Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

"Psssst! Betty! Look out your window! Quit feelin' sorry for yourself. Round up that child of yours and c'mon outside. Time's a wastin'. Oh, and grab that bag of peanuts on your way out..."

"Yipee! They're comin' outside! And they're haulin' peanuts! Party time at Whirlin' Betty's!!"

"Hey, Betty! I'm over here! We came over to cheer you up and remind you of what's really important! Send some of those nuts my way!"

"Hey, Mama. Let's go for a quick walk through the rose garden to see what's blooming today. The animals will still be here when we get back."

"Look at that scarlet rose bush, Mama! Let's smell it!!!""

"See, I told you they'd still be here after our walk. There's the red-bellied woodpecker ready for some peanut action!"

"Let's all do the Memorial Day Dance! Yipeeeee!! Let's Whirrrrrrl!"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

the Truth about Mother's Day

Well, here you have it. This is the Truth about Mother's Day. I may have felt sorry for myself that Day, which I'm good at, but the reality is that I am the Mother of a Wonderful Little Boy who made this clever card for me.

And that, really, is all that matters. Even the fact that the Child's father seeks custody and I face the battle of my life is trivial compared to this Truth.

And right outside the door of the house where the Wonderful Little Boy resides with me is an abundance of Truth, as you see in this photo.

The Truth is that I am Blessed.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

To my Mother

I wish you could visit me here today. It's Mother's day, and all day I've been wondering if you felt appreciated by me. I wish you could see my house, and my little boy: the grandson you never met. You used to be so good at diminishing my problems; wow, do I need that now.

It's been rough lately. I've been "served" with papers- Bruce, your grandson's father, is filing for full custody and child support payments. (It's the only time he ever served me anything.) (And he, by the way, never paid me a dime of child support.)

I've spent hours, energy and money seeking legal counsel. My efforts paid off, and I have retained the best lawyer I could find. (I'm no fool- I'm fully aware that said lawyer represents Big Daddy- the loving, protective father I never had.) Your life, Mother, was so different from mine, yet the fathers of our children did their damnedest to ruin things for both of us.

I tried to learn from your experience; I never married, determined not to let any man do to me what had been done to you. I allowed the father, Bruce, to see our son when he asked. I tried hard to keep the peace, but his controlling, often angry behavior caused me to watch carefully.

He finally went overboard last December to the point where I had to involve the police. I stopped allowing visitation. I had all legal rights- the courts had never been involved, and I had always given up my right to child support payments just so my child wouldn't have to adhere to a standard visitation schedule, which allows ample time with the non-custodial parent.

Well, Bruce's threats have come to fruition, and he's indeed "hauling me into court." I now face the monumental task of proving that I have been the child's sole caretaker all his life, and that I've excelled at it. This is such a ridiculous waste of time and effort. I'm already working full time at my demanding job and single parenting; now I'm also a full time advocate for myself and my son, having to move mountains to prove the obvious.

My lawyer has asked me to contact my family and support network. Sadly, such people are missing. Once I became a single parent, my former friends slipped away. I had no time to seek new friends; even other mothers tend to stick with other married mothers.

So, my work in putting together my case will be hampered by the very problem that has plagued me since my son was born. I have nobody to step forward and say, "This woman has done everything humanly possible to raise her son well despite the obstacle of social isolation. Her son is happy, especially now that the father is out of the picture and he feels free to be himself in the absence of the father's criticism. Custody should remain with the mother, and visitation should either be disallowed, or allowed with supervision only, to protect the child from further harm."

I know you'd do it if you could. I know that if you were alive, you'd move heaven and earth to ease my burden. You'd probably hop on the next flight, and stay with me to keep my house in order and my child fed while I take care of the overwhelming task in front of me (during my free hours away from work). Never before have I faced such a devastating problem, but I certainly can imagine the way you'd offer youself to assist in any way.

You'd have undoubtedly taken my mind off all this at times, also. I often think of the laughing fits we used to have regularly. Every once in a while, I have one of those laughing fits with your grandson. It must be some kind of genetic humor wavelength thing, because it's never happened to me with anyone else.

So, Happy Mother's Day. I miss you more than ever.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Y'll be awright

Here are a couple of photos taken today of the first roses of spring in the public rose garden outside of my house. There was a cold snap this spring which damaged a lot of the wild roses, but this harbinger clearly prevailed. I am being tested. The peaceful life my child and I have been enjoying was broken with a phone call at 10:30am. To my shock, it was Bruce, my child's father, with whom I have not spoken during the past 4 months. I had been advised by my lawyer to inform Bruce that he would have to go to court to try to obtain visitation rights. Nobody really expected that Bruce would follow through, and a new found peace prevailed, as if a huge burden had been lifted. I hadn't realized how both my child and I had been squelched, controlled and bullied by him!

Well, he's back. He's officially fighting for child custody and said I should be receiving my subpoena very soon. The court date is June 13, when I was supposed to have been out of town for an important work-related conference. Bruce assured me that he will use it against me if I try to postpone the court date because of my work. After taunting me with this, he proceeded with his trademark tirade about how I had ruined the child's life, etc., etc.

Finally I hung up on him after having tried my best, as always, to remain civil and tolerant. I had to leave for an appointment with my counselor.

Well, as luck would have it, my car broke down on the way. I could tell that the problem was major (and it will cost $1,000 to fix the car- I was right!). By the time the tow truck arrived, I was shaking from the blows of the day. The easy-going tow truck driver smiled, assuming, I'm sure, that my disabled car was my main problem, and said slowly, very reassuringly, "Y'll be awright."

He did what he could to reduce my stress by not charging me for the extra distance he towed beyond my AAA allowance. But it was his convincing mantra, "Y'll be awright" that saved me yesterday. It still reverberates, as it will many times over the coming weeks.