Monday, May 1, 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Cinderella leaves her Mother's separation-anxiety-induced-death-grip loving embrace and heads for the front door.
She is home from her weekend visitation with BioMom.
Her Mother calls out as She walks away.
Don't.
Okay Mom.
No, Don't. BioMom shakes her head. Don't.
OK.
I am sitting on the couch with The Mouse. The livingroom windows are opened so my ears are privy to this suspicious exchange between Cinderella and BioMom.
Cinderella opens the front door and greets us.
My curiosity piqued, I break a cardinal rule and violate #3 & #4 on the
Children of Divorce Bill of Rights.
Don't, what, babe?
Her face shows the tell-tale signs of a child caught doing something they know they shouldn't be doing.
Oh it's nothing.
I know it's more than nothing. If it involves her Mother, it's definitely SOMETHING.
I ask again.

My gentle prodding brings forth a flood of tears and insistence on Her part that it's Nothing. She doesn't want to talk about it.
I try to reassure Her that I am now concerned. Her tears are upsetting me. She does not cry for no reason or over Nothing.
Cinderella stands firm. She does not want to talk to Me about this.
Then she says it.
It's between Mommy and Me.
Cinderella has never said this before which leads me to suspect She was prompted to say it if questioned.

I know I am wrong for asking. It violates Cinderella's right to privacy. She has a Right to have conversations with her BioMom and She does not have to share them with us.
BUT...
It's difficult to give Her that right to privacy knowing full-well that Her Mom is not modeling the proper behavior. She is not teaching Her the proper values. That she is teaching Cinderella to keep secrets, be deceitful and hide things from Her Dad and Me.
AND STILL...
We have to give Cinderella the Freedom to have these conversations with Her mother. And trust that despite Her mother's influence, that We are raising Her to do the right thing.
I know what I must do.
I must apologize to Cinderella.
Apologize for upsetting Her.
Apologize for asking about something that was none of my business.
Apologize in an effort to restore Her trust in us and in Her right to privacy.
Apologize and remind Her that we have Faith that she knows the difference between Right and Wrong.
We cannot control BioMom. We can only do our best to raise Cinderella to be strong enough to stand up for what's Right.
Strong enough to know that one day that may also include standing up to her own Mother.

***
Updated to add that I DID apologize and, as a result, Cinderella DID clue me in on the "big secret" right in the middle of my apology.

(Turns out it wasn't that big of a secret after all and somewhat of a misinterpretation on my part.)

(I'm sure there's a lesson in there about eavesdropping but we're talking about Cinderella, NOT ME!)

Cinderella also confessed that she knew she had made a wrong choice about something over the weekend [parental guilt wins again!], which went totally against something her Dad had asked her to do while she was visiting BioMom. Something which BioMom constantly overrules him on and tells Cinderella she can do the OPPOSITE and that her Dad can bring it up with Her if he has a problem with it fuckyouverymuch. Cinderella knew it was wrong and felt she needed to let me know, despite what her Mom told Her.

That's one good kid we've got here.

4 comments:

txmommy said...

I'm in a blended family too, only I am not the step DH is. And I feel sorry for him and admire what he is trying to do. This is my first visit to your site, and my first post read and I was moved to say thank you on behalf of your sweet Cinderella. She's a lucky girl to have you and your wisdom.

InterstellarLass said...

We're living this too. Except BioDad is the dingleberry. I know it's not fair, and sometimes I have to leave the room or take a huge timeout because I'm about to say some really, really bad things about BioDad in front of the kids. I did slip up once, and I could tell that it hurt and I won't ever do it again.

But encouraging secret-keeping is a recipe for disaster.

:o) said...

We've been in between this rock and hard place before, too. The kids bioMom and crazy great-grandmother were fanatical about the kids keeping 'secrets'. We have been very consistent about not asking questions but I think all the stress of keeping secrets has hurt them.

At least you have the good fortune of having more time with Cinderella to undo the damage bioMom does. You are a good mom.

Safa said...

I agree with the other commentors. It definitely is something and I think it's awful that BM is making her keep a secret that obviously makes your SD uncomfortable. You are better than me b/c I would've gone straight to hubby and described what happended...then of course there would've been a confrontation with me caught in the middle. On second thought, after almost six years as a SM, I stay out of it...as best I can.