A few weeks ago I was at the YMCA gym, working hard to tone my butt on the ARC trainer (because why not), and thinking about how nervous I was that it was the first time that my now eight-year-old daughter wasn’t in the kid’s area of the YMCA childcare center. I was nervous as all get-out to have her move up with the older kids (overprotective much?), but she was nothing short of EXCITED.
In fact, the only reason we were at the gym that night was because she had begged me to take her. She knew that in the “big kids room” there was a large TV with bean bag chair viewing, a ping pong table, computers, arts and crafts, and the most fun part to her, was that the kids could check out tablets to play games on.
So, after hearing her beg, whine, and plead for several days on end, we made our way to the YMCA so that she could finally experience the Disneyland version of YMCA childcare; big kid style.
Sweating to death on the ARC trainer, I cursed the timer that seemed to be moving incredibly slow, and then found myself looking around the gym to see if anyone else appeared to be feeling the same level of physical fitness failure that I seemed to be suffering from that night. But what caught my eye was not some random person falling off of a stair climber, but rather the face of my daughter who was standing in the hallway.
She was crying
Well, crying would be putting it mildly, because she was actually at the point where she was hyperventilating. I jumped off the ARC trainer mid stride, and when I met her in the hallway she threw her arms around me and buried her tear streaked face into my side.
When she had calmed down enough for me to talk to the childcare worker who was with her, the story unfolded that when she tried to check out a tablet, she realized that she didn’t have her ID card with her. A childcare worker volunteered to take her to find me so she could get her card, and off they went, to the “gym” where I had said I was going.
But, I wasn’t technically in the gym, I was in the fitness center.
When she didn’t find me in the actual gym, she decided that I must be in a dance class, so they looked there. When I wasn’t there, they checked the spin class, locker rooms, bathroom, and then made their way back to the gym. The track in the gym runs around the enclosed basketball courts, and because of that you can’t see the entire track from the door. So I guess, as the story goes, she thought that I must just be where she couldn’t see me and she started to walk around the track. When she still didn’t see me, she panicked, and before the childcare worker knew what was going on, my tiny eight-year-old girl, wearing braces on her legs and with panic in her heart, started running around the track crying and calling out for me.
When the childcare worker managed to get her off of the track, she told her “my daddy left me, and now my mommy left me too.”
Hearing that CRUSHED me, because it made me realize that after four and a half years, countless hours of trauma therapy, and all the reassurance in the world that I would never leave her, she still harbors the realization that parents aren’t always permanent, and love is not always unconditional.
On Friday morning I went to court for the dramatic situation that is the unpaid child support that I am owed. Not to beat a dead horse here, but as a SUPER quick recap (click here for the full story) I will remind you that my ex owes me a great deal of money in unpaid support, and after many, many court dates, was finally found guilty in court, and was sentenced to jail. Then the judge decided that jail was too harsh and he would give my ex time to pay me half of what I was owed, in order stay out of jail. My ex said he could pay it in 60 days, and the judge said he would give him 90 days, but here we were, over 90 days later and he still had not paid me.
Per the judge’s order of “Mr. Strong, if you don’t show up with a check you had better show up with a toothbrush,” Mr. Attorney Man assured me that we had a decent shot at my ex being thrown in jail.