Why Do We Force It?

Following up on my lovely post about parental alienation, I’m going to tackle the subject of forcing a relationship between the abandoning parent and the child one more time.

So often I see others admonishing a parent to extend grace to the abandoning parent. They’re told to offer up an olive branch, be the bigger person, love their child more than they hate the ex. Make that phone call. Offer up that extra time. Remind them of the school conference. The dance recital. The football game. The Honors assembly.

You hear over and over again: That’s still their other parent. You should encourage a relationship between the two of them. It’s the only mom or dad they have.

Why? Why does everyone put so much stock into this idea that because you share DNA you must have a relationship with that person regardless of how poorly they treat you? Why do we continue to sell this idea that abusive behavior is love?

I’m not suggesting that you tell your kids to cut off their other parent. What I would suggest is that you listen to your children when they tell you they want nothing to do with the other parent. You don’t force it. You don’t lie to them and tell them that this other parent loves them; you don’t know that. And even if it’s true what a shitty example of love. Love is not putting the other woman/other man ahead of your children’s feelings. When the amount of time that has passed since you last saw your child face to face can be measured in years, that is not love. Love is not telling your child you hated every minute of being a parent. Love is not walking out on your responsibilities because you put your happiness ahead of all else. Leaving your child’s other parent, moving out, disrupting their lives as they know them, moving in with another person and their children and/or having another baby, all in the time span of a few months while your child’s head is still spinning is not love. Love is not disappearing and never being heard from again. You don’t get to put another person’s kids ahead of your own, do things with them and for them that you didn’t do for your own, and then get to claim you love your children. Love is not waiting for your children to call you or text you, to reach out to you.

It’s no wonder so many people end up in dysfunctional relationships. We are sold this idea that when people love you they treat you badly. They ignore you. They minimize your needs. They put everyone and everything else before you. Then when you get into a relationship and that person does those things you think, “Oh this feels familiar. It must be love.”

It is okay to have boundaries, even at a young age. It is okay for a child to say, “This is unacceptable behavior. I don’t want to be around this person.”  As the sane parent I think it’s inappropriate to try to convince them that those feelings are wrong, or should be stifled so as to not damage a potential relationship. When someone has done something wrong admit it! Stop trying to whitewash it and convince your child that it’s completely reasonable to do the unreasonable. 

It’s also perfectly fine to tell your child, if they ask, “I don’t know why your other parent does those things,” instead of rushing to assure them that the other parent loves them. As my own son says, “He loves me? Really? He’s got a funny way of showing it.”

Again, I’m not trying to encourage people to damage a healthy relationship between a parent and child. I’m not encouraging anyone to badmouth the other parent or to create chaos where there is none. But for the love of all that’s holy, please stop trying to convince your children that people who don’t behave as though they love them, who actually do things that are very hurtful to them, love them. Stop selling abuse and toxicity as love. Stop telling your kids that people who love them hurt them and that’s perfectly normal and acceptable. Give them a chance at a healthy relationship.

Why Do We Force It?

Following up on my lovely post about parental alienation, I’m going to tackle the subject of forcing a relationship between the abandoning parent and the child one more time.

So often I see others admonishing a parent to extend grace to the abandoning parent. They’re told to offer up an olive branch, be the bigger person, love their child more than they hate the ex. Make that phone call. Offer up that extra time. Remind them of the school conference. The dance recital. The football game. The Honors assembly.

You hear over and over again: That’s still their other parent. You should encourage a relationship between the two of them. It’s the only mom or dad they have.

Why? Why does everyone put so much stock into this idea that because you share DNA you must have a relationship with that person regardless of how poorly they treat you? Why do we continue to sell this idea that abusive behavior is love?

I’m not suggesting that you tell your kids to cut off their other parent. What I would suggest is that you listen to your children when they tell you they want nothing to do with the other parent. You don’t force it. You don’t lie to them and tell them that this other parent loves them; you don’t know that. And even if it’s true what a shitty example of love. Love is not putting the other woman/other man ahead of your children’s feelings. When the amount of time that has passed since you last saw your child face to face can be measured in years, that is not love. Love is not telling your child you hated every minute of being a parent. Love is not walking out on your responsibilities because you put your happiness ahead of all else. Leaving your child’s other parent, moving out, disrupting their lives as they know them, moving in with another person and their children and/or having another baby, all in the time span of a few months while your child’s head is still spinning is not love. Love is not disappearing and never being heard from again. You don’t get to put another person’s kids ahead of your own, do things with them and for them that you didn’t do for your own, and then get to claim you love your children. Love is not waiting for your children to call you or text you, to reach out to you.

It’s no wonder so many people end up in dysfunctional relationships. We are sold this idea that when people love you they treat you badly. They ignore you. They minimize your needs. They put everyone and everything else before you. Then when you get into a relationship and that person does those things you think, “Oh this feels familiar. It must be love.”

It is okay to have boundaries, even at a young age. It is okay for a child to say, “This is unacceptable behavior. I don’t want to be around this person.”  As the sane parent I think it’s inappropriate to try to convince them that those feelings are wrong, or should be stifled so as to not damage a potential relationship. When someone has done something wrong admit it! Stop trying to whitewash it and convince your child that it’s completely reasonable to do the unreasonable. 

It’s also perfectly fine to tell your child, if they ask, “I don’t know why your other parent does those things,” instead of rushing to assure them that the other parent loves them. As my own son says, “He loves me? Really? He’s got a funny way of showing it.”

Again, I’m not trying to encourage people to damage a healthy relationship between a parent and child. I’m not encouraging anyone to badmouth the other parent or to create chaos where there is none. But for the love of all that’s holy, please stop trying to convince your children that people who don’t behave as though they love them, who actually do things that are very hurtful to them, love them. Stop selling abuse and toxicity as love. Stop telling your kids that people who love them hurt them and that’s perfectly normal and acceptable. Give them a chance at a healthy relationship.

Stop Blaming the Other Parent For Your Crappy Relationship With Your Kids

’Tis the season (’Twas the season?) for endless questions regarding the children, holidays, gifts from the ex and/or OW/OM (okay, mostly the OW), and having to hear about how nice or fun the OW/OM (okay, mostly the OW) is. Inevitably the question is always along the lines of: Is there anything I can do about this? Or, they’re just venting about what a shit sandwich it is to gulp down.

The next inevitable thing that happens? Someone comes along and tells them not to shame their children. You need to love your kids more than you hate your ex. Don’t put your kids in the middle. You have no right to take away whatever it is that the whore gave to your precious child. Dance prettier, bitch! Dance harder! Dance faster!

And then another someone comes along and doubles down on this idea. They are the person that insists that any small frown or raised eyebrow is proof of parental alienation. Saying no to a child is detrimental to their relationship with the other parent. Apparently if you are divorced or separated anyone can buy your child anything and they have free reign to bring it into your home. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to set parameters on the use of the item or not. Probably not, if I had to guess.

