Have you ever been handed the biggest crock of s@#t and your just not sure if this it is real or some sort of practical joke? That thought came to me last weekend, when I was asked to sign for a certified letter that contained court paperwork, ordering me to appear before a Conciliator to determine the need for 50/50 custody of my 8 year old son. Seriously? So the guy that after 7 years of marriage and infidelity on his part, walked out of my apartment door and never bothered to even say goodbye to his son, has seen his son on and off for the past 4 years and was generally too busy with women and friends to pay much attention to any visitation we agreed too, now has had a change of heart and wants equal time with his son? Let’s break this down, shall we?
To be honest, the court proceedings are not actually what’s bothering me. Nor is the fact that my ex-husband is trying to take more for time with his son (I actually want him to be around for his son more.). It’s the fact that my son’s Father has no idea what his son is going through on a daily basis. He doesn’t care about my son’s special needs (he actually laughs it off and tells me that our son is completely fine and I just don’t know how to “handle” him), that our son has an aversion to ANY change in his schedule and that yes we moved to a new house in December but that my son has been a lot better behaviorally and emotionally since the move. No, he wants, what he wants, when he wants it. I could absolutely speculate on why this sudden change of heart, when it comes to spending time with his son.
First, there is the “New Girl”. She is the latest in a long line of women-friends in the last 6 months. Except this one has had the unfortunate thought of agreeing to let my ex move in with her and her 2 children. I don’t really have anything bad to say about her. She is very lovely (the one time I met her through a car window), and her kids seem very nice as well (also through the car window). I more or less feel bad for her. She has no idea what she is getting into. At any rate, they have been together for the last month and he moved in 3 weeks ago. She has custody of her kids. She seems to be a very caring Mother. So now my ex has to step up the “woo-ing”. He needs to impress her with his parenting skills.
Secondly, he got a new job last month. A full-time, well paying, union job. He does pay child support and has no arrears at all. Never has. However, all the child support was based off of the part-time, low paying job he previously held and the fact that I’m really not interested in his money. Never have been. But my son has interests in extra curricular activities that we have not been able to sign him up for and other programs that he would be eligible for due to his medical diagnosis, but we cannot afford it. SO would I go back to court in order to raise the child support, so my son could get involved in things he is interested in? Absolutely. I don’t like money exchanging hands without some sort of guarantee and paper trail. It’s not good for either party. But I do know that my ex is worried about it. Why? Because when he tells me that he wants 50/50 custody because it will give him “12-14 days a month and I will be happy with that”, clues me into the fact that he is counting how many overnights he will have with his son and THAT is how child support is calculated.
All in all, I guess you can tell by now that it’s not those reasons that bother me at all. It’s the fact that he doesn’t care about spending the time with his son. He has never once called the therapist or the Medical Management doctor to see when his appointments are or how he is progressing. He hasn’t called the Pediatrician to see when his next physical is. He hasn’t even called the school to meet his teacher or see what the new evaluation (He went to one parent-teacher conference in 1st grade and his Kindergarten graduation.) He has never attended any of his son’s cub scout events. I don’t see how anyone who says they “care” for their child can use such excuses as
“I can’t get off work. Ever. Don’t bother me with this stuff.”-verbatim from text message
“I have class that night. If you can’t make appointments to fit my schedule, then I can’t come.”- verbatim from text message
And just so we are on the level, no I do not feel like it’s my responsibility to “hold his hand” and notify him of each and every appointment and to make sure he is able to come when I schedule everything. However I do tell him what has changed, if anything, after each medical appointment, and if my son ever has any extra curricular activities going on, he is notified.
So now, in amidst of my older son having some trouble keeping his head on straight with this new fascination of girls and pimples, my 8 year old son having a change in his medication, my 1 1/2 year old daughter starting to hit the terrible tantrum stage and my husband has so much work (thank God), that he has no time for home (the life of a farmer’s wife, is comparable to a single Mother.). And now we need to come up with lawyer fees and babysitter fees, all so I can go to court. I even sucked it up and tried to explain the process to my ex, to tell him what the conciliator looks for in both parents for him to rule in favor of 50/50 custody. That way we could both save the legal fees and time. His lack of interest in his son’s life prior to now, his swing shift work schedule, the lack of respect for his son’s medical diagnosis and the fact he doesn’t even live in the same school district as his son, does not qualify him for 50/50 custody (per PA custody guidelines for Joint Custody). But of course, I was just “being a ::BEEEEEEEEEEEP::”. So, that didn’t do anything either. What more does he want from me?!?! I have no problems agreeing to 3 weekends a month, 3 weeks during the summer and split holidays (which he already had). But in no way will I agree to a any visitation during the school week. A disruption to my son’s weekly life and school life, is not in my son’s best interest. Especially when he is finally caught up to other students and excelling! Well, apparently that’s not good enough for my ex. So off to court we go.
I guess the moral of this drama filled event, is that no matter how nice, well-intentioned or selfless you are, you won’t win. So just hold onto your Faith that He will bring you through whatever he leads you to. As a Mother (or Father), look out for the best interest of your child, special needs or not, so that your child is always put first, with his/her best interest in mind. Because that really is what it is all about. Whether you are together, separated or divorced, your children are a gift from God and should be treated as such.