Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Been a While Since I've Bitched About my X

The girls called their dad and left a message at his last known cell phone number when they learned about their acceptances to their schools for next year. Haven't heard from him yet. I don't really remember when the last time it was they did hear from him, but it's been at least a month, maybe longer.

I'm always torn about this. Part of me gets really ticked off at him for hurting them like that, especially Sylvia. She handles it pretty well, but it's still there. I see her trying to connect with him on FB, and get no response. I think we both assume he's not on the Internet much.

Then today, I made the mistake of checking his FB page. He's connected the iPhone app.

I think there might literally have been smoke coming out of my ears. For many reasons.

First, NICE that you can afford an iPhone. Haven't seen any form of child support in HOW long now (3 years easy, and that's probably being generous), and yet, he can afford an iPhone. I can't afford an iPhone. Must be nice.

Second, he is aware that it's still a phone, right? That it has the capability of calling his children? He's got to know by now about the girls' schools. It's been on FB, his entire family knows and has congratulated them, it might as well have been in skywriting by now. He can't call and congratulate them?!?

Third, I think Sylvia already saw that he has an iPhone. The other day, it came up that they haven't heard from him since they left him a message about their schools. I told them (again) that he probably doesn't have a phone. Sylvia looked like she was going to say something, but didn't. She goes on his page a lot more often than I do, sending him Fortune Cookies, tagging him pictures, practically begging her own father to notice her. It breaks my heart. And while I wouldn't necessarily call him out on his page (not for his sake, but hers), I still stop myself from sending him a private message saying, "CALL YOUR CHILD." Because he just might. And it would be nice for that call. And he might even call back a couple of times. And then he would be gone again.

Maybe he is trying to be gone for good. And maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing after all. At the same time, I think she would need closure of some sort. (I say Sylvia over and over because Riley really does seem fine with it.) If that is his plan, to be gone from her life for good, she needs to know that.

I hate this. I hate that she's always the one who has to grow and accept and adapt. But if I could know this was the last time? It just might be worth it.

That's not to say it would be easy. She'd hate it. She'd cry, she'd lash out at me, and even after we got through the worst of it, it would still hurt from time to time.

I'm sure it'll feel a little empty when she graduates from 8th grade not to have her dad there. But she knows he's not coming. She's prepared for it. There might be a hole there, but it won't ruin her day. I don't want him to be capable of ruining any of her days. But I don't know if that's possible. Probably not.

And this is what I hate the most. Not knowing what to do. Well, really, knowing there's nothing I can do. I seethe with anger, but don't know how to productively manifest it when it comes to him. I cry, but in private, where she can't see my heart break for her again. And I just keep doing what I do every day. Buy her school supplies, say yes or no to her requests, tell her to take out the trash, and kiss her good night. All I can do is love her.

8 comments:

Tara R. said...

I hate this for you and your girls. I cannot imagine the level of frustration and angry you deal with over their absent dad.

Erica said...

This is so hard but you're doing so great by being strong. My parents had an ugly divorce when I was in my 20's and then my dad died about 4 years later. I am just starting to realize now that it affected me more than I thought and how I had to be the strong one in the family. I'm glad your girls know that you are there for them and you are still the parent - the mom for them. And yes, all you can do is love her.

Kaylen said...

I have been in your spot! My son actually just declared that he is not inviting his dad to his graduation. I don't blame him. He hasn't heard from him in about 9 months. No xmas card, no bday card (for his 18th!!) - NOTHING in 9 months.
My heart has been breaking for him and this crappy father of his for ages now. I'm so proud of the way my son has risen up and been more of an adult than his dad, but it breaks my heart that he has to. Everyone deserves a dad. :(

When my son was little, I used to nearly beg his dad to just call--ANYTIME. ANd if our son seemed distracted or he wasn't offering him information-I gave him some good tips on how to start a conversation with a child. I did all I could do to try to help that man have a relationship with his son....there was nothing at all I could have done, it just is what it is.
And it IS heartbreaking for us moms to have to live through the sadness of our children.

Natalie said...

Gah! April, this just makes me so angry for you. What a worthless excuse for a father. His title should be revoked. You should have the title of mother and father.

BigLittleWolf said...

"Smoke coming out of my ears."

"Not knowing what to do."

I'm right there, my friend. Still. 10 years later, variation on a theme, huge consequences no matter what I do. Not knowing what to do.

You have my empathy, and a hug.

MargaretN said...

I empathize with you. Often the absent dad's relationship with the children mirrors how he conducted his relationship with the mother. If he was prone to disappointing the mother you can bet he will ultimately disappoint the children. This is extremely painful for the mother who has virtually re-live the pain over again with the children.

I took the unpopular route. I wasn’t having any of the textbook advice from people who only give theoretical advice and have not actually lived the situation. I sat the kids down and had a matter-of-fact discussion with them without mincing words. I didn’t encourage sitting and pining for calls and visits that weren’t forthcoming. I treated them like adults and soon enough they one-by-one decided not to take his calls themselves.

I find that treating the children as young adults and being as honest with them as much as possible helps the situation. If I find out anything about their dad, I will often share it with them. This open communication let the door open for them to come to me vice versa. I also always reminded them that should they want to see their Dad, they must let me know and we’ll call him.

Recently, my youngest (11 years) wanted to attend a certain private school that I felt I couldn’t commit to. After a couple of days she asked if she can call her Dad to pay for it. I immediately gave her my phone to call him there and then. I mean this was going to cost him thousands of pounds – from a man that wasn’t even paying child support! I knew he wouldn’t get it for her but I wanted the girl to learn for herself. Of course, instead of a straight ‘No’ as one would expect, he started dilly-dallying. It took two weeks before the poor girl figured out that the answer was ‘no’. After that she said to me, I am not calling your husband again. ‘My husband?’

I would suggest you have an open chat with the girls and help them come to a comfortable acceptance of the situation and the kind of person their Dad is. Of course, it doesn’t mean (hopefully) that he doesn’t love them. He probably does. Men just show their love differently. Assure them of your love and commitment to them and that is all that matters. What is important is for them to learn how to spot such traits in a future partner. We don’t history repeating itself, do we? Sorry for such a long first post!

Penelope said...

This made me get teary. You are such a great mom.

Anonymous said...

Greetings,

April, I noticed you don't exactly hold this person in high regard. It made me wonder, what exactly is this fellow's problem? From what I've been able to glean from your blog here (and I haven't read overmuch just yet, so apologies in advance if the answer has already been done and over with) He had/has(?) a drug addiction of some sort. An addiction to just about anything, even something as benign as running is usually/can be a sign of a much deeper problem. Do you know if he's been diagnosed with some type of personality disorder/depression? I understand if you'd rather not answer as I realize it is a rather personal question. I can't help but wonder though. I'd like to add it's perfectly OK to talk to your kids about the truth of the matter in everything, provided you feel your not using them as a "Emotional Crutch" of sorts, as it would be obvious (Their human afterall, bloody smart creatures!) as well as distressing to them, possibly due to feelings of helplessness and/or frustration.
That said, I certainly hope things turn out for the better for you and your children.

Have a good day - Boyo