We, the parents left behind, are counseled to “learn how to grieve without PA abuse.” It’s all on us to avoid the so called pitfalls of parental alienation. The cheaters, of course, get a pass. They don’t need to worry about any of their behaviors. Abandoning your kids, ripping apart your family, putting a whore before your children… those are all cool. Nothing wrong with any of that.

But you! Chump! Yeah you! You need to understand that your “grieving” and your “boundaries” and your refusal to swallow down yet another dozen shit sandwiches in the name of “co-parenting” is all much scarier to your children than anything the lying, cheating, narcissistic asshole might be doing. Someone actually said that the cheated on parent can end up far more overtly scary, intimidating, abusive and/or destabilizing to their kids than the covertly abusive cheater because they are “so traumatized” that they become unstable. What utter bullshit!

People, get your heads out of your asses! 

I feel like I have to revisit this conversation every few months. Yes, parental alienation is real. It’s rare, but it’s real. I’ll go one step further and state I believe that most of the time the alienation attempts come from the parent who has already lied and cheated. It’s part and parcel of their plan to entirely decimate the discarded spouse.

I know I’m sensitive to all this bullshit because this is the exact story that Jerry Lee spins. “Oh Sam is a monster! She’s emotionally abusive and extremely manipulative. She’s poisoned my precious children against me. I am an alienated parent. I love my children to the moon and back; if not for that nasty she-beast I would have a wonderful relationship with my children because I am an amazing father who loves his kids with his heart and soul.”

Those are all lies. Oh, I believe he believes his own bullshit. But that’s exactly what it is- bullshit. He sent them both $100 and wished them a Merry Christmas through Venmo this year. Told them he loved them. He couldn’t even be bothered to call them and actually speak to them. As Picasso said, “He did his fatherly duty; he performed his obligation. Now he’s off the hook.”

In the almost five years since he walked out the door without telling his kids he was moving out- oh yeah, and leaving the fucking state!- he has made the drive to see one of his kids one time. That was Rock Star’s graduation. He texted her and offered her the opportunity to talk to him beforehand which she ignored; he never contacted his son. He spent maybe fifteen minutes, if that, with her on that day. He came out of the shadows crying his big crocodile tears because as always, it’s all about him. If you gave me a calendar I could tell you exactly how many round trips he managed to make in order to fuck his gold digging whore of a cousin. I can promise you this- it was more than one!

From what my kids tell me the rare times that he does actually text them it’s all about him, or trying to get them to feel sorry for him. He doesn’t text to check in with them or to see how their day is going. If he texts at all it’s to try to guilt them (or rather, Rock Star; I’m not sure he’s ever texted Picasso). Not once has he apologized for what he has done and the havoc he has wrecked.

He does not call. He does not send cards, especially now that both kids have Venmo. They don’t exist except for their birthday and Christmas, when he does his fatherly duty, as Picasso calls it, and takes 30 seconds out of his day to send them something via Venmo.

The day after Thanksgiving I was dealing with a major meltdown by my daughter who was upset because her dad did not even bother to text her and wish her a happy Thanksgiving, even after she reached out and wished him a happy Thanksgiving first. “He tells me he loves me and I try to give him a chance instead of hating him, and he doesn’t even bother to wish me a happy Thanksgiving.”

That is not my fault. I did not choose any of that; I did not force any of that. He is the one that walked away without ever looking back. He is the one that decided it was worth it to sacrifice his children for Harley. He chose her over them and I will not take the blame for that. That is all on him.

I have spent the last five plus years trying to keep my kids’ lives as normal as possible. I was willing to stay in a town where I knew very few people and had no family support so that my daughter could finish high school there. 

I have been the parent tasked with breaking all of the bad news to my children while Jerry Lee and Harley skipped happily off into the sunset with nary a worry.

Oh, you’re cheating on me and we’re getting a divorce? No worries; I’ll break the news to the kids.

Oh, you’ve moved out of the house? And you’ve left the state? Don’t worry. I’ll break it to the kids.

You lost your job and now we’re going to have to move again? Hey- no problem! I’ll break it to the kids. I’m getting good at this.

Our daughter isn’t going to get her license after all? Sure, I’ll be the one to deliver the news. And I’ll hold her while she cries from the disappointment.

Oh, you’ve stopped paying support again? Yeah, I’ll let our daughter know she might have to drop out of college.

Every single bit of shit news that was ever delivered I got the sucky job of delivering. I was the one that held my kids when they were upset or disappointed or sad. He was nowhere around, much too busy with the whore and the new family.

I was the one that got them settled into their new home with their Nana. I was the one registering them for school in a new district. I was the one who had to listen to my daughter say in a defeated voice, “I used to be someone. Now I’m nobody.”

I’m the one that scheduled therapy for them and got them on medication. I’m the one that Rock Star turns to when she’s falling apart because she’s stressed.

I am the one that has made countless sacrifices so that these kids could have a comfortable life. I am the one who has always been present, always been stable, could always be counted on. Me.

Maybe, instead of chiding the parent who is actually there and doing the hard work of raising the children left behind, they could be supportive of that parent. Just an idea.

Parental alienation is a hell of a lot more complicated than simply refusing to let the whore who fucked your husband give your child a gift. She’s not even a parent so how the hell is that parental alienation?

They remain a sensitive bunch. Everything is parental alienation. You won’t let your ex take his holiday AND your holiday? Parental alienation! You don’t want a creepy “family” picture of the OW, your ex, and your kids sitting around the Christmas tree sitting in your living room? Parental alienation! You dare to have boundaries? Parental alienation! You don’t want to be besties with the ex and the affair partner? Parental alienation!

In the beginning, when I was first discarded for the ‘ho, I was way too busy being the sane parent and trying to keep things as normal as possible for Rock Star and Picasso to be busy trying to alienate him. Considering we had less than a year between D-Day and moving day thanks to his firing I didn’t have a whole lot of time to work my evil magic. He left six months after his affair was discovered. Like, moved 300 miles away from his kids without saying a word, left. That was the first time I worried endlessly about what was going to happen to us because he was no longer directly depositing his money into the joint account.

Then I was really busy applying for welfare, enrolling my kids in school in a new school district, and applying for free lunches and text books because I had no job and was living off of savings. Didn’t have time to fuck with his parenting or lack thereof. 

Shortly after that I began working a job that required me to get up at 3:30 in the morning. That’s real fucking early. I don’t function that well that early in the morning. I do even worse when I have to get up at 1:30 in the morning so I can be there by 2. A month later I began working a second job. For a good 10 months or so I worked two jobs- lots of hours, not so much pay. And very little in the way of time off. Again, not really much time to play a quick round of parental alienation. Too busy working and trying to keep afloat. Especially considering he wasn’t contributing anything.

