Saturday, January 19, 2008

In The End, It's The Result That Matters

I stopped posting all the emails that were going back and forth between TF and myself because I didn't want to "yeast it up," as they say in the 'hood. What he was writing in response to my simple emails was so rude and stupid, and pissed me off so badly, that I knew that if posted them to share in the outrage, the comments I would most likely receive would piss me off even more. And then at some point I might stop seeing clearly.

In times of severe conflict, it's helpful to remember the Ultimate Objective. For me, it was to have the Sun returned to me on Sunday, not Monday the 21st, cuz whether the rest of the world thinks it's weird or "pseudo" or whatever, it's the end of my Passover celebration, and I didn't want to deal with TF on that day. Equally as important was to let TF know that I wasn't going to be bullied by him anymore. For the Sun, it was to see his dad. For TF... who the fuck knows. He's crazy and oppositional.

In December, TF emailed me to say he was coming this weekend. As part of the visitation agreement (that still isn't signed so technically there IS no visitation agreement), TF is entitled to drop the Sun off at school on Monday morning, or keep him through the Monday if it's a holiday. I'd emailed TF to let him know I was OK with him coming this weekend, but that I needed the Sun back on Sunday night because Monday is MLK day/no school, and it's the end of Passover. I had also been careful to make sure that the Passover dates were listed in the agreement as "no go" days, since they're not the normal/accepted Jewish Holidays. I offered to let TF come in on Friday and pick the Sun up from school on that day, which normally I don't because I like to keep Sun for at least the start of Sabbath. We're not as strict-Sabbath keepers as we used to be, but I still want to keep the tradition. If Friday wasn't possible for him, I offered time on another visit. But TF was refusing and unaccepting and uncompromising, and as time went on got more and more belligerent in his tone. He also wasn't confirming where he was staying. I had to "Google" it to figure it out. Two weeks ago, I sent TF an email saying that if he didn't confirm the return time and the hotel, I wasn't going to produce The Sun for the visit. And I wasn't playing.

Earlier this week he finally confirmed the hotel address where he'd be staying, which may seem like nothing but it was actually a First. Ever. I considered that a win. But when he emailed me "You will drop the Sun off at the hotel..." I bristled. First of all, anytime anybody tells me "You WILL..." I get an attitude, especially when it's illogical. For me to drop the Sun off at 9A in the city on a Saturday morning, when I don't drive and it takes 2 hours to get there, and he's fucking driving right from the airport, is completely illogical. The funny thing is my lawyer read the email before I did, and she a.) already knows me and b.) has a little bit of a temper herself, and she emailed me even before I read the email saying "Don't respond anymore." She tried to reach out to both the Law Guardian and TF's lawyer on my behalf, to encourage them to call him and help him see reason. She said she wasn't hopeful that they'd help. I found it a little encouraging though, that the LG wasn't calling me, but at the same time was highly annoyed that it seems like everyone is "washing their hands" of my situation. And I was increasingly pissed off that after 5 years of authoritative meddling on the part of Bronx Family Court, with everyone talking about what's in the "best interest of the child" that no one was understanding that it's not in any body's best interest for TF to feel he can bully his way in and out of our lives.

I admit I have a temper. I admit that I keep ThatFucker as far away from me as I possibly can, because I don't like him/don't trust him and he makes me jumpy. Because he makes me jumpy and because I have a temper, I don't trust myself not to jump to extremes with him, especially when I'm on my own territory and backed into a corner. My instinct is to fight. To the death. So I prefer to keep him on neutral territory, and I need for there to be strict rules so that there is no misunderstandings... on his part, and on my part. I don't trust my reactions around him.

But I stopped responding, and TF didn't email me either, and time was passing. Lawyer had a hard time getting ahold of TF's lawyer, and then it seems nothing satisfactory came of the conversation when she finally did. By Friday morning, when I hadn't gotten any agreement from TF, I was really stressing. I didn't want to deny the Sun his dad. But I couldn't back down. I was feeling really guilty about "holding the line" over a very small detail, but as I told Lawyer I strongly felt that if I let TF cross the line, my life for the next 10 years would be hell. "Why?" she asked. "Because, he'll push for the next thing". TF is the kind of person where literally, you give him something, and he insists on more. You give him more, he wants it all, he deserves it all, and you're an asshole/bitch/etc because you won't give it. You give until you bleed and it's never enough. So you have to draw the line and make him fight for the small shit so that you never get to the big shit. But it's fucking draining. And then you ask yourself "Is it really that important???" And it isn't... but the next thing might be and if you've lost ground in the smaller fight, you're screwed. I HAD to hold the line.

But my kid was starting to suffer. I explained to him several times the gist of what was going on. I told him about rules, and that sometimes you had to follow rules and that TF isn't very good at that. I had asked him in December that if I was backed into a corner and had to deny his visit, would he be OK. He said he would. He hasn't seen TF since August, so at first he was OK with it, but as the time got nearer, he began to ask me "Did he agree yet?"

I also knew that if didn't show up with the Sun today, all hell was going to break loose. The last time I had to deny him a visit, when I first filed for the OP in Family Court, TF came to my door with the police. I had anticipated that, and was someplace else, and I was prepared to do that today.

