Our therapist began with Jolly Guy’s youngest. She could barely look up she was trying desperately to fight back tears. She said “I don’t want them to leave, I want them to come home.” And my heart sank even further. His next daughter spoke “I don’t know what you want me to say, of course I want them to stay, but I hate all the fighting” And a lump was in my throat because she was right. Then my youngest spoke “Jolly Guy scares me and I don’t know if I want to go back.” That was the hardest one for me to hear, but I kept my mouth shut. It was hard not to interject or go to each of them and hug them or find some words of comfort. Then the tension was broken by the utter disdain that came when my oldest daughter spoke. “I’m sorry that I swore at you, but it doesn’t change how I feel about you. I don’t want to come back. I will miss your kids, but I think you and my mom together is toxic.” No one said a word. No one even moved. It just hung out there almost tangible. I was the only one who hadn’t spoken yet. Then the therapist asked if I was ready to talk. My head and my heart were not in sync. My heart was lying to my brain. I took a deep breath, fought back my own tears and began to speak. “I have loved Jolly guy since the day I met him. I fell in love with both of you (his kids) shortly after. We have created a family albeit not a normal one and maybe not even such a great one, but we have such potential. I know that if we all work at this, if we listen to each other, if we love one another first and foremost that this can be what all six of us have always wanted. I am willing to come home and give this my utmost attention, but I can’t be everyone’s whipping post anymore. I can’t be taken for granted. My plan is to return to work by the end of the summer and I will begin looking for a job as soon as we come home. I won’t be available for everyone every second they need seething and I need you all to hear that. I will come home because I want to make us work and I will stay as long as your dad and I are willing to keep moving forward. Because that’s what families do.” Everyone, even the therapist, was teary eyed at this point. It was emotional. It was draining. It took everything out of me. Shortly after I spoke the room changed. The mood changed and not in good way. It felt dark and ominous and I could see the rage begin to build in my older daughter. Her disappointment in my decision. She made a crass comment and much to my surprise so did jolly guys older daughter. Next thing I knew they were all saying things that were selfish and nasty. They began to explain how they thought we were pathetic. How this decision shouldn’t just be up to Jolly Guy and I. That these were their lives too and their opinions should matter. I was again in shock. I thought we just listened to their opinions and gave them a voice. The session ended abruptly when all four of them got so annoyed that they walked out. Jolly Guy and I sat there staring at the therapist in awe. I’m pretty sure that was the worst family session she may have ever seen. How the heck did that go from “I want you to come home” to we both sucked? Honestly, we were going to have to fight for every inch we got from them and to tell you the truth, I don’t blame them for not believing we could do it. I wasn’t so sure we could either.