hand is now frozen in a permanent, pen-clutching claw. I've purchased new shoes, been to Great Clips twice, missed one picture day already (really, Senior High? Pictures on the first day?), arranged binders, sharpened pencils and helped with homework. I've stressed about money, apologized to the kids for yet another spaghetti dinner, run to the junior high and then to the high school to get a kid signed up for track (we can't play hockey this year, so if the boy wants to run I'm going to make it happen.). Rented a French Horn, met teachers, put some money in lunch accounts, and oh yes, made sure three lovely children are up, clean and fed early enough to catch a 7:00 a.m. bus.
I do this with love, and no resentment. I do this because I am a mother, a parent, and these are my children. I do this because they have no one else on this planet who will do this for them. I do this not expecting thanks, but because it's what I signed on to do when I made each one of these babies all those years ago. I do this without help, not because I'm a martyr or because I'm all kinds of Wonder Woman, but because the person who should be helping me either doesn't give a shit or else has no clue that I could use help. I'm guessing the former.
Last night, I sat down for the first time all day at about 9:00 p.m. I had bags under my eyes, my feet hurt and all I could think of was how freaking awesome it was going to feel to slip under the covers and go to bed. William was finishing up his homework, and Henry was going through his binder.
"Hey mom!" said Henry. "Hey what?" I replied.
"In my English class the teacher told us to think about who our heroes are. And then we're supposed to write about them. Guess who I'm writing about?".
I thought about it for a minute. "I have no idea, honey. Who is it?"
Henry pointed at me. "You, mom. You're my hero."
That right there. THAT is why I do this.
Install that, mother-effer.