Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting to know an absent parent

I can remember sitting in the judges chambers some room at the courthouse at the age of 7 with my sister and mom. I can also remember sitting in the judges chambers some room at the courthouse with my sister and my dad. I remember dad getting down on the floor with us and mom keeping her distance as she watched over us playing alone together. I can remember hearing the man conducting the session say dad plays with the children more. At the time, I just assumed he was thinking out loud as he wrote his notes down, but 24 years later, I’m not so sure. Why did that man say those words out loud? Those six words have run through my mind every single day since. Haunting? Perhaps.

I remember on the drive home from school one day, asking my mom did the judge decide we should live with you or dad? Secretly I was hoping she’d say dad, because I was NOT fond of mom’s new boyfriend, but she didn’t. We were on one of our last drives to the ‘family’ home, and for the first time I can remember, I experienced true sadness. I wanted to cry. Why was someone other than my parents allowed to tell us who we could spend our time with? Why couldn’t we just spend equal amounts of time with each parent? Why, at the age of 7, was I having to think about this stuff, when all I wanted to be doing was comparing sticker books with Doreen and Nicole.
As the weeks, months, and years went on, we saw less and less of dad. He was a ‘weekend father’ and had become sort of a background parent to mom and the boyfriend who had now become “the husband”, AKA: The Stepdad. He very rarely attended events we had (band competitions, basketball games, choir performances, etc), but was it because we had grown so far apart from him that we didn’t invite him or even want him there? Or because we knew he wouldn’t attend? Or was it something completely different? Am I holding a grudge about this for the wrong reason?

As I start to think about what it’ll be like if I get to have weekend visitations with Ryan, I have to admit, I’m scared of one thing, and ONE thing only. He’s 10. Is he already at that point that I had reached with my dad? Has he become so close to his father and so far from me, that he’s already developed a sense to push me away? It doesn’t seem that way by the way he acts around me now, but how can one tell when nobody will let me be around him for longer than two hours? Grrr @ the whole situation.

I have so many other questions that bring on other questions and – knowing my history of anxiety – will bring on fears. I can’t let that happen. That’s not who I want to be. Where is my best friend when I need her?

1 comment:

  1. Your thoughts are only proof that you care and are a better mom than you are giving yourself credit. As long as parents are honest, kids eventually understand. When he pushes you away - and at times he might - don't let that defeat you. Fight on. Keep trying. Don't give up. The integrity of your actions will speak volumes in time.