While I have a number of blog posts sitting in my drafts folder, I don't seem to be able to bring myself to hit the publish key on any of them. Life has been pretty painful lately with all the upheaval surrounding Erik's sudden departure; the self-recriminations, the dealing with fallout, the grief, the anger, the relief, the guilt. There has been a lot going on.
I'm really glad I intermitted for April, I've been a mess. I've spent several days in bed, or wandering between my bed and my egg chair in the lounge room like some sort of automated zombie doll. We saw Erik on the GOM's birthday last Sunday. He asked to see his dad, to drop off a present. That was a first for Erik - organising a present on his own. I would have said no, but I left it up to the GOM and he said yes. It didn't go well. Erik spent maybe two minutes with the GOM, then wanted to see Lukas to ask him how things had been at home, and to ask for a game, at which point I (luckily, Lukas told me later) interrupted them and told Erik if he wasn't spending any more time with his dad, it was probably time for him to go. At the door, a conversation started up which led to 40 minutes of back and fro about what had happened and what had been said to whom and why things had been done and what people thought was happening from here. It is clear now that this is a permanent move for Erik. That the girlfriends mother sees it as a permanent move (she has bought him a tv, a heater for his room, is having air-conditioning installed in his room, aside from getting a contract for an iPhone 6s for him - he had a choice between that or a Samsung, he said). He accused me of abusing him and when I asked why the girlfriend's mum hadn't reported me or us, he said it was because he had told her not to because the other boys would be taken from us. This is rubbish. I told him to tell her to report us, so I could clear my name because I have absolutely no fear of being found to be an abusive parent - yes, I have lost my temper out of sheer frustration - and I have apologised and I always do my best to find better ways to communicate with my kids -, and yes, I have set boundaries, but I have not abused him or any of my children.
It has taken me until today to find my footing again since Sunday's episode. We ended up re-doing the GOM's birthday celebration on Monday because the birthday dinner we'd planned for Sunday night was a wipe-out. Luckily, one of his presents had not arrived on time, and arrived in the mail Monday morning, and he didn't know about it, and it was the best present and so Monday night was a lot of fun and made up for Sunday's disaster.
As horrible as it is to say, to realise. We've slowly come to the realisation over the past three weeks of how much more peaceful our house has become. There are no more arguments. The kids rarely bicker now. Bryn is so much more relaxed now that he doesn't live in fear of being bullied by Erik. We found out after Erik left that he had actually been bullying Lukas as well. Beating him up if he informed us of Erik's transgressions. Needless to say, Lukas is more confident now as well. He suddenly seems much more mature as well. Even our little firecracker, Ari, is more settled. While Erik didn't pick on him as much as he picked on Bryn - though he was starting to in the past few months - Ari picked up on the tension, especially in the mornings, and often got hyperactive just from the electricity in the air. There is less of that now. In fact, the mornings are so quiet now, without the GOM have to constantly chase Erik up to get out of bed, have a shower, get dressed, pack his bag, brush his teeth, get out to the car - often resulting in screeching - that one morning I thought they'd left the house already when they were still sitting in the lounge room.
Why did such a terrible thing have to happen for our house to become a nice place to be?
People have said to me, not to let Erik get to me, not to let him win, not to show him that I feel awful, but this is not a game for me. This is my child. Something has gone terribly wrong with us. How can I pretend I'm okay with that?