Last year I was kinda busy having a big ass needle stuck in my arm and then having my blood sucked out, the plasma separated from the red blood cells, and then the blood put back into my arm, and then turning around and doing it again later that week, twice a week, every week basically for four months.  All in order to make sure my kids got a decent Christmas because Jerry Lee couldn’t be counted on to pay his support on any kind of schedule. Didn’t have time to tell the kids how much their dad sucked. The plasma donation was pretty much a part-time job.

This year I spent a lot of time running. Changing my eating habits. Trying not to drink so much diet Coke. Jerry Lee and his pathetic attempts at parenting weren’t on my radar. My kids at the beginning of 2020 were 19 and 17. They’re now 20 and 18. I’m not necessary for any information exchanges. He is able to have a relationship with each one of them completely independent of me. I am not a cog in this wheel. If it’s not spinning that is not on me.

I’ve stayed out of their relationship. I’ve never been a factor the entire time. There are so many things I haven’t told them. I didn’t tell them because I knew all it would do is hurt them. Things like him buying a $300 dress for Harley’s daughter to go to a dance when he couldn’t send $80 my way to pay for his own daughter’s Homecoming dress. Or like how he was able to buy a $4000+ engagement ring for Harley that same month he couldn’t send money for Rock Star’s Homecoming dress. Or how he was able to celebrate Harley’s kids’ birthdays when he couldn’t do the same with his own kids. Or how he could never attend Rock Star’s gymnastics meets or cheer competitions but he could buy a fucking Cardinal t-shirt in support of the whore’s daughter and attend her cheer competitions. The iPhones he bought them. The puppies he bought them. Or how he’s so broke and has nothing in savings but can spend over $1800 on a vacation rental.

Harley is the dipshit that continues to post her drivel on social media where everyone can see it. My daughter isn’t stupid. She said recently she knows damn well he spent a hell of a lot more on “their” kids than he did on her and her brother. She knows he offered to buy Harley’s daughter a car. I don’t know how, but she knows. She knows all kinds of things that I had no idea about.

None of this is my doing. It’s all on him.

To these people who are champions of parental alienation everything falls under that category. Your ex planted listening devices in your home so you won’t accept gifts from him in your house any more? Parental alienation! Your ex and his ho have been known to make derisive comments about your child you have with your new partner, and even wish harm on this child, so you are not willing to graciously accept a gift for this child that is supposedly from your shared children? Parental alienation! Those kids are going to be devastated and don’t you know every time you let it be known that you disapprove of their other parent it says to them that you hate half of them? Again, what an utter crock of shit. 

I am a child of divorce. I knew from a very young age that my mother was not a fan of my father’s. For good reason, I might add. Never once did I say to myself, “Hmmmm… I’m half my mom and half my dad, so if my mom can’t stand my dad it therefore goes to reason that she cannot stand half of me.” Nope, not once did I think that way. That just seems weird to me. I am my own person. I am not one half my mother plus one half my father. I’m one entirely whole me.

I’ve also never looked at either of my kids and thought to myself, “Well, they are half Jerry Lee’s, so I guess I need to hate half of them.” Nope, not once. They are both unique individuals and while we both contributed our chromosomes they are not half me and half Jerry Lee. They are Picasso and Rock Star. Period.

Maybe we need to start by explaining to these children who think they are half of each parent that even though their parents each contribute chromosomes to their genetic makeup that doesn’t mean they are that parent, or even half of that parent.

If you don’t want to share holidays and special events with the ex you’re putting your kids in the middle and forcing them to choose. If you don’t want to hear about all the fun things the OW did with your kids you are putting your children in the middle and making things uncomfortable for them. If you’re not super excited about all the wonderful things your ex did for the kids, like taking them on fancy vacations and buying them expensive toys, clothes, and purses while at the same time not paying child support so you can buy them things like groceries and heat, you are not thinking about your children and letting your pettiness and bitterness rule your life. Apparently, once you become a parent, especially a divorced parent, you are no longer allowed to have boundaries or feelings, and if you do have feelings then they don’t matter.

Fuck that. If you’re the parent that stuck around and is doing the hard work then you get to have whatever feelings you want. You can draw whatever boundaries you’d like. You can create the rules that are comfortable for you.

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a parent that was cheated on and left behind, put their kid in the middle. Do they vent away in a safe place sometimes? Absolutely. But I don’t recall a single time they’ve ever said they were going to do something that was clearly alienation. They regularly bend over backwards for these people and are often encouraged to keep doing so. Keep giving and giving without expecting anything in return. That’s what a good parent does.

Instead of telling the parent that has stuck around and is doing the hard work how much they suck and how they’re doing it all wrong, why not give them a little bit of praise and support? They didn’t choose a sidepiece over their kids; that was the other parent. Hey, maybe that’s why their relationship with their kid is so shitty. Maybe it has nothing to do with parental alienation at all and everything to do with the choices they’ve made.

The Kids Are All Right… Or Are They?

You hear all the time that kids are resilient. Maybe they are. Maybe they acclimate to change a lot better than adults do. But even kids have their breaking points.

Both of my kids are on anti-anxiety and depression medication. The last medication she was on caused her to have suicidal ideations and feelings of self-harm. Does that sound resilient to you?

Rock Star was a sophomore in high school when she broke down one day at the thought of getting a B in a class. She felt enormous pressure to maintain a 4.0 so that she would be eligible for scholarships. Getting a B in her eyes meant she was failing and she wouldn’t get any money for college. I would have no way to pay for it and she might never become a nurse.

My daughter has always been a high achiever but I had never seen her like that before. She was 15 years old and had the weight of the world on her shoulders. That’s what her father’s affair did to her. Harley may be happy. Daddy may be happy. But my kid was a tightly wound ball of anxiety already.

If that wasn’t enough she was forced to move 600 miles away from her new friends and her new life a few months later. She had to start all over.

She was never happy here. She rarely brought friends over. Her senior year she ended up in an abusive relationship. To this day she still won’t tell me everything that happened. Just says it’s okay because everything she’s been through has made her stronger and brought her to where she is now.

Last year she cried when she called me, asking for rent money. She freaked out about going to the hospital when she got sick and nothing seemed to be working on her.

If kids are so resilient then why, five years later, does it still hurt her when she sees a father actually being a father to his daughter? Why does she still ache at the realization that she will never have that with her own father? Why does it still hurt when she remembers him walking right by her and then out the door into a new life without saying a single word to her? He left that day and moved to another state. Aside from her graduation he has not once traveled up to see either of his kids.

When she was home a few weekends ago she mentioned finding a therapist and her nurse practitioner putting her on new medication because her old medication wasn’t working any longer. I asked her a question about it and her response was something about childhood trauma issues.

Now, my child has been very vocal about the fact that she had a wonderful childhood so I was worried that I had missed something big. No, that wasn’t it. Apparently childhood trauma can be anything that happens before the age of 18. 

