Update on SD's visit, things are improving? (some strong language)
Bear with me, this is going to be a bit long.
Alright. It has gotten better. I bitched FDH out in counseling for the car ride because a) it was REALLY awkward for me to be stuck in the car listening to that conversation and b) I quietly urged FDH to console SD when she was crying in the car, but, when I was upset about the whole mess of the car ride, he ignored me.
A little more detail is needed on that last one. OK, to preface this, we all know GUBM is a piece of shit. Well, when GUBM knew we were hitting the road, she demanded that SD call her. Apparently, she told SD how this woman came to the house to get a kitten and took SD's kitten 'by mistake' and GUBM had to go through this whole ordeal to get the kitten back. First off, I call bullshit on the whole story. It is awfully convenient that this happened the day SD was set to come back to PGH with us. Secondly, even if it did happen, what the HELL is wrong with you, GUBM, that you would tell SD this as she is getting ready to go to her dad's house? Oh, wait, you either want her to feel guilty for choosing her dad over you - when really, that's so not the case because you're the only person involved in this mess that thinks it is about choosing sides - or you want her to feel bad for leaving for as long as she was and leaving the kitten behind. And this is why we call GUBM an asshat and a bitchole.
Well, anyway, this conversation with GUBM happened while FDH was getting gas in the car (oddly, he forgot that in NJ you can't pump your own gas so he was out of the car), so, when SD got off the phone, she told me the whole situation and I said "Hm, that's...odd. I'm sorry to hear you almost lost your kitten." When FDH got back in the car, she filled him in and he called GUBM out. SD herself said that it was very bizarre timing that it would happen now and that nobody would have stopped this woman from trying to take the kitten in the first place.
ANYWAY...on the drive home from NJ, our GPS takes us different ways every time. There's never any rhyme or reason to it, but, it just happens that way. This time, it decided to take us through the town that we lived in before we moved to PGH, which was also the town that they moved to when SD was five. So she had spent 6 years of her life in that town and in the house they lived in. She made a little comment about being nostalgic because she hadn't been there in so long and got really quiet. FDH, at one point, noticed that she was crying. And he was just going to leave it alone. I said to him, quietly (because SD was listening to music but I didn't know how loud it was), that he should talk to her and find out what's up, is she upset about the kitten? Is she upset because we're driving through her old town? *Shrug*. And it's from that point on that the car ride went downhill. He was comforting her, talking to her about her loss of an intact family and being very good about explaining the reasons why he and her mom aren't together anymore in an appropriate manner. And then it gets to the part of the conversation where he's telling her that he put her in an adult friendship role and doted on her her entire life until he split with her mom. And he mentions nothing about how it was wrong for him to have done that and how he shouldn't have put that on her and then ripped it away. Nope, it was just all about how he shouldn't have ripped it away from her. I could feel tension rising in the car, and I wasn't sure if it was just because of how awkward the whole situation was for me, or if it was because SD was feeling wronged by having her dad "ripped away from her" like that.
So, car ride continues, SD is talking about how her mom is an asshole towards her when she does or says things that are even remotely similar to FDH and, I just had to speak up for a moment. I politely stepped into the conversation and said "Now, SD, I hope you don't mind me speaking here and I hope you will forgive me if you think I am speaking out of turn, but, I do not think that it is fair for anyone to do that to anyone. When my dad died, my mom decided she hated him. And life became really rough for me since I was so much like him. She hated anything I did or said that reminded her of him, and still does. And it's not fair for anyone to do that to you, either. To treat someone poorly for who they are is not right in any way, shape, or form." Maybe I shouldn't have, but, I wanted her to know that she's not the only person in the world that has gone through this nonsense. And, this is something my therapist said that wouldn't be a bad thing to do - let her know that we can relate on this one shitty aspect of our lives - though I wasn't anticipating it happening less than two hours into our car ride :/
SD got snotty with me a little later on in the car, FDH spoke up when she interrupted me and gave me a lecture about something she knew nothing about, but, later on, she made a very judgmental comment directed towards me, but FDH didn't see it that way and so didn't say anything. It kind of upset me and I was hoping to talk to him briefly about it at a rest stop. Well, when we finally stopped, FDH jumps out of the car to pump some gas, SD jumps out of the car and runs right over to him. We talked about this with my therapist and she said that SD is likely insecure, and I can get that. But, she has a history of doing this, of being right up FDH's ass whenever the three of us are together in order to freeze/push me out. So, I walked away and went in to the bathroom. FDH said in counseling the next night that he only realized SD was right next to him when I walked away, so he sent her off, too. I didn't get a chance to talk to FDH at the rest stop, so, I texted his phone and waited until we were on a road with stop lights to give it to him to read. He claimed he didn't understand why I was upset, so I elaborated, and he decided the best method to deal with it, at that time, would be to crank up the music in the car and drive. I cried, he didn't even notice.
