I want to write down my feelings. I don't know if I am going to drag my mouse across and hit the 'Publish' button. Will I regret it if I do? We'll see.
I'm starting to wonder just what I have done. Being a single mum was never in my plans – is it ever in anyone's really? And then putting someone else who wasn't the father in the position of 'Dad' when he will never truly have a complete share in his investment of time, finances, effort and energy.
Ross often questions this and discusses it with me. I was always very apprehensive of having a relationship with anyone for fear of putting them in this exact position. Am I allowed to have feelings on this? But then again, was I supposed to put my life on hold for the rest of my life? So many questions.
When we moved house and area, Grace had no choice. She was coming with us whatever. I have residency. She just had to adjust. Change schools, change area, change house, have a new bedroom. So there was enough change happening in her life for any six-year-old to deal with.
I found out just after I got back from my holiday that, not only did Grace's father have a girlfriend but he was engaged. I wondered how long it would take him to tell me. Don't get me wrong, I don't care what he does but I do care about what affects Grace.
I also found out at this point that Grace's father had made the new woman (I say 'new' but I will explain why she isn't in a moment!) have a Polygraph test. A lie detector test. He had basically believed that since dating this woman (just after we split up) she has been cheating on him. A bit rich coming from the man who slept with numerous other woman behind my back and even bought a house with one of them (yep, I am a blind, ignorant fool). What sort of way is that to have a relationship?
Grace has mentioned this woman a number of times and also spoken about how her father and this woman constantly argued, weren't together and we have even been told that she is his cleaning lady. Now they are engaged....apparently.
I say apparently. Just before Grace went to her father's for that first time after moving here, he rang me to complain about not being kept in the picture on what was happening to her. It was complete rubbish and I reminded him that I would always let him know of anything that happened which would affect Grace. As I would expect from him.
Suddenly I was informed that he 'had a girlfriend' and he was 'going to tell Grace this weekend'. That was mid-July. Grace came back to tell me that her father has a girlfriend and it was this lady and they had rings. Grace told me that this lady was going to get her a pink laptop and a pink television.
I did discuss the ring situation with Grace's father and he informed me that these were 'friendship rings' and that he was going to see how their holiday went in September and whether this would change things to more than this. He was insistent that they were 'friendship rings' (he is 45 for crying out loud!).
Then came the following weekend and Grace went to her father's for the second weekend in a row as he had missed out on a weekend when we moved. This time Grace came back vocalising about how 'Daddy and X were getting married' whilst he was in the car basically trying to stop her talk to me about it.
I sent her inside with Ross. I then asked him again outright if he was engaged. He once again was insistent. I then went inside to find one very confused little girl talking about 'Daddy and X getting married in a church'.
She was sad and happy about the wedding. Sad because she didn't really like X but happy because she had been promised a sparkly purple dress for the occasion and she had been told she was going to have 'a new brother and two new sisters' and should she call X 'Mum' and that even though this boy would be her brother he isn't really X's son.
Over the next couple of days I spent lots of time with Grace, gently asking her questions, helping her to understand her feelings and, in the process, trying to find out what had happened. It turns out that this woman sat Grace down and told her that her Dad and her were getting married, she was going to have new brothers and sisters and she could come to a big party and wear a sparkly purple dress. In the meantime, Grace's father tells me to this day he 'doesn't do family'.
I was furious. I texted Grace's father to tell him I would like to speak to him. So, after Ross took Grace out to go shopping (that man is a saint sometimes), I called and spoke to Grace's father. I told him that I felt to bombard Grace with a new/old relationship one weekend and a marriage the following is out of order. X was wrong to do this.
At least I had the decency to offer that he meet Ross before Grace really got to know him (incidentally, Grace's father refused this offer). He has not done any such thing with me and now I find this woman trying too hard with Grace.
I think I know why. She is so insecure in her relationship with Grace's father that she feels she has to 'buy' Grace's love to get her father's attention. I told him that I would like Grace to refrain from seeing this woman again until I meet her (I knew her by sight when I was still with Grace's father).
Despite my concerns about this situation, I trusted that Grace's father had taken on board my comments and would behave appropriately. Grace went away with her father last Tuesday and I arranged to speak to Grace on the Saturday. Then on Saturday, when I spoke to Grace, I was told that woman X had given her a 'friendship ring', a Hello Kitty one. It feels like Grace's father is just not listening to me. And does Grace think that 'friendship ring' is the same as 'engagement ring'?!
Tomorrow evening (Monday) I shall be meeting woman X. At the moment I am not quite sure what to say. I don't care about her relationship with Grace's father, what they do with their lives is nothing to do with me. BUT what I do care about is what affects Grace. She has always come first in all this.
So, do I talk to this woman about the fact that I don't agree with the example that she is setting my daughter?
That she has basically careered into my daughter's life? Ross was respectful, giving Grace time to get to know him and sleeping in the spare room for the first several months whenever he would stay. Grace has repeatedly asked to call Ross 'Dad' and he is still refusing to let her do that until we are either married or have a child of our own.
That ever since Grace has known her, all her father has done is argue with woman X?
That she has AGREED to a polygraph test when any self-respecting woman would have told him to take a running jump and shown him the back of their heels?
That she is trying to 'buy' my daughter's affection in a bid to gain the attention from Grace's father?
That woman X first became a mother at the age of 17 and a Grandmother at the age of 35?
Is it me? Am I wrong? Am I a bad mother? I have never withheld Grace from her father but I am now starting to wonder if this is the only way I make sure I do what is right by my daughter.
A forty something mum of one who writes poetry and lives in the beautiful countryside of Somerset.
Blogs at: Vevivos