Her response when asked, “What childhood trauma?” was, “My father abandoning me and walking out of my life when I was 15.”

Children are resilient and yet five years later my daughter still needs therapy to deal with these unresolved issues. Five years later and her latest medication, the one that is supposed to help with the depression and anxiety, actually caused her to want to kill herself. On a positive note, her daddy and his whore are happy. If destroying her life was what it took to bring them to this place in their lives then, hey, who are we to stand in the way of their happiness?

Maybe it was a coincidence but up until the time her parents were divorcing she didn’t deal with anxiety. She was never medicated for depression or anxiety. She was never a bundle of raw, fragile nerves all the time. She didn’t complain of things “stressing her out” on a regular basis. Perhaps even if Jerry Lee and I had remained together she would still need medication for anxiety and depression. But I doubt it. She led a charmed life and there was never a need for it up until this point.

While Picasso was not nearly as enamored of Virginia as Rock Star was he has had his own problems. I suppose it could be a giant coincidence. God knows he had his issues when his dad and I were together.

He is more of an introvert than Rock Star and he can get overwhelmed with large groups of people. He also had some serious meltdowns after moving to Virginia which I attribute to losing all of his friends that he had known pretty much his entire life. It was a lot to wrap his head around. He did not like Virginia and did not like most of the people he encountered.

He actually really spread his wings when we moved. He prefers being around my side of the family and he was quickly accepted at his new school. Then he entered high school one year later and everything went to hell.

Nonetheless, he was not on anxiety or depression medication before the divorce. Now, five years later he’s taking medication for both of those and has been regularly seeing a therapist for almost a year. 

I would imagine it can’t be easy to have your father pretty much disown you when you’re a 13 year old boy. One day your dad is telling you that your parents haven’t been happy since having kids and the next day you never speak to him again.

I remember taking him to see a therapist right before D-Day because of his meltdowns regarding school. The therapist asked him if he had a magic remote control what he would have it do. “I’d make it so that my dad was better and he would play video games with me again and we could do the things we planned to do, like building a theater room.”

I remember him asking me if we were still going to keep Granny and Poppy in our life. I told him that they were his grandparents and I understood if he wanted to see them but I wasn’t going to be around them because they had betrayed me. I’m not sure exactly how I put it anymore, but the gist of it was, “I’m not going to but you are free to; I expect it and I encourage it.” At 13 years of age he decided, “No, I don’t think I can ever trust them again.”

That’s the part these people don’t realize. Their lying, cheating love isn’t just lying to the clueless spouse. In many instances they’re lying to the innocent children as well.

Both of my kids sympathized with their father and his supposed PTSD. He even admitted later that he was “probably” trying to create a distance so that it wouldn’t hurt so bad when he lost them. So generous of him.

My daughter wrote a research paper on it. My son sympathized and comforted him. Hell, if he had a magic remote control he wouldn’t use it to gain material goods; he would use it to make his father better so that they could do father-son things once again.

The damage he did was enormous. Five years later it reverberates throughout their lives. Therapy. Medication. Shitty relationships. Anxiety. Depression. Suicidal feelings. Crying. Fear. Hatred. Indifference. A longing to matter.

I’m not so sure kids are resilient. I think they don’t really have a choice in the matter. For some reason that inability to choose, and therefore, the need to roll with the punches, is called resilience. I wonder how they spin the anxiety, depression, and medication…

Father’s Day 2020

Another Father’s Day is here. Neither of my kids have any plans to wish their dad a happy Father’s Day. To my knowledge neither of them bought him a card (not that they have his address, of course) or a gift. My daughter did say she messaged the mobster to wish him a happy Father’s Day. Picasso mentioned how he should buy him a goofy mug because he knew he would love it and use it. Basically, we’re doing nothing around here today in honor of Father’s Day.

My first Father’s Day without him my daughter recognized me on this day. Maybe the second year as well. I don’t remember. One year I bought myself a fire pit for Father’s Day and one of my co-workers texted me to wish me a happy Father’s Day.

I know I’m not Dad. I’m simply a mom who is doing the work of both parents because Daddy Dearest is busy with his new life, pretending to be a wonderful father to a kid that isn’t his.

I am part of a Facebook group called Chump Lady Nation. If you’ve been cheated on feel free to look it up and ask to join. It’s open to anyone who has experienced infidelity.

Someone asked what fathers who abandon their own offspring must be feeling today, or what do they say to justify it? Interesting question.

Mainly, I think they feel just fine. You don’t abandon your kids if they’re important to you. He walked away. He’s got Harley blowing sunshine up his ass, telling everyone who will listen what a great father he is. I guess she doesn’t count those two kids he abandoned and never sees. They don’t fit the narrative. Just concentrate on everything he does for her child. See? Great dad!

The other thought I had is that this is the perfect time to play the victim. It’s his chance to post a public message on Facebook and talk about how much he loves and misses Picasso and Rock Star. He’ll get another chance to tell the world that even though they probably won’t see his message to him he loves them to the moon and back. He loves them more than they will ever know. It tears him apart to be away from them. Poor, poor, sad, wittle Jerry Lee, longing to be acknowledged by his children who have been brainwashed by me, the evil, satanic, demonic ex-wife.

People will rally around him and tell him to never give up! They’ll assure him that one day the kids will know the truth! They’ll tell him that as they grow older they will be able to make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions. No longer will they be manipulated by their horrible mother who uses them as pawns.

Of course he doesn’t mention how he lived in the same house as his two kids for six months after his affair was discovered and outed and yet he never bothered in all of that time to go downstairs and talk to his daughter. The last time he talked to her she was crying and demanding to know where he was. He never texted her, never called her back. He had one conversation with his son, who was 13 at the time. He told him he wouldn’t deny he had a girlfriend but we hadn’t been happy since we had kids, which I suppose makes him fucking his cousin an okay thing to do. Not sure how appropriate it is though to tell your 13 year old that he and his sister are the reason for the demise of their parents’ marriage. But after that conversation with Picasso where he played the sad sausage, complete with telling him that I took all of his money and I had a lawyer and he didn’t, he walked past his son’s room every day for six long months and never popped his head in to say hello again. At the age of 13 my son was astute enough to realize that he was the child and his father was the adult so his dad should be checking up on him; not the other way around.

He doesn’t mention that in the time he remained in the same house he never took them out for a meal, or a walk, or an ice cream cone, or on a shopping trip. He told them they would never do without and then he turned around and made sure that the whore’s kids had everything their little hearts desired while turning his back to his own kids.

