Setting the scene: lived as a single mum with 3 children for 8.5 years; children initially saw their father overnight once a week and every other weekend; time spent with him dwindled and now they see him for a maximum of 8 hours a fortnight – no overnight.
Nine days ago it was my youngest’s birthday (P). Thanks to her older sister (L), she didn’t receive a card which was addressed to her sister (L) rather than her (P). Because her father had mixed up the two birthdays (no excuses: one in May, one in July and the youngest’s middle name is May). Even though I believe that he had actually forgotten and it was only the prompt of a photo of a birthday cake which made him realise something was going on.
We rarely communicate any more by the way. Not because I chose it to be that way, but because he stopped replying to my texts and communicates directly with the chidlren.
I give credit to the older sister (L) at this stage because she was the bigger person: she put her sister’s feelings first when I was prepared to let him show himself as the selfish twat that he is. Immensely proud of her.
They have not seen their father for two weeks. He changed the visit day to today (Sunday) when it is normally Saturday, which means that he doesn’t see the youngest because she has gone to a party. No mention, of course, that he could pick her up when she’s finished and spend the rest of the day with her. I suggested to her that he might offer to come and take her out in the week as he hasn’t seen her for two weeks and didn’t see her for her birthday. We both laughed at the suggestion. I must also note here that he was actually away for a short break with his wife when it was the birthday. (The wife deserves at least one other post).
He was due to arrive at 10.30 (a novelty, as I usually drive part of the journey to drop them off), but there is a big show on in the county and he was stuck in traffic and consequently 30 minutes late. Also, 10.30 is half way through the morning – obviously no desire to get up and see the children he hasn’t spent time with for two weeks.
Middle child had spent an hour trying to decide what to wear so that he didn’t make a sarcastic comment about her outfit. Just an example of their relationship.
I’m now waiting to hear that my daughter will be dropped back early so that him and son can go and watch the football. If this happens (it often does), she will have spent about 3.5 hours with him.
Most of the time I deal with all of the bullshit that he brings to the situation, and I’ve learnt to no longer let it get to me. Life is too short. But sometimes, like today, it pisses me off. We have three AMAZING children (yes, we’re all baised when it comes to our children, but they are good kids) and he doesn’t want to spend time with them. He wonders why they don’t want to reply to his messages. He promised the youngest birthday money (both of the other two refer to it as guilt money when they found out how much) but then didn’t deliver for nearly a week because he’d (allegedly) put in the wrong account number.
He is missing out on their life and they are not making happy memories with him. All of the good memories that they make are with me (and yes, they will have some not-so-good memories with me too – we’re not perfect!!). They preferred a week away in a cottage in the middle of a forest in mid-Wales with me and the dogs, to a week away with him in a villa in Spain. How much does that say??
Just to finish. I have never slagged the man off to the children and I have never tried to dissuade them from seeing him. I have always tried to make them see that he loves them and that he wants to spend time with them. But I’m working with less and less proof these days. As they grow into intelligent and observant young adults, they see just what sort of a person he is, and they are starting to feel all of the kind of emotions I felt which lead to me leaving him. I no longer sing his praises (although I probably never went that far!!) but I also no longer try to turn his bullshit into a positive. I tell it like it is, because I don’t want them to grow up thinking that the way he behaves is normal and acceptable.
What have I learnt whilst writing this post? Well, I’ve learnt that I’m a lot calmer now just from typing. That my children grow up knowing who they can depend on and that I will always put them first. And, that those happy memories will continue to grow.