Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Sow's Ear

I'm glad Father's Day is behind us for another year. It's a hard holiday for both me and my daughter.

She worked hard on making her father a 5 page card, all her own idea, complete with table of contents. All I did was help her staple it together, and mail it for her. After a few days, she asked me if he'd received it yet. So I sent him a short email, and he answered that he had. I heard nothing more from him. The way I see it, this was an opportunity - if he wished - to ask whether we were going to be around on Sunday so that he could talk to her. He didn't. Knowing him as well as I do, I believe that in his narcissistic little mind, he expected a call from her.

From the time she was a year old, he's only visited twice. Some time ago, we arranged for him to talk to her once a week on the webcam. This has worked out pretty well, I think, considering. Sunday is not his day. He has completely failed at respecting my time or my schedule in his requests for access to her, and I've had to change the night of the week once or twice, but for the most part, all the accomodation is on my part.

Sunday night at 7 o'clock my phone rang. She was upstairs. I let it ring to voicemail.

My daughter is pretty upfront about telling me what she wants and who she likes. She asks me about the people she cares about, and she has asked me to call her grandma (my mother) several times. She didn't ask about her father, and I am really over trying to help him make their relationship anything other than what it is. She's old enough now to have an opinion, and he's theoretically capable of making his desires known. When he visited in February he really pissed me off, completely disrespecting me and arguing in front of her, and the following month for her birthday he sent a pile of cheap crap after being explicitly asked not to. I decided I am through trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Tonight is webcam night. I suffered through Buster’s stilted verbal stumbling, trying to assist M with the computer while staying out of their call and tuning out their conversation (as much as one can with a six year old who expects me to be on top of everything and anticipate her questions).

His parents got on tonight and took up most of the time. They are actually pretty lovely to me these days, a 180 from when M was born and they bought the story Buster told them about me. Now that they see how I share her and make her accessible and that she’s so obviously thriving and wants to talk to them, they are much nicer to me than he is. So when they get on the call I do, too, when invited. They travel to Europe a lot and just sent M another present from Germany. Tonight’s call was a lot more pleasant than usual as a result.

I try really hard not to be petty or at least not to let my deep resentment of him affect my daughter adversely. I do try.

I know, too, that my attitude is not helped by my relationship with my own father. I called him on Father’s Day, and he couldn’t get off the phone fast enough. He was apparently pleased that I called, though.

He never calls me. Ever. Unless someone has just died or been rushed to the ER, or something similarly life altering. Otherwise, it is radio silence. He used to write me notes and letters, but not for years.

I don’t have any male relatives that I ever had a close or healthy relationship with. It always made me feel such a loss. I wondered when I was a kid why my family was so different and why some people just don’t get the goodies that other people get in life and take so for granted.

I make a deliberate effort to get my daughter around the nice male friends that I have as much as I can, so at least she can know that such a creature exists. The other day I was talking to such a man about this, though, and we started laughing because we realized that it sounded like taking a kid to the zoo to see the exotic animals. “Look, honey! A nice man!”

*sigh* Sometimes in my dark moments I fear for what would happen to my precious daughter if something happened to me. Having lost the only anchor I had myself at the age of seven, it is a real and persistent fear of mine, one of my worst nightmares. But I push it down to the depths from which it comes, and carry on with my Master Plan: the belief that maybe I’ve been through enough and the Universe is satisfied, and that my daughter will be spared the hell I went through and get to have a normal life. Whatever that is.


  1. It sounds like you are doing a great job with M to me. You certainly face a lot of challenges in having to deal with your ex. It seems the least he could have done was to call her to thank her for the card she made for him.

  2. What's that quote from the movie "Parenthood?" It's something like, "You have to have a license to drive a car, hell, you even have to have a license to catch a fish. But any butt-weeming asshole can be a father."

    You are obviously giving your daughter the best of you. She might not understand it now, but someday she will realize what you have given her and will honor and respect all you have done. And maybe it should be known (for some) as "Sperm Donor's day." Next year you can send him some lotion and a box of Kleenex.

  3. What a shame. He's missing out. Honestly, though, he doesn't deserve M. Kids are a gift. He's too selfish to see it now, but someday he will, and it will be far too late to make up for it. He's losing M with each passing day, and that's just sad.

    You are both mom and dad to her, and, while it's not the ideal situation, it is enough. Thank goodness M has you. It says a lot about you that you want the best for her and make her available even when it's hard. Too bad her "father" doesn't have the same character.

  4. You're doing an awesome job with M, and for M. I'm sorry that things are the way they are, but she has you, and that's far, FAR better than Buster. He's an idiot.
    Hugs to you!

  5. Joan- you are so much to that little girl- and doing a stellar job at it too!!! Buster is small and petty and stupid and...well I don't have enough words.
    But trust me when I say that even when it sucks ass, giving kids access is just about the best you can do. Even when you want to murder Buster, and even when he doesn't come close to deserving it, it will all sort itself out later on and he'll be seen for what he is.
    M's too smart to be fooled by that kind of idiot.
    She's her mama's girl, after all :)

  6. You are a wonderful mother, friend, and person. Your daughter is lucky to have you and will learn to be all of those things from you. The fact that her father is an idiot will occur to her someday, at which point she'll thank her lucky stars that at least she had a logical, kind, and thoughtful mother who rose above his idiocy to let her have a relationship with him.

    Try not to fret about the future. Those dark thoughts don't deserve your time or attention. Remember, most of the things we worry about never even happen! Enjoy your beautiful daughter, keep doing right by her, and it will all be okay.

    much love!