I chewed him out in counseling because of this. He comforted his daughter - granted at my urging - but he couldn't even so much as grab my hand and give it a little squeeze. He then made some assy comment about how he didn't pull the car over to give SD a hug when she was upset and I said "No, but you stuck your hand in the back seat to give her contact with you to let her know that you were there for her. And what do I get? Blasting the stereo. Real fucking nice, FDH." My counselor explained for FDH that I'm the type that wants physical comfort when I'm upset, I don't always need immediate long conversations because I like to gather my thoughts and composure.
In addition to that fiasco, we also talked about SD being rude and acting like a mini-wife when she's around. She told FDH that he needed to tell her the rest of the conversation that he wanted to have, just kind of casually bring it up by saying "I've been thinking a lot about the conversation we had in the car..." and that it would be a good way to ease back into it to tell her how it wasn't fair for him to do that to her because she should have been his daughter and not his friend. She also told him that he needs to work on the attitude with SD as well, to support me in telling her "hey, that's rude, think of another way to say that, please," because if I'm the only one saying it, it won't have as big of an impact on her. And, she reiterated for him that just because he doesn't think what SD is saying is rude, that I will experience it a different way, and that he should remember that. She also told me that we (she and I) can work on ways to try to remember that it's not all personal and that I need to really consider the source so I don't get so upset by what she says/does, but, I know that a piece of that is support from FDH, so, if he can do that, it will make it easier for me.
Anyway, this is all that happened between Monday and Tuesday, yikes. In addition to the nonsense above, FDH got SD enrolled in the cyber school, though with a bit of a hiccup here and there. Apparently, NJ has different vaccine requirements than PGH, so FDH had to take SD to get a chicken pox booster - and thankfully asked the lady who gave it to SD what he should be aware of given that I'm on immune suppressing medication - as well as a flu shot since she hasn't gotten a vaccine in about three years (right before I started my immunosuppressants, which was about when GUBM really ramped up her 'vaccines are awful!' campaign). Unfortunately, because of this vaccine issue, SD didn't get fully enrolled in the cyber school until yesterday, so she won't be able to start any class work until maybe Tuesday, when her supplies come via FedEx. But, FDH is off this weekend and is planning on doing a seasonal house cleaning and putting SD to work - his feelings are that she has sat around doing nothing for ten months, one weekend of a deep household cleaning won't kill her.
We also arranged for SD to go hang out with our friend's son last night. He's about her age and they have a lot in common with one another - except he's not as rude or snarky - they both have similar interests and they both have parents who are split up. We both really want SD to start hanging out with people her own age, something GUBM doesn't facilitate outside of SD's one male cousin on GUBM's side so we're glad that SD had a blast hanging out with him. And I guess she's been having a good time so far while she's been out here in general because she told FDH that she wants to spend more time out here. Now, I'm not sure if that will continue to be the case or if it is because he's been taking her to work with him during the day this week (because she has no school work to do at home and he's not leaving her home alone to do nothing) thus basically giving her unhindered access to him while I only get maybe twenty minutes alone with him on the average night since I work every day and he has pushed back her bedtime to correspond with her age, or if it's just in general that she enjoys being here, so, time will tell because after she gets her school stuff, she will not be joining FDH on his trip to work every day like she did this past week. We'll see.