This year I remembered the antiversary. It weighed heavily on me. Why? Because of outstanding issues that the boys are having with their father. I was conflicted this year because of the feeling of complete contempt and disgust for the person that fathered my children. The desire to go back 22 years ago and shake that young bride and say…listen..get out once you have both of your children…as soon as your youngest is born, send that horrible person packing. He will bring you nothing but financial ruin and a shattering to whatever self-image you have…he will walk all over you…cheat on you…treat you with utter disregard and disrespect…and he will do the same to his children. The one who carries on his name and the one who will spend his entire childhood hoping for his approval, to only be disappointed by the outcome.
You can’t go back in time.
I finally got rid of the gigantic wedding picture I’ve been dragging around the past six years. My father took a skill saw to it…sawed it right down the middle so now on the mantle is a picture of me from that fateful day all those years ago…but he and the frame are where they belong…in the town dump.
Our youngest son turned 18 this summer and right before his birthday he got to the breaking point with his father. He got tired of the bullying and being pushed around by his father’s wants and needs. He stood up for himself, which was incredibly scary for him, told his father that he wasn’t going to see him, even though his father tried to force the issue…and now he hasn’t spoken to him for two months.
What’s interesting is that today I received an email from the father of my children. Per our agreement, I sent him our son’s activities for the coming week. You see this got added on after the court case. That I need to give him 7 days notice of an activity for our son, you know, so he can officially disagree with it. I gave him all of the activities for the year with the costs knowing full well he’d never pay his half for any of them. After all, now wouldn’t be any different from before…but this is how he responded…
“Regarding any and all extracurricular activities, I will not consider agreeing to nor paying for anything until our custody agreement starts to be enforced. I haven’t seen <name> since the 1st weekend in June. Once we get back to a regular weekend schedule, I will then look at each extracurricular activity on a case by case basis.”
I’d fight it, but the fact is he doesn’t actually need a reason to not agree to contribute to the extracurricular expenses. He can simply state he doesn’t agree and not have to pay. That’s why my attorney ended up not having me go after him for the money he refused to contribute for both of our sons’ activities. There was no point.
Here’s the thing…once a child hits a certain age, usually by 13, the court does not force that child to go with a parent. Sure, if they’re little, you can put them into a car, whether they want to go or not, but there comes a certain point where you have to realize that you can’t make them do that anymore. I won’t and physically can’t force my now 18-year-old adult son to get into the car and drive to his father. I couldn’t do that back in June when he was 17, and I certainly can’t do it now. When my son decided to stand up for himself, I consulted with my attorney, to make sure that from a legal perspective, I was protected. I did expect to get served with contempt charges, since the father was reeling from the fact that I had taken him to court, and he had to agree to pay his portion of college for his son, and a small amount for summer camp, and the medical bills he had let go for an entire year without reimbursing me. I figured the timing was horrible for him, but as my attorney told me, if his attorney was worth anything he would have told him he didn’t have a leg to stand on since our son was 17 at the time.
I’m not standing in the way of our custody agreement. If anything, I’ve been the one to make sure that he’s had time with his kids. I agreed to half way when I moved, something I didn’t legally have to do. I made sure there was a car, when our oldest son started driving, so that they could make their way to him without any issue. I pay to insure both of them, even though we had a verbal agreement that we’d each pay for one, but of course, his words mean nothing. Not once has he offered either one of them gas money…and the last time I checked, a 51-year-old man is more than capable of getting in his own car and making some effort to see his kids.
I had to file a contempt charge to get him to pay for his portion of college, and when it came down to it, he actually got away with having to contribute so much less than we both thought. You see, the great state we live in doesn’t care about the fact that my son goes to a private university which costs more than a state school. They only care about the state costs, but they subtract the grants and scholarships that his private school gives him, so in actuality, we’re both only responsible for about $5000 a year. I think that’s total crap…and I’m helping our son because that’s what a parent is supposed to do…and I will help our younger son in the same way when he goes to college next year.
My parents paid for my college and his parents paid for his college. That was how we were both brought up…but he doesn’t feel he should pay for any college. The contempt charge forced that issue on him so he has to pay at least his portion…but lord forbid he do any more than he’s forced to do…for his children.
And that’s why this year I felt the antiversary…because the issues with him loom…the way our sons’ feel…the conversations they both need to have with him…and if I say what I’m thinking and feeling…about what I would change if I could go back in time…it would come out wrong…because I love my sons…I wouldn’t give them up for anything…and I know the mistake of being with and marrying their father gave them to me…but no matter how much time goes by…and how my life and my boys’ lives have improved tremendously…there is still the unwanted connection with him…that disgusted feeling at the pit of my stomach when I know I have to deal with an issue…and we’re almost done…child support ends in June…college and medical expenses are the only things that are left…here’s hoping next year it’s less eventful and not in my mind at all.