Long Distance Part Time “Dad”

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Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a lose-lose situation with my ex-husband.  It’s so incredibly frustrating it literally enrages me, no matter which choice I make, I lose, I look like the bad guy in the end.  It all comes down to protecting my daughter, and either way she ends up getting hurt.

I can’t say “I wish I never met him” because then I wouldn’t have that spunky mini-me in my life.  I’ll never regret her, but christ, couldn’t this shit be a little easier?  Parenting in and of itself is rewarding, even when the little one decided that she likes Asparagus as her favorite food and still will not try a freaking cheeseburger off the grill.  There are tons of little battles in parenting, and it’s become easier as she has gotten older to realize that “this too shall pass” and we’ll be back to normal.

I can however wish that he would get some sense in his head and stop.  Or drive his truck off a bridge, whatever is easiest.  His bullheaded, “parent-when-I-want” is hurting my daughter, and it doesn’t seem like there is a good option for me to prevent it.  That is by far the worst part, is that I don’t have too much control over it.

So it’s been 2 months since we got a phone call from the bio-dad.  The calls before that usually had a couple of weeks between them.  Noodle has pretty much stop caring, to be completely honest.  She rarely gets upset now, and usually it’s only when he calls.  Usually after he calls she asks a couple of questions, now that shes a little bit older (and has some friends who have scum-bags in the place of Dads) she’s understanding a bit more so I can stop lying to her.

“Why did he move?” – Because he wanted to, he thought he had work and wanted to move in with his girlfriend.

“Why did he lie?” – Because he thought it was the best thing to do at the time.  Not everyone tells the truth honey, especially if the truth makes them look bad. (Regarding coming back and calling all the time.)

“Is he coming back to visit?” – I don’t know honey, I don’t think so, Daddy has to get his life straightened out. (This was regarding both him “only going to Colorado for a couple of weeks”, and then again coming to visit.)

“I don’t want to talk on the phone” – Are you sure? If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

Then around mothers day, Noodle and I were looking at cards to get for my step-ma.  She was telling me about the cards and presents she made for me at school (because the child doesn’t know the meaning of surprise apparently, haha).  Then she pops out with this?

“When’s Father’s Day?  I want to buy Ryan a present.  Can we pick out a card?”

I was sitting on my heels reading cards and I about fell over.

-Sure baby, if you want to we can get him a card, and one for grandpa.

“Okay, I wanna pick out a good present! [Insert rambling of stupid shit she wants to buy Ryan lol]”

-Anyone else you want to buy a Father’s Day card for?

“Nope! Just Ryan!”

It was cute.  I almost cried, and I didn’t push it.  That was just the beginning of that.  Since then we’ve had a couple of conversations about Dads.

When Ryan and I first started dating, it was right after Tim moved.  Noodle had called Ryan Dad right away, and we sat down with her and talked about it.  Ry had told her that while he wasn’t her Dad, that he could definitely do Dad stuff with her, and that he’ll be there for her anyway.  She accepted that and they’ve been buddies ever since.

The “Dad Talks” have happened a few times lately, and usually they’re out of nowhere.  The one that stuck in my mind (and completely blew me away coming from a child) was “What’s a Dad?” Conversation.

It started by talking about the stuff her and Ryan had done over the course of the weekend.  They have several activities that I have dubbed “Ryan Noodle Time”, mostly stuff that he enjoys doing with her, whereas I prefer to do by myself.  So they had cooked, gardened, and played all day, and she had apparently decided that that was “Daddy stuff” and asked me why Ry did Daddy stuff with her when he wasn’t her real Dad.

I started really slow.  I explained to her that Ryan loves her just like Mommy does, that Ryan likes doing stuff with her, just like how Dads do.  I asked her if she knew how long Ryan had been in our lives, I got “2 summers” as the answer.  I explained that two years is more than enough time to love someone.  I asked her if she liked him, if she said good night and I love you every night before bedtime, and I asked her if she liked when he fixes her owwies.  She nodded, and I asked her if she was happy doing so called “Daddy Stuff” with Ryan and she laughed and “Duuuuuuuh”.

