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The Big Question
calm_confusion posted:

I never knew a simple question could damage a person so much. Just one little question could change the way one looks at everything that was once so commonplace and examine every facet of every moment, whether gleaming or dull. But it can! And when it does, the emotional uncertainty delivered to the recipient of this fragmenting question feels insurmountable.

Yesterday my 9-year old daughter, after getting off the phone with her Step-mother said" Can I go over there today? and tomorrow, and every day?" I said, kiddingly, "What? You wanna go live with them now?". Her face shrunk into a pre-cry grimace and silence enveloped the room. She asked if she could live with her dad. Once the initial shock dissipated, the numbness and internal questions filled all vacancies of thought.

So now here I am, looking at the most beautiful person in my world while feeling completely ripped apart by the question. But, being absolutely devoted the what's really best for her, I begin to examine what has been happening at our home and what could be happening at his home.

2007: As the Owner/Operator of a small "boutique" real estate brokerage firm standing at the very edge of a pending real estate dropoff, I began to notice the finances tightening up. I limited all frivolous spending, rented out my big house and moved into a much smaller rental house I owned. Over the course of the next 2 years, finances got progressively worse resulting in a short sale, foreclosure and bankruptcy. We had to move AGAIN! Obviously, my daughter began to notice the stress on me. I was working about 70 hours a week, desperately trying to make some money. Annual income is now under 20K a year, savings is wiped out and I am scared! I am working so incredibly hard and not making enough money to make ends meet. I wrote 48 contracts this year so far, only to see 4 actually close due to lender time delays, short sales being sold in foreclosure sales even with a sales contract in negotiations, banks preference to a cash paying investor over a hard-working middle income financed family when selling these bank-owned properties, and other ridiculous things. I know that by staying in this business the way it is now was by definition, INSANITY! So after months of contemplation and unsuccessfully trying to fond another career, I chose to go back to school for 2 years to complete a BS Degree in Environmental Engineering. So now, I still have some work pressures(only about 10-15 hours a week now), major financial pressure, and school pressure to boot. Jumping into advanced engineering courses after being out of school for years, and being too close to forty at the time, is hard! Unfortunately, I just don't have the time needed to keep a 9-year old only child satisified. She is lonely!

Her father has remarried to a great lady. They have 2 small girls( 1 and 3) together and her 7 year old boy. She is a stay-at-home mom and he is a well-respected professional in a public service career. They are the epitome of the modern day Cleavers.

Here is my dilemma. My daughter is very mature for her age, but she is still only 9! Normally I would think this is crazy and dismiss the idea entirely. But I also grew up as the child of a single mom, who was also the child of a single mom. Does anyone see a pattern here? I never want her to NOT have the ability to choose what is best for her. And looking at it outside of my own heart and head?. well??it makes me want to cry! As a child, she needs a normal routine family life. She wants this family structure. Maybe this will be good for her. Torture for me, but I feel like I have to look at what's best for her. Right now, I honesty don't know what is best for her.

So, I guess I need someone to help me in my brainstorming. As a mother who loves her child, and has a child who loves her very much too, what do you think is right?
An_222210 responded:
I hear what you are saying, you've made some good points, BUT:
1. don't throw in the towel so easily, YOU are her mother, SHE needs YOU. If you do, throw in the towel, or give her to them, she will remember this. You are in charge.
2. Find/GET a NETWORK of Support-emotionally & financially
3. Find balance in your life somehow
4. Live on less & take pleasure in simple things
DidiToo responded:
Search in your heart for the best situation for your daughter. It is okay if you come out with an answer that it is not with you, right now. That is a loving, giving conclusion to reach. You will still be her mom. You will still be part of her life. She will still love you. There may be a time when she wants to move back, and you're in a place where you can give her more. (((HUGS))) You are a great mom no matter what conclusion you reach.
calm_confusion responded:
I wanted to post an update to the situation and say thank you for the replies. After much thinking over the weekend it allowed me to clear my foggy head. A friend mentioned to me how they share perental weeks and it works for them. Basically, they stay one week at his house and one at hers. But, we live in different school zones. However, her remark made me realize that my daughter is willing to swap schools to be with her father and her new family. There is nothing holding me to this side of town, except my daughter's school. They have excellent schools in his town as well, so....I have contacted my property manager to allow me to sublet my home and I am going to move closer to them. It saves me over $500/month financially, is 10 minutes from campus, and 2 miles from their house. She will visit with New mom and siblings after school three days a week and stay every other weekend. If after one year, she still wishes to move, then at least I know she has had a fair amount of time to consider and spend time in their home to be certain she can adjust adequately.

I hope this will work out best for everyone involved.
FCL replied to calm_confusion's response:
I'd like to say how much I admire your reaction. You are being fair and level-headed in a potentially very painful situation. I think your solution is great - definitely a win-win one!
calm_confusion replied to FCL's response:
Thanks! I am trying to keep my ego out of it....not as easy as one would think! :)
calm_confusion replied to FCL's response:
Thank you! :)

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