The saga started in the two "MAD" posts below. After my 80 mile roundtrip to their house on Saturday, the story left off with Sweets' dad agreeing to get a Power of Attorney (PoA) signed on Sunday so that Sweets could leave the state with me on vacation this week. I had told him I would pick her and the PoA up Sunday after 5pm.
At 2:15pm Sunday, I received a call from Sweets' dad that I could come pick him up now to go get the PoA signed. I reminded him that I was busy until 5pm. Could he go get it signed before that? He said yes. I called at 4pm; he was still waiting for a ride. Same story at 4:45pm. I rushed over to his house by 5:30pm because the only place I knew that would notarize it on Sunday closed at 6pm.
They were not at their house but would be there "soon". At 5:40pm I called again; he said he would be home in 5 minutes. He did not answer the next two calls but finally came walking down the street with Sweets at 6:15pm. Thank goodness for the DVD in the car to keep Buddy happy and for BB's nap!
After spending another 30-40 minutes driving him around to no avail, the PoA was still not signed. He refused to pay $20 for the mobile notary that I found searching online (love my new cell phone) while I waited 45 minutes for him to come home; he wouldn't even split it with me. He told me to take Sweets and that he would meet me halfway the following day with the signed PofA. I can see right through that one! Take her now, he'll have an excuse why he can't bring me the PoA tomorrow, and I'll have to choose between taking her home, picking up the PoA (assuming it is signed), or going without the PoA.
I told him he could bring Sweets when he brought the PoA the next day. He needed to let me know where and when. Then I explained again to Sweets that I couldn't take her on vacation without the paper being signed. I told her that it was her dad's job to get the paper signed and meet me the next day. As she got out of the car, she said to Buddy, "I'll see you tomorrow, hopefully." How sad for an 8 year old to expect her dad to fail.
He started calling me about noon at work today, saying he didn't have a car. He promised to get the PoA signed but didn't know if he could meet me. Maybe his brother could bring her. I said that would be fine. After 6pm he still didn't have the PoA signed and hadn't even called his brother. Finally he called me back after 7pm and said he had no transportation to go anywhere tonight. I told him we weren't leaving until Wednesday, that I would meet him halfway tomorrow if he could get a ride. He replied that maybe Sweets couldn't go this time, but maybe next time. I told him that was okay as I ripped my heart out.
He handed the phone to Sweets who was crying by this point. I talked her down but felt so sorry for her. I told her he could still fix it if he got the paper signed and came halfway tomorrow. I know it is unlikely, but I wanted to give her hope. I reminded her she could call me anytime, even while we were gone if she didn't make it. She was better by the time she got off the phone and started focusing on the fact that she was hungry and wanted to eat dinner.
Now I FEEL SO BAD! It has gotten to the point that I have to treat her dad like a child. I drew the line (meet halfway) and now I have to enforce it, even if it means Sweets misses this vacation. I knew that when I said it, but I really hoped he would pull through.
Her dad has pushed and pushed to control every situation. He is habitually late, including meeting me at his own house. He doesn't do what he says he will. Even Sweets openly says he lies all the time. He has told his friend (who relayed to me) that he is deliberately playing me, expecting me to get frustrated and help him even more. It has turned into a game of "who will blink first."
I really hope I have done the right thing in this situation. It is clear he wants Sweets to go, both to make her happy and so he doesn't have to arrange/pay his family members to take care of her for the next 5-6 days. I feel like I have been enabling him to be a lousy parent by making things easy for him. I justify it because I don't want to hurt Sweets, but it is clear that he is now purposely taking advantage of me. He is using Sweets as a pawn (while trying to gain custody of Lil Sis), and I can't further participate in that behavior.
If you managed to read this LONG post, PLEASE share your thoughts. I really want to know if you think I should handle this differently.