Monday, April 13, 2009

blink

In the blink of an eye, everything changes.

Some background is necessary. The Child used to spend time with his father whenever the father wanted to see him. I allowed this to keep the peace and to allow The Child to know his father. I was under no legal obligation to allow visitation, and to this day the father has never paid me a dime of child support.

Two and a half years ago the father's behavior finally became so outrageous as to be unlawful. I told the father he'd have to go to court to get permission to see The Child again. After a drawn out court battle, the father's lawsuit against me was dropped. This was one year ago.

The ensuing year has been the most peaceful since The Child was born. Gone was the unbearable stress of dealing with a controlling bully (the father).

This morning I was sitting at my computer desk, gazing out my window. I blinked, thinking my eyes were deceiving me. Who should appear in front of my house but the father. However, he was not presenting himself as a bully- he was crying and gesturing through the window.

I stepped outside into the chilly drizzle, afraid to let him into my house. He held a folded newspaper, and pointed to an obituary. I glanced at it and recognized the name of his other son.

I asked what happened, and he said his estranged son had been a college student. He died of an overdose. Of what? Heroin.

"I can't let this happen to The Child," he sobbed. "I can't let him grow up not knowing me." His other son had not seen the father since he was 2 years old.

"I'm a changed man."

I didn't have time to stay and talk further, but I said maybe he could meet The Child and me for dinner this week at a restaurant. He said his live-in girlfriend would come too.


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What am I thinking right now? Well, for starters, I wish I had wallowed in my past year of freedom, really relishing it. I was aware of my wonderful freedom, but did I enjoy it enough?--- because it's gone now. Too bad I was experiencing a period of absolute hell at work over the past year, including a lengthy period of unemployment.

Who am I to question whether or not the father is truly a changed man? I am my child's advocate, that's who.

Everything changes in the blink of an eye.

10 comments:

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Yes, i would say this qualifies as a highly tough day, Betty. I'm sorry you're going through this. I do understand and affirm your statement about being your son's advocate. I pray this all works out somehow.

Betty said...

Thank you, 2nd cup. Right now the shock is still being absorbed.

Hugs,
Betty

Loving Annie said...

Betty,
I don't believe him for a second, for his tears sound like they are for himself. But I'd watch and see. As long as he is good to the Child, fine. The second he isn't - no more contact.

Bringing the girlfriend along is nerve if you ask me, but maybe you want to meet her and see if she would be a good influence on the child.

Very stressful day. May whatever you decide bring you peace. You;ll know inside what is right if there is no conflict with it.

A child should know his father IF and onloy if there is no damage involved...

I would have kissed my mother's feet if she had ever protected me from the vicious emotionally abusive monster who was my father - and she never did.

Now if she HAD - would I have romanticized him or the loss of him ? Maybe, out of ignorance/no contact - but as an adult when I met him/chose to meet him again, his behavior would have been the same and I would have understood how right she was.

Very hard spot to be in... for what the Child wants now and what he wants and needs later may be two different things. Yikes. Tough situation...

Anonymous said...

Oh Betty...
I'm with Loving Annie on this...
Sorry...I just don't want to see
The Child or you get hurt...

Be safe...

HUGS!!!!!!!!!!

Laurie

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

I totally appreciate your wisdom. This is why I had to write about this on my blog- to hear words like yours. I also thought it was odd, even nervy as you say, for him to involve his girlfriend.

You're right about the conflict- that's what I'll be on the lookout for.

There is already a hint of it, since The Child does not want to see him.

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Laurie,

I will see to it that The Child is not hurt. You're right.

Hugs,
Betty

Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
It is a tough balance between protecting the family and decency. What you did was the decent thing: the man just lost his other son, so you offered the dinner deal. But to protect yourself and child, be on guard.

He may or may not be a changed man. My ex after 8 years is not a changed man. There is an astonishing lack of maturity after all these years.

Your gesture clearly tells your son that you are in no way preventing him from seeing his father if said father behaves with decency; however if any indecent behavior ensues you will not negotiate. Period.

I'm going through a difficult phase myself. You want to do right but don't want to take any nonsense. One can be mature and set their own feelings aside in the best interest of the child. But what hits one is continuing immaturity from the other side and completely blindness to the fact that their bad behavior and hostility (towards the other parent) affects the child.

In a way its good he is bringing his girlfriend. He may not be quite so bullying in front of her.

Take care,
Priya.

shankari said...

Hi Betty

Hope that the change is real and that the man has atleast a slightly sustained period of rationality and good sense.
Meanwhile, be on guard. I too feel that the girlfriend' presence (however obnoxious it is) would be a moderator for the dinner - three would have been extremely intimate and unnerving, no?
Take care and am with you in this.

Loving Annie said...

Just checking in to see how you and The Child are doing, Betty.
If the Child doesn't want to see him, that would be my decision right there.

Monogram Queen said...

Oh God Betty, I am so sorry for this turn of events.
I know all about "blinks" - this is not a welcome one.
I am secure in knowing you are a wonderful advocate for your child and he is in good hands of a wise, wonderful woman.
Y'all will be in my prayers and hopefully I can pop back in and check on you.