Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ever decreasing circles......

Where do I begin? I suppose with an apology for being such a terrible blogger! I have been reading all of the blogs which I follow, just not blogging myself.
However I just need to get this post out, it's been going round and round in my head for so long - Minnie I'm back for some free therapy!

I guess it would be worth going back to this to get where I am coming from.....................................

I didn't see or hear from the boys until the end of November, over 8 weeks from the date Mr M went away. When I did eventually get a text message from Charlie asking if they could come to stay for the night I was elated, I didn't ask any questions I just arranged a time and date to pick them up.
The boys arrived the weekend of Lola's 4th Birthday - it was the best present anyone could have given her - short of Daddy coming home, that is. The first few hours were pure bliss, the house was filled with noise and the sound of laughter was music to my ears. The children put up the Christmas tree and life was almost normal, for a while.
It wasn't all about Lola though as it was only a few days until Charlie's birthday - so he was equally excited to receive his birthday gifts from us and my family, after which the mood certainly started to change........
The boys were getting less tolerant of the girls wanting to spend every minute with them and they were pre-occupied with their new mobile phones that Cruella had purchased them (2 days after me topping their old phones up with £45 worth of talk time!!). After putting the girls to bed that night I asked the boys if they wanted to watch a film or play a board game. They didn't want to, but they did want me to do something for them.

Let me back track a little, mid way through 2009 I started my own photography business and I have been building this up gradually. I'm not brilliant, but I have taken some lovely portraits and have covered 2 weddings which I was very proud of.

The boys wanted me to take some portraits of them for them to give to Cruella and Randall as Christmas presents. Even though my alarm bells were starting to tinkle, I set up my home studio and worked my magic on the boys, after which they said goodnight and went up to their room. At breakfast the next morning I asked them if they wanted to go shopping for some frames then we could go to lunch, as I wasn't taking them back until 4pm. They exchanged looks and said they wouldn't have time as Cruella was picking them up before lunch, they would get the portraits at some point before Christmas. Next Charlie pulled a piece of A4 paper out of his pocket and as he opened it I instantly recognised Cruella's scrawl. When I asked him what was on the paper he just handed it to me. I was totally caught off guard as I read the list (complete with hand drawn check boxes) that Cruella had written. It was all the items that they boys were to take back to her house from ours. All items that I had bought and paid for.
  • New school blazer with ipod controls
  • New size 5 black trainers (both pairs)
  • Charlie's walking boots
  • Woody's walking shoes
  • Woody's DS games
  • Charlie's School coat
  • A coat for Woody to wear to school
  • Any jeans that fit
  • Any T shirts that fit
  • Any hooded sweaters that fit
  • PE kit and football boots (size 5) for Charlie

Believe it or not, but it was mid December and neither boy had had a coat to wear for school! I explained to the boys that they could take the stuff on the list, but it would be up to them to look after everything and ensure they returned anything they would need when they were here, as I would not be replacing anything if they decided to take it to Cruella's. They took everything!

Fast forward to the 19th December - Umpteen voice mails, text messages and emails all un replied to - and I get a text message from Charlie asking if they could come on the 20th overnight. Again I didn't ask any questions, I just agreed to collect them at 9am the next morning.

9 am on the dot and the boys bounce into the car, wanting to know if their portraits were ready! We got home and the girls were so excited to have the boys here, they were talking about Father Christmas coming and what gifts they would like to get. The boys asked if they could have their gifts before they went back to Cruella's. I was more than a little taken aback, but composed myself and explained that the girls would only be getting 'token' gifts on Christmas day and that we would be having our full family Christmas when Mr M returns (they already knew this as we had spoken about it in details before Mr M went away. Charlie didn't seem too bothered, but Woody's face was tripping him! He didn't seem to understand that whilst he would be getting gifts from Cruella and her family, the girls would have to have a few things from me or they would have nothing to open on Christmas morning - as my family and (the few that bother from Mr M's family) were not exchanging gifts until Mr M comes home.

Although neither boy was pleased with my response, we got through the next 24 hours without any major fall outs. The next day I took them back to Cruella's - with their portraits mounted, framed and wrapped. 3 for Cruella and Randall and one for Cruella's parents. We didn't even get a Christmas card, neither did Mr M - but that's boys for you eh?

We phone, we text, we email - Christmas day, Boxing day, New Years day, the day it snows and we build a snow man, the day I get the official date of Mr M's return, the details of our plans for our Christmas day, the dates of our trip to a very special holiday place. We hear nothing from either boy. Lola is beside herself - I don't know what to say. Mr M is non the wiser as they have never written to him whilst he's been away - despite me sending them stamped addressed envelopes!

Last week I get a text message from Charlie:-

'Mum's booked our holiday for the same dates as your in the summer - going with mum. Got plans for the date that you've arranged Christmas for - won't be coming. Not bothered about seeing Dad when he gets back - just ask him to ring Mum to arrange a pick up time for when we go to the very special holiday place. Charlie.'

Heartbroken. Angry. Confused. Suspicious. You bet your backside I was! I gave it a few hours to let the content of the message sink in, then I tried ringing Charlie, then Woody, then the house phone - no answer from either. So I replied with the following:-

'Hi mate, Dad will be really upset that you won't be celebrating Christmas with us, is there nothing you can do to rearrange? He has missed you just as much as the girls and I have. I can't understand why you are not planning on seeing Dad when he gets home. Give me a ring and we can try to sort something out. Love Mrs M x '

I left it several days and still I heard nothing. By this point I had come up with every excuse for their behaviour whilst Mr M has been away. I've had Cruella brainwashing them, raging hormones, peer pressure, not wanting to 'put me and the girls out'.......... but I can't find an excuse that I truly can believe. I sent my final message on Friday:-

'Charlie & Woody, You didn't reply to my last message - is everything ok? Dad will be ringing you this weekend, I've not told him about the content of your last text, I ask that neither of you mention it as it's unfair whilst he is still out there. He will be home on *****, Please call him when he gets back. Until you have spoken to him I won't book our holiday to the very special holiday place. Take care, Love Mrs M x'

I've heard nothing from either of them.

I'm still so angry. I'm angry with Cruella for encouraging/allowing the boys to treat us so terribly. I'm angry with myself for daring to expect more. I'm disappointed with the boys for thinking they can get maximum gain from minimum effort - We certainly didn't raise them this way!

I know that our little family has been ripped apart, I know it will never go back to being how it was.
I'm just hoping that I am strong enough to support Mr M and the girls through the rough ride that I know is only just starting. The last 4 1/2 months will seem like a breeze in comparison.

Who's reading?