You leave. You file. Then you live the aftermath, and it's never just about you, especially if kids are involved. And it's never, ever as simple as you think.
L— is a moody preteen anyway, but dealing with the isolation of months of domestic violence, being subjected to ridicule by her peers for her constant sadness, and as she says, not knowing how to deal with "someone treating my mom that way," has reached a boiling point. The last 24 hours have been a test of resolve and emotional stamina for her parents. L— can't deal with much more stress, and though it's apparent that she needs a break from everything, the school district doesn't take its Spring Break until April 1st.
My ex (L—'s dad) and I have agreed it's time to look into counseling. (Family is now the people who live together and take care of one another. It's weird and cool all at once.)
In the meantime, I drove her to the wildly tossing greenish-brown syrup that is Happy Valley Lake, where we imagined that if it didn't stink and if it had the attribute of tides, those waves might just have the power to soothe us over for the next fourteen days.