Kids aren’t a novelty item!

I’ve noticed that since I’ve been off, I see things that I didn’t when I was working.

Being knee deep in bs for 12 hours a day, has a way of blinding you to the world you live in.

Things at home have been good. The kids are settled in here, they are getting ready for summer break, Jenny is wrapping up her school year, too and I’m still trudging along looking for a job.

But every once in a while I see things, hear things that I otherwise wouldn’t have given much thought to. I think Jenny’s aversion to conflict makes it difficult for her to spend too much time focusing on them.

What am I talking about? The kids. More specifically, her kids and their time at their fathers house.

I’ve discussed how I get irritated when he’s mean and snotty to Jenny, but at least she’s a grown woman. She can remove herself from the situation at will.

The kids, however, are stuck. Lately, I’ve been paying pretty close attention to how he responds to his daughters.

The oldest one, Huey, just got a job. A few months back, the head gasket in her car blew and her dads stance was, “I’m not buying her another car cause she doesn’t deserve one. She doesn’t even have a job.”

Jenny tried the reason of “she can’t get a job without a car” but as usual, it fell on deaf ears.

We resigned ourselves to the fact that we are going to have to purchase one for her ourselves. Along with the fact that we will have to buy one for Louie so she can get to and from school (we no longer live close enough for her to ride the bus), we are feeling a little tight.

I thank God every day for Shemp. He knows Louie has to have a car so he’s agreed to pay for half. That will help a lot.

Jenny asked her dad to loan Huey one of his vehicles so she could find a job. He agreed, and luckily, she was hired yesterday at a local grocery store. (yes, she found a job before I did. Lol)

You’d think Huey’s dad would be thrilled. Nope. Now he’s complaining because she won’t be able to take 2 weeks off to go on a vacation he’s planned with his new wife and her kids.

I get that he wants all of his kids and step kids to get along. But one day he’s telling her she needs to be an adult, the next he’s demanding she be a child. It’s amazing that she hasn’t split off into several personalities.

The other daughter, Larry, gets it the worst. She the youngest of Jenny’s kids. And yes, she can be a pill at times. But some days he’s just downright mean to her. Ignoring when she speaks to him because he feels that since she “ignored” him when he asked her to clean up, he doesn’t need to acknowledge her.

Larry is picky. She was raised in a country where the food was very different than here. So a lot of the foods that you and I eat every day, she doesn’t like. Pork. She will not eat pork. It wasn’t available so they didn’t eat it. She won’t eat ham, bacon, sausage, chops, etc. And she doesn’t like to eat the same thing over and over. Most of us don’t.

Well, when her dad fixes their lunches it’s always the same thing. Sandwich, chips, fruit. Every day. Day after day. So a lot of time she will charge money to her lunch account and give her sack lunch to her friends to eat.

Last week he blew up. He said that not only could she pay her lunch account, she needed to reimburse him for the food she’s given away. Hello!! She’s 12.

I can see his frustration about the wasted food. But really? Get things that she’ll eat.

I went to the store and bought a variety of lunch things. They are mostly nonperishable so they can go in the pantry. Crackers, peanut bars, fruit snacks, fruits, etc. The lunch she packed for tomorrow has about 650 calories and there’s no sandwich. Amazing what a little communication can do. “Larry, what do you want to take for lunch?”. That was all it took.

And he’s mean. Being sarcastic when they make mistakes, making comments that hurt and make them want to leave, and ignoring their basic needs.

Every time the kids come here, we hear the same thing. “Dad doesn’t have any food.” so, Jenny checked. Sure enough he has cans of soup, vegetables and a lot of single serving frozen veggies. But no real food.

His idea of a home cooked dinner is to scramble a dozen eggs.

So, we feed the kids. A LOT. And I wouldn’t mind, except he isn’t helping to pay for all these meals. Yes, they’re our kids. But in Texas, he’s supposed to help with those things. In the beginning, he did. But now that he has a new wife with more kids, we keep hearing how he “can’t afford it with the medical bills and other expenses she brought.”

Guess what? You can’t ignore your responsibility to your kids because you have more kids.

And let’s talk about hygiene. I’ve mentioned to Jenny that her wasband is lazy. And quite frankly, a slob. Well, when his new wife came to visit him (no, they don’t live together yet) they managed to let most of the house work fall to the side.

Larry found condom wrappers in the bathroom and there was even one in the kids Easter basket. An empty condom wrapper had been thrown down somewhere and ended up in an Easter basket.

Come on!! That’s just nasty!!

The oldest boy, Moe, is 16. We talked to the wasband about drivers Ed. It’s a right of passage. Plus, it would be helpful for us to have another driver to help out. Huey will be working and hopefully in college next year. Louie will be in school and of course the pigs will take up a lot of her time. Plus she’s looking for a part time job to help pay for some of her extra expenses. So that means Moe could help.

What does the wasband say? “No. I’m not going to add a teenage boy to my insurance.”

So what did we do? We signed him up and agreed to add him to ours.

I feel like their dad wants to be a dad when it’s convenient. The kids are almost like trophies and if he has to actually parent them, he can’t be bothered.

“Look at my wonderful, beautiful children. Aren’t I a terrific dad?” then he wants to put them back on the shelf until the next function when being a parent is actually fashionable.

I’m sure things aren’t completely horrible at his house. But Huey has told him that she’ll be moving in full time with us and Larry has already asked to do the same. The boys seem to be indifferent, until their dad decides it’s time for them to be the ones that take on the household responsibility. Then, they’re ready to have us come get them too.

I am concerned about what will happen when the new wife moves here. Dear ol dad seems to be focusing a lot of time, energy and money on the new family before they’re even living together. I hope the “old” family doesn’t get lost in the move like a long lost photo.

Only time will tell.

Maybe I’m just spoiled. My daughters have a great DAD. (I emphasize that word because he may live 500 miles away, but still manages to be involved he’s not just a father. He’s a dad!) He helps when they need something, he pays more than his fair share to make sure they have clothes, food, a nice home, etc. He wants them to have all the things that he enjoyed at their age, and is willing to make that happen. He wants them to succeed and does a lot to help me make that a reality. I’ve never heard him utter a single mean word to them and he goes out of his way to be kind and friendly to Jenny and her kids so my children will see that we don’t have to be enemies to be good parents.

He works hard and wants his kids to learn the value of that. And above all else, he doesn’t see his children as an inconvenience or as a reminder of a life that didn’t work out.

Whatever my reason for being critical, I try. The kids will always have a home here, there will always be a hot meal and they will never be belittled.

I may get irritated by some of the things they do, but I wouldn’t give a single one of them up. Hopefully, the wasband will wake up. And realize the adults they become tomorrow is a direct result of the way he treats them today.

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