So I asked her what she thought a Dad was, what she thought mattered most.  I got a bunch of answers ranging from spending time together to buying ice cream (too funnny) and I told her that it doesn’t matter sometimes who you’re related to.  I told her that it matters who is there for you and who loves you.  I talked about her Grandma, and how even though Grandma isn’t my real mom, I still love her all the same.  I talked about my (step) Grandpa, and told her how I still did Grandpa stuff with him even though we weren’t blood-related, how he raised my mom and did Daddy Stuff with her even though he wasn’t her real Dad.  I reminded her of her aunts and uncles, who are reality not blood-related, and how they all love her and spend time with her even though they aren’t my real sisters and brothers.

“So even though Ryan’s not my real daddy, he can be like my Daddy?”  -Yes babe, sometimes you get to make your own family out of the people you love, and that’s what matters.

She went to bed smiling that night.

So we haven’t heard from her Bio-Dad in about 2 months.  He just fell off the face of the planet, which is cool with me.  Noodle hasn’t asked about him and has been fine, and I was glad to not have to deal with it as mean as that is.  Her birthday came around and she got a gift from my ex-mother-in-law (wonderful lady) and the day before we got a package from him too.  My temper flared sooo bad I considered “Return-To-Sender” and I about threw it away after reading the card.

He had wrote in it some sob story about not having a phone for 2 months, and *that’s* why he didn’t call.  His phone has been off.  He promised to tell me as soon as he had one again.

Deep Breath. 

That is the biggest bullshit excuse I have ever heard.  I’m sorry, if I didn’t have the phone, I think it would take all of 3 days to find one.  Ask a neighbor, give them a few bucks for the bill, use any of the free apps for phone calls via internet.  Payphones.  Work phones.  SOMETHING.  Send an email, letter, tell your mother to call or write.  Having your phone shut off of 2 months is NOT an excuse for not talking to your kids.

Deep Breath

When he decided to resurface after a year and a half of no contact, I told him it was his last chance.  He had destroyed my daughter’s heart and its taken her a long time to get back to normal.  He wasn’t the one who had to listen to her cry at night because she missed him for the first couple of months.  I told him it was his last chance, that I’d give him one more chance to do things right and that was it.  The only reason I was giving him that chance is so that when Nood grows up and looks back, she’ll know that I didn’t keep him away, even though he did horrible things during our marriage and then abandoned her when she was little, I still gave him the opportunity to fix it.

I gave him a break with child support.  When he dropped off the face of the planet, I didn’t file.  I figured, good, if he wants to stay gone, I don’t need his money.  I’m completely content with Noodle growing up and finding out that her dad couldn’t even contribute financially.  When he popped back up, I asked him if since he was going to be around if he was going to pay his support, he said he needed time, I gave it to him.  Since our divorce, I have paid for *every-single-fucking-thing*, weekly tuition for daycare and school, clothes, food, toys, doctors, and now school supplies and registration.  So 6 months after him popping back up… still nothing.

I gave him a break when he started calling every 3-4 weeks.  I told him he needed to call more, and left it at that.  When he stopped calling, I didn’t harass him, I let him be.  I let him make his own choices, and focused on making my family stronger.  I figured if he wanted to be gone, fine, as long as he stayed gone and stopped hurting my daughter, that was fine.  It’s way better than having a long-distance dad who calls when he feels like it.  I figured, I didn’t need child support anyway, if he’s not there, no big deal.

Deep Breath

I’m tired of playing games.  We have a stable loving family, with everything Noodle could want and or need (besides *another* ice cream from the ice cream truck).  I’m tired of Tim deciding that he wants to be a Dad every couple of months and calling and turning Noodle’s happiness upside down.  She’s a well-adjusted, happy child until her Dad calls… and I’m tired of it.  If you’re not going to call for 2 months, 6 months or a year and a half, just stay gone and stop hurting her.  She has a Dad as far as we’re concerned, one who has raised her since her bio-dad ran away.  We don’t need a part-time-long-distance “dad” too.

So I’m not giving an inch anymore.  I am following my court documents, and sticking to my guns.  If he wants to run away then fine, go away and stop coming back.  If he wants to play this pop-up game, then fine, he’s going to follow the rules.  The next time I hear from him, I’m turning all of his info into child support enforcement (thank god I saved his ssn, DL#, addy and birthdate.  Hell, I even have a recent picture of him.)  I’m tired.  If we have to deal with him disrupting Noodle’s happiness, he’s going to pay his fair share and he’s going to follow the rules.

 

As sad as it is, I just want him to stop screwing with Noodle’s head and stay gone this time.

 

 

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