Thursday, July 21, 2016

Birthdays in a custody situation.


My step daughter's birthday is Saturday. I remember during the mediation her mother was so excited to plan a joint birthday party with us. Actually after a hellish four months of frivolous court order after court order I remember actually being a little shocked that once we settled she was so keen to do everything as a team. I kept thinking to myself that this must be too good to be true, but even two months later everything was still honkey dorey. That suddenly changed about three months after the divorce but I never did figure out exactly why. Everything was good one day and then boom it was bad again. Who knows, but I guess my first reaction of "This is too good to be true." was exactly right.

How exactly do you handle birthdays in a custody situation? In Joe's case we have his daughter 50/50 and in the summers one party has one month during the summer and the other the next month. This particular summer we had her in June and his ex has her in July. Her birthday falls in July so we are supposed to be guaranteed half her birthday so we can have a party. Well this year that's pretty much impossible. We were "generously" granted 7am to 3pm by the mother's choice and we pleaded that instead we get the friday evening through noon. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal but really it just means we get to take her to dinner and maybe breakfast. Having a party at 7pm at night or before noon is just not feasible. Nor did any invites ever come for us to go to her party at her Mom's house. Honestly I am not even sure we would have wanted to go to her party at her Mom's house or not as it would have been very tense and the last thing I would ever want to do is put Penelope in a situation where she has to feel that. Her birthday party happened a week ago and I guess I was just hoping we would be at least granted the whole afternoon/evening of her birthday so we could have had an actual party but even that might not have been possible as we only found out our times a week in advance and trying to send out invites, order a cake, and plan with less than a week is pretty unrealistic.  We won't see her again till August the question is how do you fairly divide a birthday?

With the boys there is nothing set in stone as to how we divide their birthdays but usually I end up just letting Chris have them on their birthday for pretty much the entire day. I can always plan a party on another day and we can always go out to eat the night before. I'm not particular about having the birthday party ON their birthday unless it just happens to fall on a Saturday. We invited Chris to the boy's birthday parties both times this year and he had to work and didn't come but he did something special with them the next day. It actually worked out in the boys favor as Saturday they did stuff with us for their birthday and Sunday they did stuff with their dad all day. Two days of birthday celebrations seems pretty awesome.

I think the whole situation would be much more heartbreaking if we had more than just my Mother living here. My mom is pretty easy going and will show up for a makeshift birthday party with zero notice armed with a card and cash (MawMaw is the master of cash is the best present.). But what would happen if her out of town Grandparents wanted to do something special for her birthday? I guess the only silver lining in this whole story is next year we will have her in July and her mother will have her in June and we can have a proper awesome party and by then Penelope will be in school up here and she will have friends from school to invite! I have a HUGE family we could invite but again with that little bit of notice there is just no way.

I guess I am just feeling a little blue about all of this.. I had some really cool ideas for a cake and we had talked about all these ideas for a party but between the boys being in IL and Penelope only getting a few less than ideal party hours with us it's just not going to happen. We did plan out a few things to do while she is here that will be fun though. I guess days like this I just really appreciate that my ex (the boy's father) and I have an unusually peaceful relationship when it comes to the kids.

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