I know he doesn’t tell his well wishers about walking out the front door as though he was going to work and then driving off to his new home in a new state with a new job. He won’t admit to any of them that he couldn’t even bring himself to tell his kids that he was moving out of the house, never mind the fact that he was moving out of Virginia. He won’t tell them how he didn’t even take any of his possessions. He was just living in the spare bedroom one day and gone the next. It took me almost a week to figure out he was finally gone. Of course, he didn’t bother to tell me he had left his job either. That was going to be a wonderful surprise when my checking account was repeatedly overdrawn with all the bills I paid the day after his regular payday.

If I had to place a bet I would lay odds on the fact that he has not told all those sympathizing with him that he has not yet told his kids that he has remarried. It’s been two years now. He still hasn’t found a good time to mention it. Okay, to be fair it’s not quite two years. Give it another week and then I can truthfully say that.

They probably also aren’t aware that the only reason he has had almost no contact with his son in the four plus years since he walked away is because he doesn’t have his phone number. Yes, the man who is so intelligent that he could qualify for membership in Mensa has no idea how to get his son’s phone number. What a pickle!

I’m sure he also neglects to mention that while he could drive 12 hours roundtrip every weekend for six months to see his whore of a cousin, he has not made that drive one time to see his children and spend a weekend with them. Major props to him for being able to tear himself away from her pussy long enough to see his daughter graduate; however, once again he made it all about himself and didn’t so much as say hello to his son. See above: Doesn’t have his phone number so no way to contact him. 

I’m also positive he never mentions the fact that he neglected to send a dime in child support for ten months, refused to pay the correct amount of his modified child and spousal support for another ten months, or that he has dodged at least two attempts to garnish his wages, whether on purpose or not.

The reality is he has shut his kids out of his life. He hasn’t bothered to tell them where he currently lives. That’s not surprising considering he didn’t bother to tell them he moved out of Virginia after moving them 2000 miles away and destroying everything they had ever known. Nor did he tell them when he moved from Kentucky to Mississippi. I think the only reason he put his correct address on their Christmas cards is because he knew he wouldn’t be there much longer.

He does not contact them regularly. He has not talked to them on the phone in almost five years. He sends them a card or a Venmo transfer twice a year- if they’re lucky. He might have a little more contact with Rock Star (because he has her phone number) but she hates interacting with him because he always tries to guilt her.

Abandoning fathers don’t have much of a conscience. At least not in my opinion. The one in my kids’ lives is being fed a lie by his complicit whoring cousin/wife. You’re so sparkly and shiny; you’re just the best daddy out there! Then he takes that lie and he plays sad sausage for the rest of the world, never ever taking any responsibility for the state of his relationship and certainly not telling the truth about how it ever got to that point.

I’d wish him a happy Father’s Day. Sure I’d throw in, “Fuckwit,” after it, but I’d do it; however, he doesn’t deserve it. No, worse than that, he’s no kind of father. My kids deserve better.

When Your Kids Take the Hit

It’s getting down to crunch time. I’ve got 3 blog entries in my draft section; I still need to work on one of those. Normally, I would have just replied but since, as I said, I’m down to crunch time and needing some material I’m going to write a blog post.

I wrote about Rock Star calling me, crying, worried about rent money and worried about school. Ainsobriety commented that she believed this conversation would have happened even if Jerry Lee and I were still together. I agreed at first but the longer I’ve thought about it the more I’ve come to the conclusion that no, we wouldn’t have. We wouldn’t have had that conversation at least.

Yes, I am her sounding board. I always have been, even when her dad and I were together. I was the one that drove them to practice and attended almost every single game, competition, recital, and program. I was the one who took them to school, stayed home with them when they were sick, took them to visit family, and planned fun outings all summer long. I was the one who cooked for them, cleaned for them, washed their clothes for them.

When Picasso was in second or third grade he had to write a letter saying what he was thankful for for Thanksgiving. He said he was thankful I cooked for him because otherwise he would starve. The thought that his father might actually take care of him in my absence didn’t even occur to him.

When Rock Star was three I had Jerry Lee pick her up from preschool one day because I was tied up at the doctor’s office with a baby Picasso. She asked where I was/why he was picking her up, and after explaining that I was at the doctor’s with Picasso she replied, “Wow- I’ve never stayed at home by myself.” She was three! He quickly assured her that she wasn’t staying home by herself that day either. But how sad is it that even at that young age she couldn’t fathom her dad staying at home with her?

So, yes, she would have called me if she was having trouble with school, or was simply feeling the pressure of it. I’ve always been the sounding board; she’s always felt comfortable falling apart on me while keeping it together around everyone else. That time she got her hand pinched in the vault at the gym and everyone was commenting on how brave she was and didn’t cry once? Yeah, she got into the safety of my minivan and burst into tears. Mom’s here; I’m safe. But I also don’t think she would be under so much stress if not for her father and his shenanigans.

The reality of the situation is if Jerry Lee and I were still together she would have no financial stress. You can argue whether that’s good, or bad, but it’s a fact. His bonus check alone was enough that we could have paid her full tuition, no loans required, and her room and board (or rent for an apartment), and still had money left over to put into the bank. Her books would have been covered, any additional schooling expenses would have been covered and I would have sent her money each month to cover incidental expenses. She wouldn’t have to worry about working enough over her breaks to cover rent, books, or spending money.

Money is a huge stressor. Without having to worry about student loans, coming up short on rent, cost of books, and a variety of other expenses, she would be able to fully concentrate on her classes. Instead, she worries about things like whether or not she has enough gas money or grocery money. She worries about costing me money that I don’t have.

Hell, she was reluctant to go to the urgent care center even though she was sick. She didn’t want me to have to spend the almost $200 it was going to cost. I had to assure her that I had the money and that I could pay the bill. The girl was crying and telling me she felt nauseous, was in pain, and was running a fever. She never runs a fever. She didn’t think it was a UTI and feared it might be a kidney infection instead. Still, she was reluctant to go because of the money.

Thank God her big [sister, in her sorority] insisted she go because they were very concerned about her at the urgent care. They’re still waiting on test results but they are treating her as though she has either a kidney infection or a bladder infection. They gave her two shots in her booty, three prescriptions and instructions to go straight to the ER if she got any worse.

I wanted my kids to have easy lives. I wanted them to be able to have it all. I wanted Rock Star to be able to go to college, have her tuition and books paid for, and join a sorority if she wanted. I wanted to be able to send her spending money and buy groceries for her and slip her some gas money as well. I wanted her to have no worries in the world. I wanted her to just have to concentrate on getting through nursing school and having fun.

I know she’ll be okay. I know that she’ll be stronger for it. I also know I hate him for what he’s done to us. And I know we wouldn’t have had that exact same conversation if he hadn’t left.

This Is Why Tuesday Never Comes

My daughter called me at work today. I had just clocked back in from lunch when I noticed she was calling on my cell phone. I quietly answered and told her to call my work phone. She told me it was something serious and she would just call me back after I got off of work.

Um, no. I stepped away from my desk to find out what was going on with my girl.