Here's "spaghetti" part #1: A while back, TAN posted on his blog about his relationship with his mother, and I had backtracked to find a post he wrote about how he had been made to feel afraid of his dad, and that his mother would run from his dad, until he was 5 and she put him in a cab and sent him to his father's. And how confusing that was. So while initially I was prepared to "disappear" with the Sun for the weekend, my gut knew that that wasn't going to be good for the Sun in the long run. I never want him to feel he has to hide from his dad. So that meant we'd stay here, in our own apartment, but I would have to carefully plan my day so as not to be anywhere near where TF could find us, all the while appearing relaxed and normal. And as complicated as that was going to be, I was prepared to do that. Of course, Bigbear (who lately has more and more of a penchant for the hysterical and worst-case-scenario) was all bent out of shape that she too, would have to hide since TF would probably come knocking on her door. "So don't answer it!" I said. "You know we call anyhow before we show up. If there's a knock at the door and you know it's not us, who says you have to answer?" I was annoyed. The whole thing was getting annoying. And the Sun was getting more and more quiet and big-eyed, which is what he does when he's stressed.

Silly Detour: I've had two days of living like a rockstar. I often say in order to be completely free, you either have to be profoundly rich, or profoundly poor. Obviously, I'm the latter. On Thursday, I had the pleasure of being handed a crispy $100 bill for participating in a 45-minute focus group. I took that $100 and dropped $50 of it in Victoria's Secret on undies I sorely needed. The best part was that technically, the undies were free to me. Then, I met Shoefly downstairs from her job, and we went to Banana Republic where they were having a 70% off sale. I had $15 in coupons from Old Navy Rewards, and so for a grand total of $23 (charged to my ON card) I got a $78 shirt and a gold link belt. Yesterday, I spent a lovely time with the FatLady and Lilac Blue doing absolutely nothing. We went to New York Adorned where the FatLady and I got new nosepins; she a ring and me a tiny piece of bling. (I charged that.) Then we went to Brooklyn and had lunch at Junior's. The buffalo wings were "eh" (I'm like on a mission for good buffalo wings) but we had a great time, even though I couldn't eat any of the goodies that Junior's is known for. Wasn't sure if there'd be leavening in the crust. The whole time though, I kept checking my Treo to see if there was any word from TF or Lawyer. There wasn't.

The Professor needed to dump the Diva and TinyOne back with me. They'd managed to worm themselves back into her house for the past few days. While it was peaceful for me, it's not sticking to agenda of the Diva's BootCamp, so I told Professor she needed to pack them up and dump them back over here. She drove us all home. TF called on the Sun's phone and I could see that the Sun was starting to get excited. He came over and asked me quietly "Did he agree yet?"

The Professor was sitting at the table, and I'm not sure what prompted her comment but she said something to the effect that sometimes, the end result is what counts the most. And something clicked.

I called the Sun into the front room, and again I explained to him about his dad not following rules and that I really needed for him to agree to something and stick to it. But I asked him "You really want to see your dad, don't you?" And he said yes. I asked him what he wanted me to do. He said "What you want to do, make him stick to the rules." And I saw in his eyes blind faith. In me. The kind of blind faith and love that would make Abraham take his only son Isaac up into a mountain, prepared to sacrifice him to God. The kind of blind faith that Isaac--a 13 year old boy--would have in his father, so that he would follow his father up the mountain for a sacrifice, knowing damn well they weren't taking a lamb up there with them. I knew that I couldn't let my agenda and my need for rules sacrifice my kid in the process. I asked him "Are you big enough to call your dad and tell him we'll meet him in [the appointed place]?" He said he was. I asked him "Are you big enough to tell your dad that you will be picked up at [the appointed place and time]"? Again, he said yes. But he wavered, and so I said to him "Say it; say what you would tell him." And he looked at me and "I can't. I can't do it mommy, I'm not big enough. You do it."

So I picked up the phone and dialed TF. He thought it was the Sun, but I said, no, it's me. And I told him I didn't want to argue, but that the Sun really wanted to see him and I needed him to agree. We went back and forth a little bit, especially about the pick up time. He said he hadn't seen the Sun in six months. Which is true... but really, it's not my problem since he canceled the last visit. But I didn't say that... I said I understood, but just this once, I needed the Sun home on Sunday night, but that I'd come get him at 10 instead of 9P. He wasn't completely agreeing, but I said "Please... he really wants to see you." I guess maybe he figured then that I was really going to not show up, because he knows I don't call him unless it's important. He knows now, unequivocally, that I don't like him. At least I hope so. Regardless, it was done.

This morning he was there, pacing back and forth in front of Dunkin' Donuts, and he was overjoyed to see his kid. That Fucker. But his kid was glad to see him, too. I packed as much of the stuff that TF had requested as I could... a football, a golf club and unfortunately only one hockey glove cuz TinyOne runs rampant up in this joint and I've no idea where the other one is. I hope they got to karate OK... I'm sure that they they did (I'll check later) and I'm sure TF will be proud as hell to his kid in his orange belt practice Heian Nidan. It's really quite impressive.

What am I doing with the time I have now? No clue... I have a few options though as always the most attractive one is sit in my own home alone, and peacefully. But I haven't decided yet...

4 comments:

Audrey said...

Hey Honey. Just wanted to drop you a line and send my support. I hope you are finding peace in whatever you decided to do today. May this weekend go smoothly and I hope the Sun has a positive experience. Hang in there. Be strong because I know you are.

professor said...

Im very proud of you...it wasn't my words that clicked, its you letting go and becoming water...love ya sis...

Jacqueline said...

wow. i don't know what to say, but i wanted to let you know that I'm here, reading and catching up with you and hoping you manage to enjoy some peace and quiet "Bear Maiden" time.... let us know when he's back, please...

S.K. said...

I have said hi in a while but I wanted to say Stay Strong and Keep the Peace with in yourself. Don't let TF get under your skin and I will keep you in my thoughts.