I apologize for leaving the "story" hanging, but after that horrible lawyer meeting I just didn't feel like revisiting that entire evening in writing; it upset me enough to send me into a two week funk and the worst episode of Meniere's (vertigo) I've had yet.
I'll say this, my husband came to support me, didn't say a word through the entire thing. We let my lawyer do most of the talking, but my ex did address me directly several times, and even though I shook from head to toe through the entire meeting, I had clear answers for him, and he was stumped. My husband actually said he was impressed with how well I handled what was thrown at me (like my ex saying my son needed to be with him more considering the way my son has been behaving at home, which is a whole different blog post). My ex was livid, shocked that I was unwilling to come down to his offer, and left angry. I was actually worried for my own safety, and so glad my husband was there...I pictured him waiting for me outside the meeting. I don't know why, because he has never harmed me in any way, but he was so angry that it scared me.
Since the meeting he has sent over another low offer, and I countered and was rejected. So as of right now, we have a hearing for a temporary order set up in 2 weeks, in which I will have to go before the court and testify, and listen to my ex testify against me.
This is just one aspect of crisis in my life right now, and the only one I can discuss here. I will just say this: nothing, NOTHING could have ever prepared my husband and I for bringing him in as a stepfather to three kids with a dad they are close with. Nothing could have prepared me for the stressful dynamics that occur when three children are your only children, but you are not their only father. Nothing could prepare me for the unbelievable stress that comes with every aspect of blending this family, as smoothly as we thought it was going and would be. I feel constantly torn---I don't know what is best for everyone, and I don't know if that is the same thing for everyone, and I feel like it is all on my shoulders to decide.
Life is an ebb and flow, I do realize that happiness and smooth sailing is never guaranteed. I have no doubts that I will turn this around, and I spend every day right now trying to figure out how to do that. Knowing that I've done it before and can do it again is just about the only thing keeping me sane. I am lucky to be surrounded by the most amazing friends anyone could ask for, and one in particular who is no stranger to crisis, and is my touchstone during times like this. She reminds me to do what I can every day to care for myself, and get myself better so that I can be there for those who need me, like my husband and my children. There have been days lately when the most I can do for myself is get showered and dressed, and some of those days, that has been in late afternoon. My doctor has me on additional anxiety medication which is helping with the vertigo most of the time. I haven't worked out in 3 weeks, which is the longest I've gone in several years. I'm trying to practice what I preach and eat nurturing, healthy foods that won't make me feel worse but perhaps better. On days when I feel like I can take it, I turn on the cheesy pop music of my youth and listen to it. My husband, who is also struggling right now, and I try to watch as much funny tv as we can.
It took me 3 days to muster up the emotion to finish this post. My court date is set for March 8, and I am in survival mode until then. My husband and I have a small vacation planned for spring break, just the two of us and our dog, to try and strengthen our relationship so that we can better face this situation, all of it. I'm hoping that with further stress management and this little break, the vertigo will dissipate and I can once again return to my saving grace-exercise. Until then I will focus on doing what I can each day.