Let’s back track.
For the two months before school got out, Claire was struggling grade-wise, and her honor roll status was in jeopardy. School is VERY important in this house, and, as I like to say, the kids have ONE job - to succeed in school. They don’t have a ton of assigned chores outside of keeping their rooms cleaned (although they are expected to help when I ask), because I expect them to devote their time and energy to their classwork.
Yes - I know that Claire has the whole incurable brain disease thing working against her, but we have a plan in place to address those difficulties. She wasn’t using the services provided to her and she was doing badly. So badly, that she was grounded for a week from pretty much everything - the first time she had ever been grounded - because of poor performance. After that “Come to Jesus” moment, (miraculously!) Claire was able to bring ALL her grades up by the end of the school year, achieve honor roll, and she also received the President’s Award for Academic Achievement. Hurrah!
Quinn also busted butt this school year. He had a personal goal to achieve the All A honor roll in the last trimester. He ended up missing it by one point - but his dedication to the task was worthy of reward as well.
The reward? Quinn and Claire were each allowed to select a friend to bring with them for an overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge. Swimming, Magi Quest, fun, and frivolity for all! Claire loves e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. so choosing just ONE friend to invite was difficult. Finally, she decided to invite Emily, Peter’s daughter. And that’s where things got messy.
See, Peter and his ex have been embroiled in a contentious, acrimonious, litigious, and (IMHO) ridiculous battle for the past 4.5 years. It has been costly, both emotionally and financially, for all parties involved. As much as humanly possible, I try to stay out of it. This is not my battle, nor my drama. However, since his ex has attacked me and my children in both the courtroom and the court of public opinion, I have been forced to defend myself at times. It’s gotten so ugly, my ex-husband has retained legal counsel in order to protect our children and me from her attacks. I mean, we’re talking a whole new level of cray-cray.
Despite all this, the girls, Claire and Emily, are friends. They are only 8 months apart and have several similar interests: WebKinz, loom bracelets, and Animal Jam among them. They frequently “hang out” on the computer, chatting and playing their games. Sometimes the kids will meet at the local playground to hang out in real life. It’s obvious they enjoy one another’s company, so it didn’t surprise me that Claire wanted to invite her as her guest to Great Wolf Lodge. However, knowing how things can go south so fast when dealing with Peter’s ex, I felt that it would be better... safer... if I asked Emily’s mother first, before Claire invited Emily. I sent an email, explaining that Claire had earned a trip to GWL and wanted to invite Emily, and if it would be okay. She replied that it sounded like something Emily would enjoy. Good enough! Claire got to ask Emily, the girls were really excited, and all was well in the world! Yay!
Two days later, at midnight on the 4th of July, I receive a nastygram from Emily’s mother, angry that Quinn and Peter were going to GWL as well, pissed that I hadn’t invited Emily’s younger brother, and informing me that Emily could not go because she was sobbing and guilt stricken because her brother wasn't invited too. Wait... what?
Like I said... the girls being friends gets messy.
See - I look at it like this: There are times where the girls do “something” between friends - a birthday party, a sleepover, a reward celebration - those are situations where Claire is asking to spend time with Emily. When those situations arise, I am the one who communicates with Emily’s mother. The are other times - a camping trip, a Halloween celebration, a trip to the pool at Crystal Mountain - where it’s visitation with Peter and his kids, and HE makes those arrangements with his ex. To me, this occasion seemed pretty clear - Claire was inviting Emily as her guest for her celebration, the same way Quinn invited his classmate as his guest. It never occurred to me to invite Daniel because this wasn’t parental visitation - this was Claire inviting her friend, who just so happened to be Peter’s daughter.
Through the course of all of this, I found out that Emily’s mother was using Emily as the tool to interrogate my child in order to perpetuate her fight with Peter and me. And that’s where things really became NOT okay with me. Peter’s ex pimped out her own daughter to question mine in order to create a huge, allegedly tear-filled, drama-drenched fight. All so she could deny Emily an opportunity to do something fun with her friend, Claire, and do so under the guise of me being a horrible, cruel, manipulative mother for taking MY son along to the honor roll celebration, but not taking HER son too.
The thing is, I don’t make my children do everything together. They are individuals, and thus need to develop individual friends, interests, and attitudes. They aren’t conjoined twins, they are two separate people, and I treat them that way. They both do acting classes, but I won’t let them be in the same class. Quinn goes to (and loves) his youth group, and although Claire has begged for months to be able to go too, I won’t let her. That is Quinn’s thing to enjoy, without his annoying little sister tagging along. Heck, I signed them both up for sailing class but Claire is doing the morning one and Quinn the afternoon so they can have some time apart. Quinn has his birthday parties without Claire, and vice versa, and it’s been that way for years. They do family things with each other, like weddings, vacations, etc., and friend things apart. Simple, right?
This just seemed so clear in my head - this was Claire and Quinn inviting their friends, not a blended family outing. It never occurred to me that Peter’s ex would make Daniel out to be some pathetic, excluded victim and Emily would be made to feel like she was a horrible, selfish sister for wanting to go do something fun with her friend. What kind of mother creates those kinds of emotions in their kids?
For 4.5 years I have dealt with this... person... calling me horrible names, spreading lies about me and my family, attacking my children. I have watched her belittle and disparage her children’s father again and again, in public and in private. And have I mentioned the lies? I have had complete strangers come up and tell me the things she has told them about me, my family, my life. And I’ve stayed silent (mostly). But this? This is about screwing over a kid to further her own ridiculous, vindictive, and cruel agenda. I’m disgusted, furious, and appalled.
Six ugly emails later and the result is, the girls’ friendship is irreparably harmed, as Emily’s mother sits, like a fat spider in her web of lies, happy with that result. It’s what she likely wanted all along. How sad.