“You can go back to work, Mom. I’m not hurt. I can talk to you later.”

I assured her that I could talk to her right now and I wanted to know what was going on. At which point she burst into tears.

She was freaking out about rent. She’s coming home over Thanksgiving break and working at the hospital but she doesn’t get paid until after her rent is due. She was going to be $200 short.

I reminded her that I already knew she was going to be short and I had been planning on helping her pay it. I just needed to know when she needed it.

She kept telling me she was stupid and felt bad for asking me for help.

I had to tell her once again that I was not dead broke. I am not living pay check to pay check. I am being smart and I’m being cautious, which is why I try not to spend a lot of money, but I have money in my account and I can help if needed.

The next crisis was school. She has two papers and a test due before she goes home next week. She told me she didn’t think she could do it anymore and she wanted to come home.

Once again I remind her that she is the most organized, goal oriented person I know. I tell her she can do anything and I have every confidence that she will get through this. I tell her to break it down into little pieces. Write down what needs to get done. Tackle whatever is due first. Then move on to the next thing.

I told her she needed to focus on getting through these last few weeks of the semester. Once that’s over the hardest part will be done. No more five hour credit classes. Chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology will all be done. She can breathe a little more next semester. She’ll apply to nursing school, get in, and from there on out she’ll be working with patients, which she loves.

I made her tell me she was awesome and then I made her tell me she could do this.

By the time we got off the phone I felt she was doing much better.

And then I got the messages from her two best friends. They both reached out to me in a group text to tell me they were worried about her. They said she had been very closed off, wouldn’t talk to them, and hadn’t been herself lately. They wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help her.

My stomach dropped. It must be bad if her friends are contacting me.

I keep telling myself that she is fine. She has her ups and her downs. She’s always been a perfectionist. She’s always been driven. This is the kid that placed 2nd in the state on balance beam and was pissed because she didn’t take home first.

“Rock Star, out of all of the girls your age in Utah you placed second! That’s amazing.”

“I didn’t come to take second. I came to win.”

I can handle her freaking out and crying. I know she can fall apart on me and pick herself back up and continue on.

When I’m getting messages from her friends telling me they’re worried about her… I begin to freak out a little myself.

For any of you who follow Chump Lady you know that one of the things she’s often asked is, “When will it stop hurting?” Her reply has become, “Tuesday. It will stop on Tuesday.” She’s not sure which Tuesday, of course, but it will eventually stop.

To be clear, I am not pining away for the ex. Sadly though, he still has the power to hurt me through my children. Fearing that my daughter might end up a suicide statistic hurts me.

My daughter should not be worried about how to pay her rent. She should not feel as though she has somehow failed if she needs to come to me and ask for financial help.

I hate him for that. I hate him for not making sure his kids have everything they need.

You want to make sure I never get another dime of your money? That’s fine. Pay your goddamn kids directly! Give them what they need instead of trying to bribe someone else’s kids. It doesn’t matter how fucking good you are to the mulligans. You have failed your own kids.

I’m going to take my own advice. Break this up into little pieces. Survive one crisis and then tackle the other. By all accounts it sounds like she is doing much better. I texted her friends back and let them know what was going on. By the time I finally had a chance to get back to them they told me she was more like her old self and she was laughing and talking to them.

The mobster called her and talked to her. He reported that she sounded better as well. Of course, as he acknowledged it’s a lot easier to fall apart on mom. He didn’t expect her to open up and fall apart on him. But he gave her a pep talk and let her know how worried I was and how worried her friends were.

One foot in front of the other. Tuesday will come one day.

For My Daughter… & My Son

Have you heard Kane Brown’s newest single? It’s called, “For My Daughter” and it’s his  promise to his daughter to be the dad he never had.

I’m not going to lie. I teared up a little bit listening to it. It tugs at the heartstrings. I hope he lives up to all of his promises. That little girl will be incredibly lucky.

I did like how he acknowledges that they say the past is supposed to shape you, but then goes on to say, “Well, I guess that’s up to me.” Far too often what we get are excuses instead of explanations. His father left him. He survived an abusive stepfather. He could easily shrug his shoulders and say, “What do you expect from me? I don’t know any different.” Instead, he tells his daughter, “I learned what not to do. I grew up without a dad. I’m gonna be the best one I can be.”

You know, when my daughter was born I remember Jerry Lee crying, his voice full of wonder as he said to me, “We have a daughter.” My friend reminded me of the story of all of us going out to dinner and him remaining focused on Rock Star the entire night. Apparently I said something to the effect of, “If nothing else I know he will always be a great dad to our children.” I honestly thought I had picked someone who would never abandon his children. Someone who wanted to give his own kids what his own father never gave him. Someone who wanted to coach Little League and teach them how to hit a baseball. Someone who would be there to cheer them on in whatever they chose to do. Someone who would want to spend time with them and create family memories. I thought he loved them.

Since I made such a colossal mistake in choosing a father for my children I’ve taken to re-writing the lyrics a bit. To both my daughter and my son:

They say dads are supposed to shape you, in a way I guess yours did.

You know what not to do if you ever have a kid

They say history repeats itself

Well, I guess that’s up to you

Yeah I’m sorry ’bout your dad

but I’m gonna be the best mom I can be.

That’s how I sing it now. Chin up, chitlins. You both know what not to do- from cheating on your partner to abandoning your kid. You can let this change you for the worse or you can tell him to suck it and be the best damn people you can be. Don’t let him win. It sucks to be abandoned and discarded by your dad, but your mama loves you. I’m going to do my best to make his absence go unnoticed. I’m going to love you both so hard you’ll hardly miss him. I’m going to do my best to make up for his failings.

When You Feel Like You’ve Failed

I have days when I doubt everything I’ve done throughout this divorce. Was I right in cutting off communication and going no contact? Should I have eaten shit in the hopes that he would spend more time with his kids? Was I too open, too honest, with my kids? Should I have instead lied or hid the truth about what was really happening from them? Should I have pushed them more to have a relationship with their father? Should I have begged and pleaded for him to be more involved with his kids? Pushed Harley on them even though I didn’t want to? Hell, should I have made him his fucking spaghetti after that first night and carried on like normal so that the kids would have known it was fine for them to have a relationship with him? Hey, if Mom’s still making dinner for him and fixing his plate then we can surely go out to eat with him and have a fun time with him.

These thoughts have not come out of the blue. Rock Star was home a few weeks ago for Fall Break and on one of those nights she had a slight breakdown. She complains of constant stress and feeling like the weight of the world is on her shoulders. It’s hard to tell how much is drama and teenage angst and how much is real.

Some days it seems like she’s got the world by the tail and she’s so very happy and content. Then other days she seems to fall apart.

She didn’t get a “little” this year. Littles and bigs, they’re called. I suppose once upon a blue moon they were labeled big sis and little sis but now they’ve dropped words to make it easier to say. It’s like KFC and Dunkin’.

