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saturday 06.03.2000
for my children

tomorrow the ex will bring over a gallon of milk for breakfast. he may mention at the store that this is for his ex, although it really isn't, and he'll get astonished looks (i think he likes the attention). he's trying to change his day off from monday to tuesday because we don't have a vehicle at the moment and have to pay our rent that day. ok, so that one is something to get a raised eyebrow. but, in the end, this is not for his ex (me), it's for our kids.

when we divorced we had the distinct displeasure of watching adults act worse than toddlers. the morning of our hearing was spent in a room with a bunch of other divorced or soon to be divorced parents in front of a judge. Most were there because of squabbles they were having and were putting their kids in the middle of. he didn't pay child support so she wouldn't let them talk to him on the phone so he with held more child support so she "forgets" its his weekend to visit so he goes to the school the next friday to pick them up and doesn't bring them back for a week so she tries to have him arrested, and one and on and on. and stuck in the middle are the kids they claimed to be trying to look out for.

i am a child of divorce. twice. my mother solved our problem in her own way the first time. when she left my father she flew all the way to california. weekend visitations to puerto rico were not even in the remotest of possibilities. it didn't take long for my father to just disappear. no child support, no rare visits, no toys sent. he just dropped off the face of the earth. i don't remember anything and all the pictures of us are from before i was 3. my stepfather was harder. he was given the right to see us every summer. so she decided to poison our minds and "remind" us what a rotten person he was and of all the "cruel" things he had done. needless to say, my relationship with him ended up being damaged. to this day, even though i have attempted to make contact, he wants nothing to do with me.

the parents in that room were not looking out for their kids. they were looking out for themselves and trying to punish the other parent. the problem is, the kids get caught in the middle. they are the ones who end up hurt, without emotional or physical needs being met, with valuable relationships broken, without role models, and with scars they will bear the rest of their lives. mothers take their children into poverty more often than not. that child support that's not aid is groceries for the week, shoes, school supplies. that weekend with the other parent isn't just the right of the parent, but the right of the child too. some day they may have a stepparent in their lives, but that person can never be their parent. all children need both parents. and they need them to love their kids enough to at least tolerate one another and to work together in raising the children they worked together to create.

so my ex and i will continue to get along. i want my children, especially my girls, to know their father. i don't ever want them to look out their window one day and ask themselves, "why didn't he love me enough to keep in touch? where is he? would he be proud of me?"

the pain of not knowing your father cannot ever be fully explained or understood unless you have experienced it. but it is a pain that i will fiercely protect my girls from ever feeling in their lives. i may not do anything else right as a parent, but this one thing i will do: give them their father.

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Since July 9, 2000

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