Friday, September 25, 2009

No Place Like Home

My godmother has Alzheimer's Disease. I believe friends help friends. I don't mean the easy stuff, I mean the stuff that takes a decision to go the extra mile. Let's face it, any bloke can do the easy stuff and go on their merry way.

What I do can be done anywhere I have wifi. My youngest child went off to university this year. So I'm not making much of a sacrifice moving to the mountains - no hero banners here.

I go back and forth between her mountain cabin and our city suburb house. The only real inconvenience is that I sometimes need something on my desktop computer at home. You don't need to send me lots of solutions to this, I've got it worked out now.

The point is this: As an adult it is a bit frustrating to reach for something that is at the other house. It made me think about the new vogue custody arrangements coming out of family court in divorce cases.

Everyone is patting themselves on their backs regarding the new The King Solomon Solution. The solution is that the kid/s will spend half a week at one parent's residents and the rest of the week at the other residence. They attend the same school all week, obviously. Oh how wonderful! Or maybe not. The parents are delighted because they get their half.

The words of Father Sigman keep coming to mind. His parents were two religions. Alternating weekends they attend each church. Father told me he wasn't both religions, he was neither. He was a kid then. Obviously at some point, he decided which religion he was to be for the rest of his life.

There is a judge I used to appear before who, in one case twenty years ago, had the parents rotate through the house every two weeks, the kids stayed put in their own rooms with their own stuff. I like her creativity. Perhaps a new Solomon Solution. So why hasn't that caught on? Because it was inconvenient for the adults.

Retrospective studies haven't been done on the impact of this 'ancient wisdom' on the kids. But I wonder if they feel they don't have two homes, they have none.


  1. Great post, Nadine. I like the second solution. What we adults do, even if we have best attentions, affects children much more than we think. So I wonder, one day when my son is old enough, what side will he take...

  2. Ivy, knowing you, my best answer is that little Hobbit will have room in his heart to love you both.

  3. I have come to realise many years too late that divorce is a form of child cruelty. Parents do only think of themselves, their selfish desires, not the responsibility they have to their children.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Glyn, the other side of the coin is that selfish people don't make for a good marriage.

  6. Ivana I removed my post in case it was mis-interpreted. I agree with Nadine, ordinary children love both their parents. But girls realise though they can twist their father's round their little finger and side with them likewise boy's with their mothers.
    Sons are great to watch the rugby with though. Girls don't understand the game.
    Sons are better with music.
    Daughter's never know who plays bass.
    And don't ask me to go shopping.
    Not for clothes anyway.
    Nor your son.

  7. Yeh, its like I said on a blog of mine we teach the wrong subjects in school.
    More emphasis should be put on relationships in marriage and childcare rather some of the nonsense we teach.

  8. Also people get married with every good intention of raising a family and do it well. Then suddenly the grass is greener somewhere else. A prettier woman who loves you better, cares about you, better sex because the rest has just got boring. The intention wasn't necessarily to be selfish. I know I'm contradicting myself.

  9. Thank you, Glyn and Nadine. I know what you guys mean. Either way, someone suffers, we can only do our best to make it easier for the kids. Hobbit is too young to understand why, but it doesn't mean he doesn't understand at all. People change, and I totally agree with Nadine that selfish people are not for marriage.
    This is such a slippery ground. There's no winner, no loser. Just casualties.

  10. Oh Nadine this was an amazing post. I agree with the idea that parents rotating through custody periods in the same house is a great idea and that perhas it doesn't happen because parents are too selfish. Another thing I think is hard for kids is that divorced parents have different house rules which ii confusing for the children.

  11. Perhaps a 'good divorce' requires greater maturity than a 'good marriage' when children are involved.

  12. You know... know...

    Where do I even start?

    Divorce happens.

    It always has.

    (even when it was against the laws or you were made a parriah of society)

    Everyone suffers.

    In an effort to make things "right" things get more screwed up.

    Anger, frustration, hostility, parental alientaion syndrome, not to mention divorce craziness happens.

    I am both an ex-wife and a second wife...not to mention a mom and a stepmom. I know how it goes.

    One side is abnormally dysfunctional because my husband's ex-wife and I GET ALONG...her kids have THREE parents (as kid, you may think that is either lucky or sucky). On the other side of my life, I'm dysfunctionally normal. My ex-husband belives I'm the spawn of Satan, even though it was he who had all the affairs and walked out. (NPD...but that's another story). My oldest daughter and her father have a crappy saddens me. Fathers are so important to daughters (I know, I am one of those, too). My youngest learned how to deal with her father so that she doesn't get hurt by him.

    One side is bizarrely happy, the other just sucks.

    Who really wins? Nobody.

    But nobody gets married thinking "oh goody...I'm going to have kids, build a life, walk away from it, get divorced and screw everybody up."

    It's the test life throws at you...and then you learn the lessons...


  13. Peggy, yes things head in a direction we don't expect long before we realize it. I think we do the best we can on any given day.

  14. I posted about the award you gave me. Thank you.

  15. Hello Nadine, am amazed at such scenarios there, in Africa though couples tend to live together amidst disputes... I think in the western world ppl cherish their rights as well as freedom so much...

  16. It is hard to say what happens in America. Perhaps because divorce is easy, albeit expensive, we tend to find it is an easy solution rather than work at a mature relationship. I hardly think anyone could argue we have more than our share of Peter Pans in America. I'm not sure staying together in a bad situation is the answer for anyone. Certainly, no one should stay in an abusive situation, which includes emotional abuse. We'll see, I'm becoming one of those statistics too.

  17. I have to jump in here. Divorce is never easy and shouldn't be taken lightly but I don't think people who are clearly no longer in love, at each other's throat, and unhappy should stay together just so the kids won't have to suffer. Believe me, they understand and they are suffering. I think parents should try to repair the marriage, if they can, but if it's irretrievably broken they can divorce and still maintain some kind of sanity for their children ---even in custody situations that don't include parents rotating through the original home [I could never go for this].
    What I have seen [and experienced] is PAS [parental alienation syndrome] often occurs when there is animosity between the divorcing parents. This should be labeled for the child abuse that it is. This is far more damaging than any kind of disruptive custody living arrangement.

  18. I think it is old school that people stay together beyond it being a healthy and happy relationship. The 'grown up' thing to do is to exit in a civil and mature way.

    Most of the things people fight about are not worth the fight. In one study I saw some years ago, within a year of winning a certain car or piece of furniture, that item was gotten rid of by the person who 'won' it within a year of acquiring it. The exception was family heirlooms that had a history prior to the marriage. Basically, it seemed that the stuff was just stuff and the fight was just that, a fight.

    Well anyway, such is life.

  19. Well, duh, I didn't edit that very well, guess it is obvious that I was interrupted midway into the post. Oh well...

  20. Who knows how that arrangement worked out for them, but at least they were creative. I can see a few potential problems, yet perhaps they made it work.