Hi guys, thanks. Read everything. Wow, lots of theory-crafting going on here. I always feel like I give all the info needed, and explain myself clearly, but I guess not this time. Thank you everyone for your concern and true care about myself and the kids.
I can't remember everything asked/addressed/hypothesized [in the time I have alone at the screen], but to address some concerns:
• Somewhere in here there was the caveat of, "of course, if there IS abuse going on..." type of thing. Just to be clear, I DO NOT ABUSE MY KIDS AND DO NOT LET ANYONE ELSE. I HAVE CUT PEOPLE ALREADY BECAUSE OF THIS AND WILL DO SO AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT, I DON'T CARE WHO IT IS. Just wanted to get that out there in black and white. Politely, of course.
• Please remember, DH's "erratic behavior" was in the past 4 months, for about 3 months. Threat to take kids away was last year?, year before last?, during one of our home school arguments. Yes, the threat was based totally on the decision to home school and DH has nothing to do with it, other than the fact he wants to home school.
• The reason I posted on DH's behavior and for support was because it was SO out of character and I had no preconceived notion of how to even deal with it. It is not a pattern of abuse or how he has treated me in the course of our marriage. The past episodes he's had have been mild, much more mild, and with completely different symptoms. You have seen the play by play of the worst part of my marriage, and it didn't involve yelling or screaming or slamming doors. Okay, a few slammed doors, and some raised voices, all while kids weren't around. Yes, the kids know more than I think they do, I'm sure, but no, they were not hearing screaming fights in another room that they could report to grandparents. I was sincere when I said I did everything humanly possible to shield the kids.
• The shielding, plus then the subsequent illness that happened (and our separating the household into healthy people and sick people), is what led to the current schedule of them seeing kids 4 days a week. Previously it had been 2. Bringing up the idea of going back to 2 + overnight was met with pouting and cajoling to keep as is. 2 days later they brought up the conversation that spurred this post.
• I'm sure my parents don't know about what happened with DH, if for no other reason than if they DID know, they would have brought it up in their last conversation as reason for me to not homeschool and change my life. Their best reason against DH was "he can't make a living in his career". So, yeah, reasonably certain anything the kids have told them has not let on to what has happened.
• DH is completely back to normal, btw, in therapy, we are putting together emergency plans for anything that happens in the future, and this is not something you need to be concerned about currently, in a "maybe I shouldn't home school in this situation" type of thing.
• "constant" bringing up other schools as I said earlier is perhaps an exaggeration, and meant more in a "there is no never-bring-it-up-safe-zone-I-can-count-on". they bring it up every-so often, at least every 2 months. As I said later, it is centered around certain times of the year.
Bolt's description of my parent relationship (sorry, quote won't work), is fairly on target. We have a discussion/fight/blow out/tears, go to our corners. Take a break from each other for a bit, then things begin to normalize a bit. In an effort to preserve relationships, the subject is pointedly ignored, until eventually it isn't really being ignored as much as in the background of a busy canvas. After the threat to take the kids, we had about a month (parents went on a trip right afterwards) where we had little time to see them. By the time they were back, the heated emotions were down to simmer, and were patched over by time, not medicinal talk/resolution. Obviously we didn't go straight back to them watching the kids and sleepovers, but gradually the kids ask for a "bonus night" and I judge we are on good ground recently, so sure, then so-and-so class is moving to 3pm and it is a 5 minute walk from my parents, so sure we can stop over, etc. The frog is in a pot, so to speak. Yes, I jumped into the pot willingly. I forgot it was on a stove, but the stove looks like the people who nurtured me for more than half my life so maybe that has something to do with it.
My parents don't have a lawyer on speed dial and if push came to shove, no I do not believe that they would really do anything other than call family members and bemoan the fate of their grandchildren (like my mom call her sister type of thing). My mom has a volatile temper that says horrible things but -- generally -- does not follow through when she is out of the situation.
All of that being said, I know they're crossing a line and abusing my generally patient nature with this type of stuff, and I am looking for the best option to stop the behavior. Hence, the post. Yeah, any solution is going to be painful short run, but I'm hoping long run to still see my parents. They are in their 70's, are going to need more help as time goes on, and love their grandkids. Dementia runs on my moms side, heart problems for my dad, and he's already had 2 heart attacks. Cutting contact and reassessing in a year isn't what I want (because I may not have a year, iykwim), but I'll do what I need to if thats the only solution.
Maybe whats happening is they are growing down while I'm growing up. Maybe they've always been this way but I didn't notice until it threatened someone I love more -- my kids -- than my relationship with them. Regardless, I'm the one that needs to change the trajectory and dynamic.
It would be nice if they would just call me today and say "You know, actually the kids are doing great, they have a lot of friends, and are really excited about what you are doing in school with them this year. We're happy you and they are all fulfilled by this choice and it works for your family, and you have our blessing and support." Obviously, not going to happen. I am looking for a solution that will be the next best thing.
Right now, that looks like stopping TKD and keeping the kids over here for a time until the power dynamic resets and we can start from scratch again. Where I have the ability to easily walk away for any length of time needed, if they try to force/threaten me to do something. Because I want to preserve a long term relationship, we'll probably still see them on Saturdays or something, but me over there as well, and for a shorter period of time -- an hour instead of an afternoon, or something. If the problem persists with even this, then more cutting, I guess.
If you see flaws in my plan, let me know. I've put this together based off the advice here. Maybe I'm forgetting a key component, or overlooking an obvious danger ? Lets take CPS off the table for now.
Pushing post in a rush, may need to come back later to check for incomplete sentences, sorry