Last summer, The Dad and his friend Kathy took Hope and GB and Kathy’s two girls to Florida. Two other vans, filled with friends and family, went also. I had reservations, but The Dad and I agreed on a structure for the two weeks and I let them go. They had rented a huge house outside Orlando, with a large built in pool, a hot tub, wi-fi, HD TV in every room, and a game room- pool table, ping pong, and fooseball. Days at theme parks would be alternated with days staying at the house. Meals would be at the house. Routines would be maintained. It didn’t happen. At one point I received a panicked phone call from GB. She was by herself at Universal Park. She told me that she didn’t want to go on a ride and her father, Kathy, and the other three girls went without her. She didn’t know what ride or where the ride was and couldn’t tell me how long she had been alone. MK and her friend found her and took her with them. I vividly remember the dry taste of fear in my mouth and the anger I struggled to contain.
I don’t know why The Dad broke our agreement. I felt really dumb to have wasted the time trying to make things work.
An hour ago, the girls left with The Dad to spend a week in Florida. He is with a different friend this time. GB had mixed feelings about going and cried in my arms. I told her she didn’t have to go, but that home would be quiet and lowkey for the next week. Florida would be fun. I told her she could call me any and every time she wants do.
I watched them drive away and cried. I wanted to keep her and be sure she was safe. I also want GB to to try things out of her comfort zone and I want her relationship with her father to get on more solid footing. But I think it will be a long week.