Sometimes it just feels like I can’t get ahead. And yes, in a lot of ways I think I’m slowly becoming bitter. Bitter because my life has been nothing but one bad experience after another. Bitter because I’m tired of doing it all alone. Bitter because no matter what I do I can’t seem to get ahead. I just can’t seem to catch a break.
The financial struggles I face are always on my mind. I’ve been able to rise above all of the destruction my ex left behind, but it hasn’t been without a fair share of fighting on my behalf. When he left me, again, for the last time I was pregnant and alone…and he refused to pay a dime in child support. We were living in a small one bedroom apartment with no transportation, and since December 2012 I have been able to secure a huge 3 bedroom plus den, 1.5 bedroom house, and a vehicle. But, as I improved our life…I saw other changes set us back. Shortly after getting my car, my food stamps were cut from $470/m to $40/m for a family of three. I purchased the car for medical necessity in February. With Jakobe attending special needs pre-school, having multiple appointments, and my infant daughter starting to show signs of delay needing therapies herself I knew that my days of relying on public transit were over. It just wasn’t feasible anymore. Often times it would take 1.5hrs to get to an appointment and another 1.5hrs to get home. We were emotionally and physically exhausted every day, and I was struggling to hold everything together. However, purchasing the car was one of my best, yet worst decisions. I now have a required monthly payment of $220/m, sometimes more if there are 5 weeks in a month. Since the FSSA does not deem transportation as a necessary expense, even with a special needs child, they count that car payment as excess income and thus I should be able to pay for my own food. If I didn’t have a $220/m car payment and a $95/m car insurance payment then trust me I could. But…right now…I’m struggling. Sadly, even though I managed to get what I owe down to $3600 on my car…I still have another 16 months before it gets paid off.
I guess I should feel blessed. I remember a time when just $5 could send me over the edge to make me lose it all. Now, I’m sitting more financially secure, but still struggling. I’m not at risk of losing our housing. The car payment has been paid. The electric has been paid. I have a phone bill to pay and grocery shopping that needs done. I need a new (or at least used tire) for the car and gas. It could be a lot worse. I know that. Its still depressing though, and I guess what makes me bitter about it is the fact that my ex gets to live rent, electric, grocery, and etc free with his grandmother. Yes, he pays – or is supposed to pay – $110/w in child support. But the only real bills he has is his car payment, insurance, and gas. Am I supposed to feel sorry for him? Where is his money going? I mean, seriously? What is he going to say/do when arrearage is calculated and ordered? The judge may have ordered us to mediated it before she will rule on it in final hearing, but I am entitled to $10 extra per week per $1000 increment he is beyond. At my lawyers last calculation prior to the child support order he was a little over $2700 in arrears. That’s $20 extra per week, possibly $30 per week if we end up going in front of a judge after being unable to reach an agreement in mediation. While it may seem like chump change to those more well off, an extra $20 per week alone can do a lot for our family. That’s a box of diapers and a lot of wipes. That’s clothes for the kids and food in their bellies. The child support goes to the kids, because lord knows I rarely ever buy for myself and never with their money. The only exception is my phone bill…but honestly, if my kids didn’t have such specific needs I’d be okay without my phone. My phone is my constant contact with doctors and therapists. Its also my only way of keeping all the appointments and scheduling straight. I see it as a necessity expense for them…even if others don’t agree.
As for becoming bitter about doing everything alone…I’m not entirely sure if its really bitterness or if it is just exhaustion. I love my children. I really do. But I’m soooo tired of doing it alone. Worrying alone. Rushing kids to appointments alone. Making decisions alone. Just being alone in all of this. Why should I be? I didn’t lay down and make these children myself. If I did, I would be a millionaire…that’s for sure. A medical marvel. But no, I didn’t. Instead, the other half of their genetic code gets to live and pretend like he doesn’t have a care in the world while I am left with the burden of it all. No, my kids aren’t a burden persay, but the stress of it all can be. And honestly, even if my ex was awarded non-supervised visits with the children starting tomorrow…I wouldn’t adhere. I would with Jakobe, but probably not Esmae. Not because I don’t want the break…but because despite my ex’s attempt to bond with his daughter there just isn’t any bond there. She wants nothing to do with him. He’s been in her life 4hrs per week since January, and she could really care less about him often refusing to be around him and cries endlessly until he leaves her alone. I believe it would be detrimental to her mental wellbeing. It just wouldn’t be right. About the only person I trust to take her overnight without worrying about major meltdowns is their grandma, and even then I feel bad for asking her to interupt her life to provide me a break.
Throughout all the feelings I’m having, and the depression I worry is settling in, I’m also concerned about little Esmae’s health. The viral infection that she was diagnosed with last week still has not went away and her rash has increased despite her medications. None of us are showing signs of any kind of infection or sickness, so I’m wondering about misdiagnosis and wondering if something is seriously wrong. She’s cranky. She’s leachy (to be expected if you’re not feeling well), and honestly…if there is no improvement by tomorrow I am going to call the doctor again for advisement. It cannot be good that she still shows signs of whatever is raging through her body. I have no reason to believe that its anything she’s eaten because he diet hasn’t changed. Nothing new has been entered into the home during the immediate proximity to the symptoms, except for our doggie, but she was here for well over a week prior to the symptoms occuring and Aluna is not the first dog Esmae has been exposed to. I just can only hope that it isn’t serious.