Earlier in the process she had complained that it was moving so quickly and that she didn’t really feel like she had a great connection with one specific person. Then came the reveal that she didn’t get picked to get a “little”.

She played it off like it was a relief because of all of her schoolwork but when she had her breakdown it all came tumbling down. She felt like she let her own “big” down. She felt like she wasn’t enough. I’m sure the rejection stung, although the reality was there were simply more girls available to be bigs than they had in the pledge class.

She thinks she’s stupid, too stupid to get into nursing school. I have been telling her for at least two years now that her cousin, the one who graduated a year ago as a nurse, isn’t one bit smarter than her. She had a 3.8 GPA in high school, for crying out loud! And yet she continues to say her grades are awful, they’re not good enough on their own to get her into nursing school and she knows she’s too stupid to pass the nursing school exam.

She’s always been a perfectionist, though. She has a 3.3 nursing GPA right now. I have had the conversation with her that goes something like this: I find it very hard to believe that only straight A students get into nursing school. The kids that aren’t getting in are the ones like the girl in your biology class that was rockin’ that 1.8 GPA.

When things calmed down I did suggest she go talk to her advisor because surely he or she could let her know what she needed in order to get into nursing school. Maybe the advisor can lay her concerns to rest. I also reminded her that she’s always been hard on herself and that her version of bad grades probably means she’s getting a B in something, which she did admit.

She told me her anxiety and depression are getting worse, despite being on medication. She says she doesn’t have much of an appetite and that she can make a single cup of coffee last for about four hours because she just can’t drink it that fast anymore.

And always there are the issues with her father.

I’d like to knock the shit out of any of those people who say that affairs are between two consenting adults, or who try to sell that bullshit that as long as you’re happy your kids will be okay. I’d like to run over the next person who dares utter the phrase, “Children are resilient.”

Yeah, they’re so fucking resilient that that evening when she was having her meltdown all I could do was think, “Oh God, please don’t let me get a call from the university informing me they’ve found my kid’s body after she’s committed suicide.”

Hey, her dad’s happy and that’s all that matters, right?

A little back story. My aforementioned niece, the nurse, just got married last month. My other niece, Queen Bee, was invited to be in the wedding. Rock Star was not. She’s been wanting to be in a wedding ever since her childhood best friend was in her sister’s wedding back when they were probably only 13 years old. Rock Star, Queen Bee, and Florence Nightingale have done almost everything as a trio throughout the years so I think it was yet another rejection.

Nonetheless she put on a brave facing, declaring it was no big deal and that she would undoubtedly be in a lot of weddings in the upcoming years because of her close ties with her sorority sisters.

Then came the big day. Florence Nightingale made the decision to walk up the aisle unaccompanied. But later that night at the reception there was the Father/Daughter dance.

I was keeping an eye on Rock Star and checking on her reaction. Nothing seemed amiss that evening but the night of her meltdown she told me she was bawling during it. In my defense I was across the room from her.

It hurts her to realize she will never have that. As she said, “My dad doesn’t care enough about me to do something like that for me.” At one point during the conversation she mentioned him abandoning her without saying a word, not loving her enough to stick around, and spending the last four years making her life a living hell.

I gave her the same speech I gave to her brother a little while ago.  He is your father. I understand if you want to have a relationship with him. You aren’t being disloyal to me by having a relationship with him.

“I don’t want to have a relationship with him!” she replied, still crying. There was something in there about him “making” me suicidal and how she couldn’t lose me. I stressed to her that I’m doing fine and that once I was away from him I no longer felt like that. Of course, that’s where the guilt kicks in again. Maybe I should never have opened my mouth. I’m too damn flippant sometimes. When I mentioned that in passing one time (and I don’t even remember what brought it up) she got a shocked look on her face but nothing else was said. I assured her at the time that I was fine and no longer felt like that. But in hindsight that was a terribly heavy burden to place on her and I’m sure the fear is always there that something else he will do will end with me wanting to end my life. He does have a habit of yanking the rug out from under us every six months to a year.

I’m pretty sure she went on to say that he was a horrible person and he continues to make everything about himself. Hmmm… that does sound familiar.

I think she’s between a rock and a hard place. She wants something she knows she can’t have. She wants to be a daddy’s girl, even though she never was even when we were together. She wants that close relationship but she realizes it’s never going to happen. He’s not that person. And ultimately she knows exactly what kind of a person he is and knows that’s not the type of person she wants in her life. Sure, he would walk her down the aisle. Hell, he’s already told her that he wants to do exactly that when the day comes.

I know I moved you 2000 miles across the country, away from the only friends you really remembered, and away from your true love, gymnastics, only to cheat on your mom and leave you all behind. I realize I put my own wants and desires and pursuit of happiness ahead of you and anything you might have needed as a young teen. I conned you into believing I suffered from PTSD so you would feel sorry for me. I moved out of our house and out of the state without saying a single word to you or your brother. Bummer that you had to move out of your new home and leave your new friends behind. I know I spent years whining about having to switch schools every year when I was younger, and I know I insisted we move when we did because I was supposedly so concerned about not moving you once you began high school but it turns out it doesn’t concern me at all that you had to switch high schools right as you began your junior year. I don’t care that you had to move in with your grandmother and don’t have a home of your own; I’m rocking that five bedroom home in the “most sought after subdivision”. I don’t care that you didn’t get your driver’s license when you were supposed to, thanks to me and Harley, or that your last two years of high school were awful. I’m not willing to help you out with college or to pay your medical insurance or help with your phone bill or your car insurance. But I want you to know it would mean the world to me to be able to walk you down that aisle on your wedding day.

Yeah, that about sums it up. He would be there with bells on if she asked him to be.

Unfortunately I don’t think that’s what she really wants. I think she wants him to want to have a relationship with her. She wants to know she’s loved and missed. She wants to be able to reject him and hurt him, the way he has hurt her these last four years. She wants to know she matters. Sadly, I think she knows that she doesn’t matter to her dad. He’s way too busy with his whore cousin and her kids.

He couldn’t be bothered to come to any of her events but he can put on a damn Cardinal t-shirt and support the whore’s daughter. Guess those crowds at the gym didn’t give him the heebie jeebies like he claimed they did when it came to Rock Star’s gymnastics. He couldn’t be bothered to send extra money so I could buy her a Homecoming dress only weeks after he was discovered. No, he was too busy spending $4400 on an engagement ring for his cousin that month; but two months later he could spend $300 on a dress for the whore’s daughter. He couldn’t buy his own daughter a car but he sent $500 to the whore so she could pay for repairs for her daughter’s vehicle. And on top of that, he made big promises about buying her a car as well. He was so busy buying the affection of Harley’s kids that he neglected his own. Just like he could make a 12 hour round trip drive to go see the whore every single weekend and yet the only time he has ever made the drive to see his own kid(s) was Rock Star’s graduation. I think that was solely so he could know the precise time to cut off child support for her.

