Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, and Boundaries

In general, I am not a holiday type person.  I’m not a fan of Christmas, or Easter, or almost any family related holiday, mostly due to the fact that most of these holidays are connected to really crappy childhood memories.  All but Halloween.  Halloween was always fun, my mom rarely got drunk, and we always went all out with the costumes.  Never store bought costumes, the kind of costumes that you start a month beforehand.

To this day, Halloween is the one and only holiday that I hold sacred and still go balls out on my costumes.  Since Halloween usually falls on a weekday, my BF doesn’t get to take the kids trick or treating, so we found an activity during the weekend before that we can still all get dressed up, eat some candy, and the best art…it’s a huge scavenger hunt that my aunt organized in my hometown every year.  The best part was that I hit the jackpot when it comes to costumes.  I found a very Marie-Antoinette style pink dress for my stepdaughter at a second hand shop.  It had a few stains, and needed some sewing, but it was only 7 bucks, and I knew I was up to the challenge.  I also found a lovely blue princess dress for me too.  After some sewing and stain remover, I showed the dresses to her and she just glowed, asking me more than once if it was really « all for her ».

So all in all we had a great time last Sunday, 2 princesses, 2 ninjas (the boys) and a Greek God (the BF).  My cousins and their kids were there too, we scavenged, we hunted, we played and ate candy.  We stopped by my BF’s mother’s to show her the costumes and she ooohed and aaahed and gave them more candy.  Then we got them changed and brought them back to their mom’s.

Then, last night, we get a phone call from my oldest stepson.  He wants the costumes that we used this past weekend.  My BF asked to talk to their mom, she explained that she brought out their costumes from last year and they don’t fit, and since it’s the night before Halloween, she doesn’t have the time to get new ones.  My BF said that he’d see and call her back.  He told me what the call was, and I was furious.  After all the attacks and insults she has poured on me lately, she has the gall to use the kids to ask me for the costumes.

First of all, I bought the costumes myself, they are a non-essential item that I wanted, so I paid for them and did the repairs myself.   Second, why did she wait until the last minute to try on their costumes, it’s not like she didn’t know when the 31st was.  Third, she wasn’t even offering for us to go with them, she just wanted the costumes.  As far as I could tell she assumed that we would say yes to the kids if they were the ones asking and so didn’t have to spend money on costumes.

My BF and I discussed it and decided that no, we would not bail her out.  It sucks for the kids, but at the same time, we did our part to make sure they had a fun Halloween activity with costumes; it’s not our responsibility to provide for hers.  We are responsible for the kids’ wellbeing and happiness when they are with us, and we make sure that they have everything they need at our place, but other than the child support my BF pays, we are not taking any more responsibility for providing for her.

It was hard for us to hear the oldest upset, and we know that she probably spent the rest of the evening dealing with an inconsolable 8 year old, but this time we are setting our boundaries.  It’s not the first time she has assumed we would pick up the slack, and it probably won’t be the last, but it was the first time we’ve said no, and I think it’s a good start for us.

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