At one point I had saved several of the date slips, but not all of them. I have no idea how many times I've been to court in the last five years. Figure in the beginning, once a month, just about. Later on, every other month. Over the last five years. That's what, 42 times? That's a lot.
Although today we were closer to getting a signed agreement than we ever have before. But I'm not hopeful. Because of course TF has found something else to bring up; changing one of the Sun's middle names. The Sun has five names, as does MoodMagicBarbie, who-by-the-way, turned 13(!!!) yesterday. (I have to write about her. She is definitely moody, headstrong like you wouldn't believe, very intelligent and very lazy. Tends to be quiet--a watcher like me, and WAY smarter than she lets on. Prone to Deep Thoughts. Also prone to Rules and Structure, very much like me. She makes me laugh, she's so much like me. The Diva has always given her mother a fit, but the Diva wears her entire life on her sleeve and so you ALWAYS know what she's up to. She tells you, you have a fit, and she does it anyway. MMB, on the other hand, won't give up shit. Will play victim in a heartbeat. But she's got a good heart. It's just I worry about her way more than I worry about the other one, because all these years she's been learning The Game by watching the Diva, but she can also see where the Diva gives up too much. I tell the Professor the worst is yet to come...)
But anyway. The Professor and I tend to "overname" our kids. When the Sun was almost two he and I went to Europe, and so I had to get him a passport. I took in his birth certificate and his social security card to the Big Post Office, and the clerk stared at them both a while. "I'm feelin' that name" he said dryly. The Sun's name takes up two lines. The first name is his Bible name, the one I took the most time finding, and it had a particular meaning. The second name is for Poppy, but it's not Poppy's name. I took a name common to three very important men; two were writers rumored to be multi-racial and/or descended from Africa and the third was a great conqueror who was partially Albanian. The third name was TF's father's name; a very strange sounding name that's not spelled at all like it sounds. And then the Sun's last name is hyphenated--mine and his father's.
When the Sun was a year old, someone told TF's father anonymously over the phone that he had a black grandson. Isn't that just so "Old-World"? Who DOES things like that??? Any way, the father had a cow, got into a big fight with TF and supposedly disowned him. TF claims he hasn't spoken to him since. When the Sun was about 3, I actually met TF's mother, who I thought was sort of sweet, and I do keep in touch with TF's sister though not as much while the court thing rages on. TF also has a much older brother and sister who just don't get involved. When the Sun is with his father, he NEVER sees any of them. I've never met the father.
Night before last, TF asked to speak to me on the phone. Surprised, I agreed. He wanted to know my objection to dropping his father's name off of the Sun's birth certificate. He had tried to bring this up in the court case before, and I had blatantly refused. The other night I told him it was merely because the name now belonged to the Sun. He said well, his father was a racist asshole, and he didn't want his name on the Sun's birth certificate. (Well, this may be true, but my bone of contention has always been: WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU THINK OF THIS BEFORE HE WAS BORN????? TF never wanted to introduce me to his father for precisely this very reason. But whatever.) It ended up with me saying that shouldn't the Sun have something to say about this, at this point? He didn't really think so... but I said I would consider it. We got off the phone, he spoke with the Sun.
But the Sun was adamant that his father explain to him what we talked about. "You NEVER talk to her" he said, "I want to know what you were talking about." And he wouldn't let it rest. And much to my surprise, his father told him, pretty much what he told me, without the cursewords and the racism. He even said that he would prefer the Sun take Poppy's name because he respected Poppy more than he respected his own father.
I wonder what fucking meds they have him on now????
When the Sun got off the phone he came and told me "I know what you all talked about." I asked him what he thought, and I told the racism part. Which was that his other grandfather hadn't wanted to meet me because I was "black". "But you're cute!" the Sun said. But I could see he was pissed off. So he said he didn't mind dropping the name--he never liked how it sounded anyhow (people always say "WHAT???" when he tells it). I told him he had the right to choose another name; did he want another Albanian name (although they sound strange), or Poppy's name? The Sun didn't mind that, but then out of the blue he said "Truman, after great-grandpa". I was touched. Really. I could feel Grandpa smiling. So when he got in the bed, I had him call his father back and tell him of his decision.
Later on I checked email:
"I would like to have more information about [The Sun's] grandfather Truman, particularly his relationship with your mother and father. From what I remember he hasn't had much contact until your grandmother pasted away. please let me know why. please hold off discussing this subject with [The Sun] until we clarify what changes might be made."
The man has NO concept of forgiveness. Of letting go. Of healing. Of Making Peace. And he has no idea that his Sun is capable of Deep Thoughts.
So I wrote him back:
"My mother had a complicated relationship with her father, but during the last two years of his life we made regular road trips out to Chicago to visit him. The Sun enjoyed those trips; 13 hours in my sister's van going through mountains and corn fields and factory towns. After my grandmother died, my grandfather got a little warmer with us, and he enjoyed our visits and called us "his posse". But whatever we felt about him, or how he felt about us, he LOVED The Sun, probably because The Sun was the only boy on my mother's side of the family in generations since he himself was a little boy.
My grandfather had several things that he was proud of; he won a congressional medal of honor for integrating the army, he started the tradition of big-name, highly promoted boxing matches, and he helped to integrate housing in Chicago. The play "A Raisin In The Sun" is based on one of his cases. The Sun was impressed by the fact that he wrote a book, that he was a boxer's lawyer, and that he was 94 when he died. The Sun loved that my grandfather-- his great-grandfather, called him "Champ", and was very sad when he died. I was surprised by that; but my grandfather had really made an impression on him. He still talks about him a lot.
Truly, taking his name was ENTIRELY The Sun's idea. It hadn't even crossed my mind. We talked about taking another Albanian name; or just dropping the name, or taking "Poppy's" name. We talked about why you wanted to drop the name, and why I wanted to keep it. He told me he agreed with you about dropping the name, and I told him that he should be the one to pick his name. And that's the one he chose.
I do feel at 8, he is entitled to decide what he wants to do about it. Particularly since your son puts a lot of thought into the the things he says.
(I sent links to information about my grandfather.)
My grandfather was far from perfect. Even when he died, he left questions. But he was a man that lived life on his own terms and lived his life exactly as he saw fit, and I have come to respect that. But the other thing I came to respect was that The Sun was the one person in his entire life that my grandfather loved unconditionally and without reservation."
But then I began to stress, thinking this would come up in court today. It didn't. Instead, TF's lawyer decided to attack the fact that while I follow the Jewish law, I don't follow the Jewish Calendar, and the only reason it's an issue is because it interferes with "his client's" ability to take a two-week visit with Joshua in July. The ONLY reason I didn't get infuriated and go to war, was because my Lawyer did. It actually amused me, and it made me feel good to see someone else get mad, because then I didn't have to put out the energy (which was good cuz I'm still sick as a dog). TF's lawyer was really nasty about it, too. But all I want is a signed visitation agreement, and so I made a concession that hopefully showed I'm willing to be reasonable.
But I'm sure the other foot will drop somehow, because it always does. Though tonight, TF spoke with Joshua and said he was OK with Joshua's choice and reasoning.
In the meantime, I signed the proposed agreement as did the Law Guardian and the Lawyer. But TF's lawyer won't, until TF does.
I GUARANTEE that the name thing will come up and will need to be added to the agreement.