High School graduation next weekend. Should I go?
I have a major dilemma right now. I've known my two step-children since they were 2 and 4 and love their father dearly. In the beginning, our relationship with his ex was okay and co-parenting wasn't too terrible. We split the kids 50/50 having them every other week. I desperately wanted my own child but sadly my husband's vasectomy reversal was unsuccessful. Since I was already parenting my two step-kiddos, I fully embraced the job of mom and loved and cared for them as my own. Though it hurt that they didn't love me like their biomom, I was realistic about not being able to compete for their affections and just did the best I could.
As they got older into their teenage years, they started acting miserable at our house and at times rude. I just chalked it up to teenage angst and the fact we lived out of town which they hated. When the oldest turned 14, their stepdad (not the kids or biomom) explained that the kids wanted to move in full-time with mom. This didn't come as a surprise because we knew how miserable they were. My husband was hurt but didn't fight it, but he also didn't really communicate with the kids for the next couple months. I, on the other hand, initiated contact with the oldest and eventually my husband came around and we would go out to eat together about once a month though they never wanted to come back to our house for dinner or to even pick up the rest of their stuff which we found odd. When either of them wanted something, I always took them shopping for whatever they needed. We did not have a child support agreement in place because at some point the ex told my husband he no longer had to pay support since she was doing well financially. However, they never filed anything with the court. We continued to pay for clothes, school supplies, extracurriculars, etc. when the ex started coming after my husband for child support. A totally reasonable request but my husband wanted to do it the right way through the court system and not through some verbal agreement.
Knowing the kids were fine and happy and could care less about us, we moved to Florida. My husband moved down first and I moved a couple months later while I finished up with my job. The day I arrived, my husband got a notice from the child support enforcement agency (the exes' timing has always been impeccable). Not only did it enforce the original child support amount which was totally acceptable, but it also included the years of back child support that he owed after they had their verbal agreement. So my husband did the right thing and paid the entire amount off instead of disputing it and has been diligently paying child support ever since.
Before I moved down to Florida, my stepdaughter needed some new shoes for lacrosse which I happily purchased for her along with some other gear, but the shoes weren't cleats though I tried to convince her that's what she needed. Meanwhile, she hadn't communicated with her dad at all except for the obligatory monthly meal when she texted him to ask for a pair of cleats the week I was moving down to Florida. I had just quit my job and spent over $100 on those shoes! Long story short, my husband knew I had just purchased her shoes and so he said no. After that, the youngest stopped talking to us and the oldest called my husband to tell him what a horrible person he was for not buying his daughter a pair of shoes! During that conversation, my husband could hear both my stepdaughter and his ex telling my stepson what to say in the background.
During the rest of our time in Florida and since we've moved back, the ex has been constantly threatening my husband with legal action for more money. She doesn't work and lives off her current husband's income and child support. My husband doesn't respond fearing that whatever he says will be relayed to the children or could be used against him. He bought her a house as part of the divorce that she rents out AND she lives in a $600,000 house where we live in a small condo after selling our big house once the kids moved out. Long story short, every time the ex threatens to send my husband to court and he doesn’t respond, the kids stop talking to us. The latest episode was when my stepson was livid that he only got $1000 for college after we told him for years we couldn't afford to pay for his tuition and encouraged him to get scholarships and financial aid. We even sent him scholarship applications and other financial aid opportunities. Two months after we attended his high school graduation, he sent my husband an 11-page letter outlining why he is a horrible father. Interestingly, he mentioned that no one told him to write the letter...
The moral of the story is the ex has probably always talked badly about us, and my stepson even told me that the child support was "never enough" after I told him he shouldn't be privy to that information in the first place. My husband refuses to have a relationship with either one of them while I occasionally see my stepson but rarely see my stepdaughter. So because I don't have much of a relationship with my stepdaughter, her graduation is happening next weekend and I know she's having a party that we have not been invited too. I'm torn as to whether or not I should go to the actual graduation. My husband doesn't want me to go and I know it would just make me feel bad knowing she probably doesn't care whether or not I'm even there. We plan to get her a card and gift at the very least. Should I go anyway??? Thank you!