I think I remember our second daughter saying that she and her wife have a doormat that says something like that—“Check your Drama at the Door.” I think we could use one. You know… actually our life really doesn’t have a lot of drama in it, except for when we have to interact with my ex-husband’s wife or my husband’s ex-wife. As Elena Grace said wistfully last week about their time with us, “It must be nice to have your life be simple and calm all the time, no yelling. Only half of our life is like that.”
Instead of a “leave the drama” mat, we currently have a “No Trespassing” sign, which spends most of its time tucked behind a cabinet on the front porch, but comes out whenever one of those two might show up. Both of those women have been given written notice that we will call the police if they set foot on our property, notice given in each case after a public display of verbal abuse directed at us. (I looked up the local laws—if we’ve given written notice to the person in question and posted “No Trespassing,” we can call the cops on them.)
Usually we only break it out for a couple hours at a time, every other week when my Ex and his wife pick the kids up from our house. He can come to the door, but she may not. I laid down that boundary after her attack on Keoni a few months back (in front of the kids). I wasn’t sure at that point how the kids would feel—I explained to them briefly that people who treat our family members that way are not welcome at our home. “Our home is our Safe Zone,” I said. I was surprised, at that point, by Christian’s vehemence in responding with “Good!” That was the turning-point when they started to share with us about their other home-life.
This week, though, the sign has been out at the edge of our lawn all week because Keoni’s Ex has been making threats and stirring things up. I referred to her in yesterday’s post about our son Kapena’s surgery—and there is actually plenty more to say about her with regard to this week’s events—but yesterday’s post was about Kapena, and it wasn’t her place to have the center of attention. It’s a lesson she badly needs to learn in real life.
She’s a bitter person, and her bitterness seems to have taken over the part of her where maternal instincts should be lodged. She will stop at nothing to cause us grief, without regard to how it affects Kapena. In fact, she usually hurts him more than she hurts us, but she doesn’t care about that if she gets any chance to jab at us. I could give a whole dissertation-worth of background examples, but we’ll just stick with this week.
We knew she’d show up for his surgery, and she’d been nagging at him to come stay with her during his recovery. He doesn’t want to—so as far as we’re concerned, case closed. Normally, Keoni and I would both go with him to something like this, but knowing she would be there, we decided to make it simpler, leave me (or rather, the drama she causes when I’m in the room) out of the equation. I stayed home to reduce Kapena’s stress.
She doesn’t think that way, though. When the doctor met with the three of them before surgery and got to the pain management plan, she piped up that she didn’t want Kapena to have pain medication because of Keoni’s addiction history and the “likelihood” that Kapena’s pills would disappear. Ironic, given that she’s been getting pain-pills from multiple sources for several years now—and Kapena was furious that she raised an unnecessary stink purely to embarrass his dad, and that she would do so at the possible expense of Kapena having the appropriate pain management available to him.
I had, however, taken the precautionary measure (when I was giving the doctor office Kapena’s medical history over the phone) of asking them to note in his file that Keoni is the custodial parent, and that although we’re not cutting his mother out of the picture, she is not the decision-maker. So… her “concern” got overruled by the custodial parent, who calmly asked the doctor please to go forward with whatever he would usually prescribe.
She provided plenty more unpleasantness in the hours they were at the hospital—and in her ten-minute-interval phone calls once he got home—but I won’t drag this out with the blow-by-blow account.
And then she wanted to visit him the next day. All that unpleasantness, and she actually expected to waltz into our home. Absolutely not. (Kapena didn’t want to deal with her anyway, so no conflicted feelings there.) She went ballistic, texted me that “u r not going to see my son today” (a message I read aloud to the son in question, who was stretched out next to me on our bed, watching movies while I worked on my writing assignments), and she called the police.
She has this strange mindset of actually believing that whatever she wants, she has a right to. As another example, she told Kapena she was going to come and take his car away if he wouldn’t see her. (He bought that car with his own saved money, and only his name is on the title—but she’s so sure she has a right to what-she-wants that she threatened to bring the police with her for that project too…) Not surprisingly (to us, at least—though I have no doubt it came as a shock to her), the police did not choose to act on her complaint that she was being denied entry into a private home, in which a Minor was staying with his legal custodial parent.
In her heated text-exchange with Kapena, she also said (the final straw for him) that he deserved the beating she gave him last summer. (That’s a text we’ll be saving.) At that point he told her in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t want her in his life at all, and he stopped taking her calls and texts.
But… She showed up for his post-op follow-up appointment this morning. And oh man, was she pissed that I was there. In the waiting room we sat slightly apart from her, and had a quiet and pleasant conversation with a few laughs… And then when we all trooped into the exam room, left to wait for the doctor, she threw her fit. Went on and on about how she has the “right” to see him whenever she wants because she’s his mother, and that she wouldn’t have a problem except for “that person” (meaning me, of course) being present—“She has no business being here, she has nothing to do with this, she’s not involved, and I have to sit there and hear her laugh“…
Kapena answered angrily, “Everyone I WANT to be involved is involved,” but she continued a whole tirade, during which I kept quiet, though I confess I did sort of snort when she threatened taking us to court. (Sure, try that. The only “material change in circumstance” since the last custody order is that she committed fraud to get a Social Security payment bigger than our annual income, blew through it in a few months, and ended up in a homeless shelter last month…)
She harped on my waiting-room laughter more than anything, and to be honest, it would have been comical… except for Kapena’s distress. He kept asking her to “Stop talking. Please. Just stop talking.” And then, “Leave, just please leave.” Which she didn’t, of course. And she got visibly more steamed when the doctor came in and I was the one answering questions about his first few days of recovery and his planned physical therapy and his Medicaid coverage… (Usually Kapena would answer some of those questions himself, but today he was tight-lipped and silent.)
The appointment finished, Keoni stayed back to check out, and she and Kapena and I stepped into the waiting room, where she demanded that he step aside and talk with her. (Translation: step aside to be yelled at.) He declined. She insisted. I intervened with the only words I spoke to her the whole time: “Not if he doesn’t want to.” When she realized he wasn’t going to budge from my side, she stormed toward the elevators, turning to toss a parting shot across the crowded waiting room: “You SUCK, Bitch!” (Seriously? She’s old enough to be my mother, and she’s going all “Junior High” on my ass!) You know what I did, right? I laughed.
They say laughter is the best medicine. I think it might be the best weapon.
More Importantly: Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their prayers and “virtual hugs” and recovery-wishes for Kapena! I’m tickled to report that he’s doing GREAT. The doc was pleased and surprised that he’s already walking around with just his leg-brace, no crutches. (Given Keoni’s record-breaking recovery from his knee-replacement surgery last December, maybe rapid-healing-of-knees will become a Tyler family tradition.) He hit the weight-room today (upper body only) and he’s planning to go back to team practices starting tomorrow (not to participate yet, but to stay in the middle of things)… We’re starting to feel a sneaking optimism that he may not be out for his whole Junior season after all… But time will tell.
We had a steady stream of his friends passing through the house over the weekend, and his new girlfriend spent most of the weekend here, and (aside from all the crap with his mother) he’s been in a really upbeat mood. Things are looking good!