Maybe it would be better if he would disappear altogether. Instead he randomly pops back up. He’ll send a text designed to elicit sympathy. He’ll say something negative about me. He’s always oh so sad and he always wants her to know he loves her to the moon and back.

She feels guilty about “being mean” to Tammy Faye, the person who engineered Jerry Lee and Harley’s hookup. She didn’t call her when she was dying. She feels like she’s a horrible person for not responding to her. There is always all this guilt heaped upon her.

I reminded her that aside from Facebook, and maybe one holiday card, Tammy Faye had never reached out to her. She never bothered to call or text after the very first episode when the kids found out, when she demanded to talk to her and then threw the phone on the ground as she walked off crying. It was all postings on Facebook about how she loved her so much and she was her flesh and blood. That’s not really all comforting considering she was crowing her unconditional love for her new “grandkids” as soon as Jerry Lee replaced us all.

Even if The Saint lied and Tammy Faye didn’t encourage Harley to call Jerry Lee she still had absolutely no problem with what they were doing. She went as the third wheel to a fucking funeral with the two dipshits, for crying out loud! She never told Rock Star she was sorry about everything that had happened or expressed any sympathy about everything she lost due to her father’s behavior. There was never an, “I’m sorry you didn’t get your license on time,” or “I’m sorry you had to move out of your house,” or “I’m sorry you have to move again and leave behind all of these new friends you’ve made.” Not a one of them know the hell she went through her last two years of school.

I reminded her that having boundaries wasn’t “mean”. She distanced herself for a reason. She really only had two choices. She could maintain her boundaries, which pretty much boils down to, “Anyone that doesn’t have a problem with what my dad did is not someone I want in my life,” or she can cave to the pressure. If she wants to pretend it’s all fine and that she has no problem with what her father did then that’s up to her.

Most recently she was invited to the Jackass family reunion (paternal side of the family). Oh, not by him. She was invited by his sister-in-law, the one I recently unfriended. “Why won’t they leave me alone?” she asked me.

The short answer would be: You’re still family. 

The slightly longer answer would be: They love you. You’ve never come right out and said to any of them, “Leave me alone!” or, “If you are okay with what my dad did I want nothing to do with you. When you support him and his whore, you’re not only supporting what he did to my mom, but what he did to me and my brother as well. You can’t tell me you love me and care about me when you don’t have a problem with what he did because his behavior has destroyed my life.”

I know the guilt should not be mine to bear. It should be his! But he’s totally oblivious. He never has to see her in pain. He never looks into her face when she is disappointed yet again. He is unaware of the stress and the struggles, the anxiety and the depression. He lives in a make-believe world where his happiness justifies everything.

I will always feel guilty when these things come up. When my child hurts, I hurt. And as always I am left wondering, “Was there anything else I could have done? Was there anything I could have done differently?”

Fortunately for me, the answer is always, “No, he’s an asshole. Nothing you could have done would have changed that.”

No Thank You

I am doing my best to raise polite children. I remember one year at Halloween I was coaching Picasso on what to do and say at the houses when he stopped for candy. I stressed the importance of saying, “Thank you,” and using his manners. I thought we were all set.

When he went up to one of the houses the occupant was apparently offering up something he did not wish to have. I heard, “No, thank you. I don’t like that,” before he turned around and walked back to me.

He was polite about it. I must give him points for that. And assertive. Definitely not afraid to speak up.

Now, maybe a good 10 years later he has received a birthday card and a check from his father. My mom took him to cash it last week and I believe he has spent the majority, if not all, of the money.

I know I write a lot about not propping up the other parent, validating your kid’s feelings about said parent, and not bullshitting them. I try very hard to walk that line between letting him vent and allowing him to have the relationship he wants with his dad.

The other night I texted him his dad’s contact information. I told him he needed to at least acknowledge the fact he had received the card, and thank him for the check.

First he asked why. I told him it was because I was raising him to be a polite young man with impeccable manners and not a flaming asshole.

He flat out refused. He said, and I quote, “I refuse to talk to him.”

At that point I told him I was not arguing about this with him. I told him to send him a thank you and to get on with his night. I told him it wasn’t about his dad. It was about him and showing that he had manners and that I wasn’t dropping the ball in raising him.

That’s probably not the best reason to give, is it?

He compromised. He agreed to tell him he received the card and check, but warned that was as far as he would go.

Later he came out and talked to me. I again told him it wasn’t about his dad; it was about being polite and doing the right thing. I told him his dad had sent him a check and he should thank him for that.

His counterpoint was that if he started acting like a father maybe he would be more willing to thank him. I believe he referred to his dad sending him a card and a check as the bare minimum. Personally, I think sending a card would have been a bare minimum, but I digress.

He followed up his counterpoint with: Yeah, he sent me $100. And how much does he still owe you?

Fair enough, although I do think the two things are separate issues.

The other issue for him is he does not want his dad having his phone number. I guess I could have him write a note.

I’m torn. On one hand I still believe in thanking a person when they’ve given a gift. I really think you should send a hand written note, but if nothing else, send a damn text acknowledging it. On the other hand I think Picasso makes some good points.

His dad has not behaved as a dad. He calls him by his name instead of referring to him as “Dad”. His card and gift were late. He’s failed to even acknowledge his birthday before. Picasso feels as though his dad spent almost a year gas lighting all of us so he could claim PTSD and get out of paying child and spousal support. He doesn’t trust him. He doesn’t believe anything he says.

I don’t remember if I shared this, but shortly before Father’s Day he was out buying a birthday gift for his sister when he happened upon a bunch of Father’s Day shirts. He had my mom take a picture of one that said, “This Is What a Cool Dad Looks Like” and told her he should get that for the mobster. Then a devious thought occurred and instead he said, “No! I should give that to the mobster and take a picture of the two of us together and then send that picture to CF.”

I’m thinking that if he had done that he probably wouldn’t have received a birthday gift. Then this whole, “Should he send a thank you note/text or not?” saga would not exist.

On a lighter note, Picasso didn’t seem to notice his dad got new checks. New checks that make it quite obvious he and the cousin whore are married now. They are cutesy country style checks and read CF & Harley Buttwipe.

Wow- he must feel super special. She hyphenated her name when she married her first husband. I don’t know if she just loves CF so much she only wants the world to acknowledge her married name, or if he threw the same little tantrum he threw when I suggested hyphenating my nam. Hey, Romeo, it’s not going to stop her from fucking other men. It’s what she does.

To my knowledge he still has not told either of the kids he married her so I was a little worried about how Picasso would react upon realizing his dad had gotten married and never bothered to tell him or Rock Star. He’s Father of the Fucking Year material, I tell ya!