Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Sweet and Innocent Heartache of a Boy

Friday night, as Zachary and I were hanging out together and watching a movie, he says to me “Mom, do you WANT a husband?” I looked at him and asked him “what makes you wonder about that?” His response was “well, I just wish I had a dad who acted like a dad. I want a dad who trusts me.”

Zachary and his dad have had pretty consistent (but minimal) contact until last March. For years, Zachary protested going to his dad’s, and I encouraged him and reminded him that time with his father and siblings is important. The conflict between Z’s dad and me usually stemmed from me wanting him to be more involved in Z’s life, take a more active role, and at least spend some quality time interacting with him when he is there. For the longest time, it was basically one 8-hour period twice a month that they saw each other. And there are many other children in the mix during that time, so individual attention doesn’t really happen. Communicating with Z’s dad about Z’s feelings, experiences, etc., more often than not, was met with defensiveness. And for this past year or so, resulted in emails to me calling me crazy, a nut case, telling me sarcastically what a stellar job I was doing parenting Zachary. The anger that his dad has towards me seemed to overshadow any real concern/regard for what is best for Zachary and how to accomplish that (not fight with me).

So, when there was a significant issue this past March that resulted in an email attack on me, I said enough is enough. I let Z’s dad know that if Zachary wanted to see him, talk to him, I would wholly support that. But if Zachary chose not to go for parenting time, I would no longer force him to go. For a few more weeks, the drama continued when his dad would email me and ask if Z wanted to come that weekend. The first time I was asked to ask Z, I did. And Z was adamant that he didn’t want to go and would not be changing his mind. The second time the email request came to me, I told his dad that he really needed to call his son and talk to him directly about it. That, of course, resulted in another mud-slinging fest. He did call Zachary twice after that, and they had a short conversation.

That was back in April. Zachary has heard nothing from his dad since then. I’ve asked him if he wants to call his dad, talk to him, see him, that he can do that at any time. He’s really, really adamant that he doesn’t want that. He does say he misses his sister, and I told him that he could see her, talk to her at dad's…of course I’ve also told him he can have contact her regardless of that. He said it wasn’t worth going to his dad’s just to see her because he didn’t want to see anyone else. Ouch.

So, back to Friday night and Zachary asking if I want a husband makes all of this come back to me. I feel like a failure at relationships, and while that’s hard enough on me, it’s even harder on this little boy that I love dearly. He deserves to have a dad who acts like a dad. Who doesn't call him a liar. I know if it were my child who basically said he didn’t want to see me? I’d be telling myself “wow, I need to do something to make this better…I want to have a relationship with my son…how do I fix this?” And I’d make an effort. That isn’t happening and there isn’t really a damn thing I can do about it that I haven’t tried doing for the past 10 years already.

Do I find someone to be with, who is good to me, good to Zachary, just so that he has what he needs? Even if it means that I don’t have passion for the person? That I love him but am not in love with him? I don’t know…I really just don’t know…I know that my heart tells me never to settle…but is that selfish of me?

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