Why does Mommy get all of the holidays?
"Because that's what the court papers say, babe."
Three years ago, when Maleficent lost custody she had written into the visitation stipulation that she be able to spend every school holiday with Cinderella.
Every one. From 11am to 5pm.
Until this year, it never posed that much of a problem. There were a few times when my plans had to be altered to make sure I was home for her pick up/drop off, but that's the way it goes. I made the compromise to adhere to what seemed to be in Cinderella's best interests.
This year, however, things are different.
Cinderella is getting older and finding her voice. She wants to participate in the decisions surrounding her days off.
Like expressing a wish to volunteer at a local farm to come on school holidays to care for their chickens.
Twice a day. Morning and evening.
Cinderella was especially excited to be part of this. (We always fantasize of the day when we own our own home that will be big enough to have chickens and horses and sheep! Oh my!)
There was just one problem. Chickens need to be tucked in at DUSK.
Dusk comes earlier now thanks to Daylight Savings. Right at the time Cinderella comes home from visiting Maleficent.
Not wanting to exclude her from his activity, and not really thinking it would be a problem, Prince Charming contacted Maleficent. We posed a COMPROMISE of allowing Cinderella to CHOOSE to stay home SOME holidays so she didn't miss out on this.
Maleficent outright refused and accused Prince Charming of making these plans to purposely spite her out of time with their daughter.
Step in the Rational One.
I contacted Maleficent to smooth things out a bit. Explain it was my doing and that I was unclear as to the actual wording of the court document and misunderstood that holidays were an absolute RIGHT and not an option open to compromise. (A concept that has historically proven lost on her.)
She changed her tune and seemed willing to work with me.
If you want ... can you and I keep in touch on this and then if you need me to bring Cinderella home early so she can go with you, I can do that. It's no problem.
Monday morning, I realize tomorrow is Election Day. A school holiday. We need to be at the farm by 4:30. That's 30 minutes before the time Cinderella is supposed to be home.
I call Maleficent and leave her a voicemail, per our agreement. I asked her if she wanted to drop Cinderella off at home at 4pm (only an HOUR early) or just meet us at the farm at her regular drop off time of 5pm. I know from past experience that she responds better if she feels she has some control over the situation. So I gave her a CHOICE.
Still, I suspected that she would not like either.
And when I received the call from Prince Charming a few hours later I knew from his tone of voice that I was right.
If Maleficent was going to lose an hour with Cinderella because of this activity (which Cinderella WANTED TO DO) then Maleficent wanted to make up that time on another day.
In light of recent events, Cinderella does not want to spend extra time with her Mom. She is beginning to see her for who she really is. And she does not like it one bit.
Prince Charming could not consciously place his daughter into that situation.
Emails were sent. Accusations were flung at us.
Prince Charming and I spent ALL DAY Monday either in email with or talking about this woman.
Such a waste of a day and of our energy.
We put up a good fight on Cinderella's behalf. I apologized to Maleficent in an effort to smooth things over.
In the end, she chose NOT to bring Cinderella home and decided to communicate that THROUGH her daughter. Using her as the messenger to notify us that she had changed her mind from the earlier emails in which she agreed to the request for the early drop off.
We went to the farm without her.
And waited in the dark for her to be dropped off (and she was LATE, too).
Sooner or later Maleficent is going to have to realize that Cinderella is a person too.
That she is not a piece of property and has a RIGHT to CHOOSE what she does with her time. Cinderella sas a right to voice her opinion. And to be HEARD.
That's it not about what Maleficent wants.
Or about what Prince Charming or I want.
It's about Cinderella.