I have not posted in a while because all of our kids are no longer living in our home. Our boys are 23 (my son) and 22 (SS), both graduated from college and in their own places with full time jobs. SD19 just finished her first year of college and is currently back in our area at her mother's for the summer, although her mother recently moved about a half hour away.
Long story short, I have been married to DH for 10 years, and he had 50/50 custody of his kids. SS and I have always got along, but as SD became a pre-teen, she had some challenging, entitled (in my opinion) behavior that went unchecked by her parents, and caused a lot of conflict between DH and I because I felt like I had no voice when it came to her in my home, and he felt defensive of allowing her to act however she wanted. It grew into a large divide, and as she got older she would skip times to come over and sometimes withhold communication when she was upset. It ended up that she moved in full time with her mom at almost 16 after DH tried to enforce consequences after she came home falling down drunk from a party. She has been at our house a only a handful of times since.
I know that she has the opinion that I didn't want her here when she was younger, because I did withdraw quite a bit, I didn't know how to handle what what was going on around me and I was in a severe depression for a while. I had made a request that she and her brother give us a heads up before coming over when they were on their mom's time, and she took that even more as she was not welcome here. A lot has happened, we both have reasons for feeling the way we do, but bottom line is that I don't think either one of us trust or feel comfortable with each other. We don't see each other often at all these days, when we do we are polite but it's like walking on eggshells. I hate that things are this way, but I don't know how to change it. It doesn't seem like she has any interest in changing it, I do not have any indication she is interested in anything to do with me whatsoever.
For the most part, it's just in the back of my mind, she has been away and not a daily part of life in aong time. I hate for anyone to be upset with me, let alone someone I had hoped to be a positive person in their life. I feel a lot of regret over the situation and wish I had known how to handle things better, but I don't dwell on it like I used to. However, anxiety is coming up right now because we have an outing planned with all of our kids this weekend at a place that is a couple hours away from our home. SS and SD both went to the same college, and SS still resides near that town. That town is between here and where we are going. When we made the plan, I had in mind that SD would still be at school, I did not realize she would be home and therefore driving the full way with myself, my son, and DH. We can't all fit in the same vehicle, so SS and his girlfriend would meet us. I feel extremely anxious about it, so much so that I have suggested that my son and I drive separate and pick up SS and his girlfriend (and see their new apartment, we are the only ones who haven't seen it), then DH and SD could drop them off on the way back. DH is planning to drive 20 minutes the opposite direction to pick up SD, so they could just hop on the highest from there, plus my son works an odd shift and is hoping to sleep in the car some of the way, and we could jet out if the others wanted to hang out longer. I guess my question is, am I being ridiculous? The catalyst for me wanting to do that is that I don't want to be in a car with SD for 5 hours.
In the past, when spending a lot of time around her, I generally end up hearing something I would rather not, plus I am nervous about saying the wrong thing. There has been more than once where she has been so offended by something I said or did, she takes it out on her dad later by cursing him out and then ghosting him for months. I used to want to keep trying, but these days being in any sort of close quarters is not what I am looking for. Planning this outing was what I can do for trying right now, somewhere neutral where there are activities that we can focus on while being together. But then there is the side of me that thinks I am being stupid, what is the big deal about spending 5 hours in the car, if she is willing to do it, I should be too, right? Ugh. I just needed to get this out, thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions on how to move past dread and anxiety over seeing semi estranged stepkids, I would love to hear them.