I have written about my kids’ non-relationship with their father. I’ve wrestled with that fact but I’m pretty sure I’m done. Maybe if he had been more active in their lives when we were married I might feel differently but then again, if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass when it hopped.
I think we’re programmed by well-meaning do-gooders to believe that it’s the end of the world if the children lose out on a relationship with the other parent. I want to be clear I’m not talking about one parent sabotaging the other and/or actively playing keep away with the kids. I’m talking about situations where the kids have decided, “No more!” I’m talking about situations like my own where the nub walks out the door like he’s going to work and instead he gets in a car and drives several states and seven hours away from his kids.
It’s sad how many situations there are like mine. Or more precisely, my kids’. I don’t give a damn if I ever see his face again. Wife, over on Honey and the Homewrecker is dealing with pretty much the exact same situation only her kids were much younger and her ex moved much further away. There are countless chumps over on Chump Lady who talk about their kids either spending very little time with the other parent or never seeing the other parent. In a lot of those cases the ex moves on and never looks back.
Chump Lady is good at reminding those parents, all parents really, that kids only need one sane parent. If they’re lucky enough to have two that’s fantastic, but one will do. I think we sometimes get so stuck on this idea that the two parent intact home is the best one that we don’t see beyond that.
Hell yes I wanted my kids raised in an intact home. I purposefully got married before having kids because it was important to me. I forgave Cousinfucker his transgressions the first time around because I didn’t want to put my kids through that. I wanted them to have their mom and dad 24/7. I didn’t want them to have to deal with all the shit they are dealing with now. But in the end they’re going to be fine.
Rock Star told her dad once that it makes her sad when she sees little girls with their dads because she doesn’t have one. Here’s the important piece of that particular puzzle. He never was much of a dad. She began competing in second grade at age seven, almost eight. She had six to seven meets in a season. I can probably count on one hand the number of meets he’s been to. I’m pretty sure the total stands at five. He has never once seen her compete in high school. He never attended a single meet when she competed in Excel once we moved. I would drive 2-3 hours for a meet, by myself, watch her meet and text him her scores. He attended a grand total of two parent-teacher conferences, and it’s possible I’m being generous with that second one. I could go on and on. The main point is that he wasn’t around for much. He never took it upon himself to go see her in her room and ask her about her day. If she came to him he would inquire. But it was always on both kids to seek him out.
Recently I found out that Picasso often told his friends that he wished his dad would do some of the things that their dads did with them. Things like shooting hoops or tossing a ball. He told me the other day he has no interest in playing the Lego video games because that’s something he shared with his dad. It brings back memories he doesn’t want to remember.
The sad part is if you asked CF he would tell you he was a good dad. According to Harley he is a wonderful dad. A friend of mine recounted a story to me that I had long forgotten. She said we had all met for dinner shortly after Rock Star was born. CF didn’t talk much but what she remembered was the way he spent the entire evening playing with the baby, rocking her, talking to her. I apparently remarked that no matter what at least he would be a great dad.
The story CF tells is how he taught Picasso and our neighbor how to hit a baseball. He bragged about how he told the coach to back up and how both kids hit it so far. I’m sure those events happened, especially the one my friend remembers, but I don’t remember them. You would think I would. What I remember is taking my son out to the baseball fields and pitching so he could practice his batting. My BFF wanted to know where his father was. “I am woman; here me roar!” Just because I had a vagina didn’t mean I couldn’t teach him to hit!
So this is my line of thinking… I’ve always been the one there for them. The only thing that has changed is that Cousinfucker no longer lives in our house. That, and we have less money. I’m still the sane parent. I’m still taking them around to the places they need to go. I’m still making sure they have everything they need. I’m still the one who signs homework sheets and permission slips and writes checks for lunch money. How do you miss a person who ignored you? How do you miss a person that didn’t contribute? I don’t want to sound cold hearted or like I’m making light of whatever Rock Star and Picasso may be feeling but they can’t miss what they never had. They can miss the idea and maybe that’s what Rock Star is mourning.
I am still trying to catch up on all the archived posts on Chump Lady so I’m not sure when I caught this gem from one of the commenters: I went through a thing when I was younger when I really craved an awesome Dad; the kind that my best friend had. She was daddy’s little girl and I wanted that too. But my mom always would say you can’t regret what you don’t have, you just be grateful for what you DO have. You can’t make other people fit into a mold of how you want them to be. It’s a waste of your time. That’s the way I feel about it. I’m sorry I made a horrible choice in a father for them but I can’t change the past. Better to focus on what they do have.
In fact, another commenter talked about how she and her daughter actually began a scrapbook that began with D-Day and they chronicle all the new things they are doing in their lives. I thought that was awesome! She goes on to say: Don’t listen to those idiots who say your children need their father no matter what a dickwad he is. Bullshit. Life is hard enough. Kids don’t need dog turds in their lives any more than you do.
She’s right. There are all sorts of reasons that it may be better to have a parent out of your life. Abuse and addiction spring to mind. Safety issues would be another. None of that is relevant with Cousinfucker, although he did take to drinking quite a bit. In his case it actually made him more bearable.
As I said earlier I won’t campaign to get him out of their lives. He’s already doing a bang up job of that. But I’m giving up feeling like I have somehow failed them because of his actions. I’m done with thinking that it’s sad he’s run off and abandoned them. I no longer feel like every kid has to have two active parents. I have a niece and nephew who lost their dad when they were young- 5 and not quite 2. My stepsister never remarried. They grew up without a dad and they’re both fine. One graduates from college in aerospace (aeronautical?) engineering in less than a month. The other will be finishing her first year of college. Doesn’t sound like two kids who are barely hanging in there. I’m sure there are countless stories such as that, where one parent has died or abandoned the kids, and the remaining parent steps up and takes care of business.
I no longer care what he does. At one point I felt like if he had a relationship with them that would be good for them. These days though I see what he does to Rock Star every time he texts her and it’s not good. He makes her feel like shit. He wants her to feel sorry for him and she ends up feeling bad. Not bad for him, just bad like she’s a bad person. She’s not. She’s a kid who’s had her entire life turned upside down. So I’m not sure what kind of good he would do them. After all these years together I fear he’s simply too immature and entitled to ever contribute positively towards either child. Instead of thinking that it’s sad I now shrug my shoulders and say, “Don’t worry, kids; I’ve got this.” The reality is I was always the one who had it. His absence is merely pointing that out.