That was the day I knew, even after everything that had gone on, that changed the dynamic in the house and between my kids and him.  That was the day they started to think he was taking me for granted, that was the day they began to think he wasn’t doing his fair share, that was the day the swearing began and that was the day, I knew, they had lost respect for him.  My children are very protective of me.  They rally around me like a fortress wall, they of course can break it down whenever they wish, but for someone else to try and infiltrate it they would defend it till the death.  This began the never-ending battle of forces between my children and him.  Very soon after the holidays were over hell started to break loose all over the place.  My daughter’s issues reared their ugly head again and in the heat of the moment I could no longer let her issues affect five other people and short of putting her in a box down by the river I sent her to live with her father.  It was the first week of February and now we were down to four cats, two dogs and three teenage girls.  I thought we would be fine being we only had his daughters a few nights a week and could manage not killing each other the nights we only had my daughter and had to try to regain control over our relationship.  That thought was short-lived the day his daughters had a large argument with their mother and next thing I knew I was a full-time mother of three. They ended up coming to live with us and stayed twenty-five out of thirty days a month seeing their mom on occasion as they sorted through their own stuff.  At the time we thought it was a blessing that I was out of work being all three girls went to different schools, had sports all over the tri state area and after school I could get everyone and be home with them all for homework, dinner and generally being ignored by all of them.  I began to feel very lonely.  The thought of my analogical character of Rapunzel stuck up in this big house all by myself waiting for my prince to come home every night began to become an obsession.  I would call my mom, my best friend and cry at how lonely my days were and how unfulfilled they were.  I knew I was needed and the job I was doing in the home was necessary, but it was thankless.  I got up before everyone ever day, made lunches, made breakfasts and began my hour commute to drop off the three girls at their respective locations for educational excellence.  I then arrived home, did the dishes, took care of the dogs, cleaned the house, did laundry, started dinner, and by 2:00 every day was back in the car to do the afternoon roundup of pick ups from said locations. Once we were home they ate, as if they were going to the electric chair, did homework and went to their rooms where all I could hear was music or the low tone of TV.  I sat in the living room by myself most afternoons just begging for the day to be over.  Jolly guy worked twelve-hour days and it was me against the kids most days.  I would make dinner and the four of us would eat together and then the nightly routines of showers, dog walking, arguing would ensue until jolly guy arrive home.  Then I would try to get a few minutes alone with him, but the line was long being his kids needed his attention as well. As this monotonous existence went on, I realized how sad and depressed I was feeling.  I was missing my daughter, I was missing my house, I was missing my friends and I was missing jolly guy. So I thought in order for me to survive I needed something all mine, so I decided I would go back to school.  I did all the research and was so excited to tell jolly guy of my plan.  And then he said “Why would you go back to school?  You don’t need that.  You have all this; a house, a family, what more do you need?” I cried that night, because “all that” wasn’t enough.  I needed more.

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