Welcome to MY world H!
DS was thrilled to open the box and turn on the system. There is a lot of set up required, which H would normally handle. But he just got up and walked away. Fine, I got through it all and then helped DS start up the game I got him.
I perceive that this game system is going to be a constant reminder to H of the day he didn't have any say in a decision that affected our family. The day I said, "Two of us can play this game; if you can spend, spend, spend on your kids without taking my concerns and feelings into consideration, then I get to do the same thing." It's about time he learned what it's like to walk in my shoes.
We had a rather long discussion about the fact that he lied to me about not being willing to pay SD18's tuition and then did it anyway. And I listed all my reasons for being angry. I told him that if she had made an honest effort to work 35-40 hours per week and had saved at least 50% of her last summer's earnings toward college and came up $400 short, I would be feeling way more generous. But it's hard to be generous with someone who feels like what she earns is her personal spending money and that Daadddyyy should be writing a check for her because she exists and is just so wonderful. And that he thinks I'm just a hard a** when I'm trying to show him that NO ONE is teaching this child responsibility. And that allowing her to continue to be irresponsible is NOT doing her any favors. It's his JOB as a parent to teach her responsibility. And constantly "laying down the law" and then caving is teaching her to have a supreme sense of entitlement, just like her mother. And I don't foresee any end to it. NO ONE did her any favors by allowing her to flunk courses all through high school, and then by gifting her a graduation. Cold harsh reality is going to slap that child in the face one day and she is going to be totally unprepared. Except that she's well-trained in putting out that hand and waiting for Dadddyyy to fill it with cash, and he's taught her that it works.
The excuse for allowing her to work only 20 hours a week and still be willing to pay even though the CO states that the child must avail herself of ALL opportunities to help herself, including working, is that he procrastinated too long in laying down the expectation that she needed to get herself a weekend job if she was going to be in this musical and it's not fair now to make her follow a rule he never stated. Which is true, but on the other hand, every time he tried to talk to her about her upcoming college expenses, she got flippant, and even one time stated, "Don't worry, I won't be asking for you to help pay for it." So how was he ever supposed to have that discussion when she shut him down every time? And then I went into my dramatic self and started imitating her moronic flightiness. "Oh I have LOTS of money saved, because *I* am going for free!" I nailed her perfectly. And then I said, apparently she's NOT going for free, since her mother is coming to you for money now.
He says when I mock her, I mock him, because he was like that at her age. I get that he didn't want to go to college and was probably clueless about the expenses, what day he was supposed to be there, etc., since I still have to keep track of everything for him. "You need to be here at this time on this day," or he misses it. Can't tell you how many orthodontist appointments he missed for her because he just forgot, and I stopped being his personal calendar. But, and it took a long time for him to admit this, he wasn't in your face flighty. He didn't flaunt his cluelessness as something that was cute and wonderful and something we should all be greatly amused by. He would have been a quiet clueless. The fact is that she's clueless and throws it around as if it's something to be proud of, and her mother encourages it -- oh isn't she sooo funny? She's the life of the party, that one. Let's bend over in laughter at how absolutely funny she is. It's not her cluelessness that infuriates me, it's how she flaunts it and how NO ONE puts a stop to it and kicks her to the curb about thinking it's funny.
Paying for college is not material for a stand-up routine. It's serious business. And if she's not willing to sit down and discuss it with him, she has NO RIGHT to expect him to pay up when her or her mother's hand comes out.
It's water over the dam this time. The check has gone out in the mail to the college (not to GUBM who demanded that it be made out to her -- one small victory -- I called the financial aid office and asked how him sending it straight to the college could possibly "jeopardize her financial aid package" as GUBM was asserting and they told me it would not -- although I still wonder if GUBM lied on the form about child support payments and is trying to avoid the college knowing there is child-support paying parent in the picture ).
He swears that he's going to write SD a letter telling her that he paid because he's looking forward to her future success and that he will continue to help her as long as she ... and then he's going to provide a list of conditions. I have little faith that he's going to keep his word. I told him that he needs to include "to the extent my financial resources allow" in there so it's not a carte blanche fork over of money. What happens if I lose my job? My company is downsizing right now. Who knows what our financial situation will be in December when the next bill comes due? And let's not forget that it's my income that is subsidizing his ability to pay toward her tuition. I will be presenting him with some overdue medical bills for DS6 and requesting -- no, requiring -- 50% payment on those. I've also told him that since she got a pass on working full time, I'm going to cut my hours to four days a week at work -- that's going to have a serious economic impact. And I said that it is for work/life balance (when I work 45 hours a week, trying to squeeze in a much needed eye exam for DS6 becomes almost impossible) and I expect his full support. He said he would be supportive of that.
We have an appointment with a marriage/family therapist on Monday who gets the step family dynamic. I'm hoping he will help. I'm hoping he will help him *get* that parenting doesn't mean acquiescing to every demand, but setting them up for success by teaching them responsibility. And that by saying, "I'm not paying toward your tuition because you have made irresponsible choices and have refused to sit down and have a serious conversation with me" and then caving at the first squawk has taught her to expect to be rescued again and again and again. I think this therapist is going to talk turkey to him. I could be wrong, but based on my initial conversations with him, he seems to be firmly "The parent needs to be in control."