When Bug was 3, I met her father. 2 weeks before her 4th birthday, we were married and I became her mama. Truth be told, she had me before he did, and he knows it. I fell in love with the sweet little girl she was. At this time, the custody agreement was in place for her to spend 6 months straight with each parent.
When Bug was almost 5, we agreed to let her move in with her mother for the school year so that she could start school. It was a difficult decision, but we did our best to make it work. PB was born while Bug was with her mother, so they didn't meet for the first time until Thanksgiving. I believe it could be considered love at first sight. We worked very hard to make sure that Bug knew how much we loved and missed her. We set aside time devoted to her when she visited, but made sure she still had rules and limits.
After a year and a half, she decided she wanted to come live with us. We told her she had to finish out her first grade year with her mom, and we would discuss it over the summer. We mde sure she understood that if she said she wanted to come live with us, she had to be sure. Once the wheels were turning, there would be no mind changing. She was adamant. At the end of the summer, DDS informed Bug's mom that she wouldn't be returning to her for the school year. She arrived on our doorstep 12 hours later afer driving all night. She went to court and filed for Emergency Custody. In our state, as soon as a custody petition is filed, the child is required to stay in this state unless both parties agree otherwise, or a judge rules differently. Several months later, they met for mediation, which failed. In January, we went to court, and after listening to both parents and speaking with Bug, the judge decided that she was best served living with us. Bug's mom did not act very mature about this decision, and Bug ended up with a lot of anger and anomisity towards her mother after this time.
Bug has lived with us ever since, with regular visits to her mother. I have been her mother. I have taken care of her when she is sick, driven her to her many activities, helped her with homework, planned her birthday parties, spent hours at airports with her. I'm the one that schedules the necessary doctor and dental appointments, who gets her up in the morning and helps tuck her in at night. She has always been treated just like the other two in this house.
Usually, we've found that 8 weeks is when it all starts to fall apart while at her mom's. It will be interesting to see how long she lasts living there full time and going to school. Her decision to go live with her mother hurt me and made me angry. I'm still working through these feelings, trying to be adult about the situation.
I'm afraid of the damage she has done to her relationships with the family members here. Not just myself, or even her brother and sister, but her aunt and grandmothers. I'm also worried about what it's done to her academic future. The schools where she transferred to don't have the same level of classes as this school here does.
I love her, and I wish her the best. I'm hoping that somehow we are all proven wrong with this experiment. Time will tell.