More background, continued post
This is the continuation of my last blog post...
We moved to Verdigris in March of 2020, but I didn't want chandler to have to move schools in the middle of the year, so he finished 8th grade at Catoosa. We didn't exactly pick Verdigris by ourselves. We had some help. My best friend Chrissy and I had an apartment together years ago, and then I bought a house in Catoosa and Chrissy bought the house one door down. Chrissy moved to Verdigris first and proceeded to send me the listing each time a new home went up for sale in her neighborhood. So when we decided to look close to her, we found the perfect place. The only problem was the buyer had already accepted an offer for it. On the advice of our brilliant realtor, Jessica (also Chrissy's sister-in-law, which means she is my sister-in-law), we put in an offer anyway. We lucked out and got the house because the other offer was contingent on them selling their house first, and we didn't have that problem.
It felt like a fresh start in the most incredible neighborhood. There are two ponds, a playground, duck crossing signs (where the ducks actually cross the street), tons of kids Chandler's age, and a walking path that leads directly to the school (which is also in the neighborhood). I didn't account for how hard it is to be a teenager with a helicopter mom. I pushed Chandler hard to make good grades and do his chores, and since he went to his dad's every weekend, that didn't leave much time for us to have fun. Looking back now, I know I missed signs that Chandler was stressed, and add that to the changes a 15-year-old goes through and the social elements of high school, things got rough. I didn't help. I was relentless and stayed on his case about school.
I also think that Chan felt like he was missing out on things at his dad's house. I don't know that for sure, but if it were me and I only saw my little brother on the weekends, that would be hard. Not to mention his dad has a farm going on with cows and chickens and the cutest pigs ever! Chan's stepmom is fantastic, and his gran lives right next door. Hell, I think I might want to move in with them too!
It didn't come as a shock when Chan came to me and said he wanted to go to school where his dad lives. I don't know what gave me a clue. I only know that I somewhat expected it. I am proud of my son for having the courage to sit down and talk with me about it. It couldn't have been easy to tell me.
At first, I was bound and determined to keep him with me. I looked back over our divorce paperwork and the custody agreement and went as far as talking with a lawyer. I changed my mind, though, once I had enough time to process things. For one, he is old enough to tell the court which parent he wants to live with, and the judge would strongly consider that in his decision. Chandler is turning 16 in less than a month. He is craving some independence. His whole life, people have been telling him where he was going and how long he would be there. If I were to fight it, that would be because I made it about me, not what was best for Chandler. Either way, he would be in a safe and healthy environment. As hard as it was, I decided to support him in his decision.
After that, I started focusing on the silver linings, like how exciting it would be to be the fun parent finally. That maybe his dad would have better luck getting him to finish and turn in his homework. I'm at peace with the situation but don't think for a second that it doesn't break my heart to the point that I cry thinking about it. It is brutal not having him here every week with me. It's also been the biggest blessing because I was forced to step back and see my baby for the man he is becoming. He is just incredible. I miss out on some of the day-to-day, but I have a better relationship with him now than I think I ever have.
Life is hard, kids are complex, but both are absolutely worth every minute of it! If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I hope that anyone who has gone through something like this or is going through it now knows that they aren't alone. We are all doing the best we can and making the most of it.