Wow, it's been a really long time since I've had an update on the X Chronicles!
For quite a while there, it was because things were either good or at least not bad. Last year and the year prior, I was getting child support more often than never, if still sporadically. That began to dry out earlier this year.
He made it down for Riley's cadet graduation, which impressed us, but he didn't look good at all. I'd hoped it was simply because of the long drive, but unfortunately, I don't think that was all.
Fast-forward to the girls' birthdays, and Sylvia told me he wanted them to spend Thanksgiving with him in Northern California. I was fine with the concept, but concerned about transportation. We had this conversation in early November, already too late to get any good flight deals. So I made it clear that transportation was his concern. If he wanted the girls up there, he'd have to get them there.
The girls and I both kept trying to find out what was going to happen. After a few false starts, he said he would rent a car. Fine, great.
He said he'd pick them up between 10-11 a.m., Thanksgiving eve. At 9 a.m, he texted that it would be closer to 2. I was annoyed, but whatever. Gave Riley and I a chance to go pick up her new glasses. Around 2, Riley called him and he was still up north, finishing some job. At 3, he called her to say he was on his way. At 9:30 that night, Riley called him again. She could barely hear him over the other noises in the car. So Sylvia calls him, and has the same issue. Turns out he had 3 other people in the car with him.
They are both freaking out over the possibility of driving for hours with a bunch of total strangers. I called him, and I was pretty upset. It wasn't any of his brothers or even a girlfriend. He could only give me the first name of one of the other 3 people in the car. He became belligerent, he was practically incoherent.
Finally, Riley took the phone from me, told her father she didn't want to go anymore, hung up on him, and ran upstairs crying. Sylvia was completely floored that Riley had the courage to do so, and also relieved, and also upset. I called him back, got his voice mail, and said that he could turn the car around. The girls would not be going.
We found out later that most of the rest of his family wasn't even in town, and he had told none of them that the girls were coming. It wouldn't have even been the trip they were looking forward to had it happened.
I should not be surprised, but I just cannot understand that he has not called or even texted either of the girls since. I don't know how he could make it up to them, but I can't believe he's not even trying.
Sylvia said she told a friend that her dad chose drugs over her. I told her that it's not that simple or linear. In his own completely screwed up way, I know he cares for them, but he is totally unable to care for himself, so it's nearly impossible for him to be considerate to others, even if he loves them.
I think that he really didn't think it was going to be a problem. When the girls were younger, they wouldn't have so much noticed other people, and getting some time with their dad, no matter the circumstances, would make them happy. But they're not so little anymore.
I heard him use his high-pitched voice with both of them in their last calls to him, saying, "I can't wait to see you!" I'm sure he was fully expecting an equally excited response. Instead, they each had this look of disbelief and fury, and answered in a low tone, "'k, bye."
I remember my therapist telling me to think of him as someone who is disabled, which he is. He's fried his brain and body so much, he simply cannot function as a responsible adult. I know that. And it sucks.
The girls and I had a long talk over our own version of Thanksgiving dinner. Sylvia and I both told Riley how proud we were that she told him how she felt. And she was proud, too. Riley's most disappointed that he hasn't called because it denies her the opportunity to hang up on him again. I know Sylvia really does want to hear from him, wants him to give her an explanation, but she is also not making the first move.
They both understand, too, as much as really anyone can. They both get that it's not a reflection on them, but they also know how it's affected them. Sylvia and I have talked about her abandonment issues. Riley knows that she's more guarded about letting people really know her. But they both also know that they are loved, and they know I'll always be there for them. And they're even thankful for that.