Getting Back Together With Dad, Da-Da-Da
October 17, 2011
My friend Ellen writes an awesome blog called MomoMom. I met Ellen when she was single, pregnant and living in NYC. She Facebooked-friended me (you can too!) and thanked me for writing the Storked! blog on glamour.com and my book Rattled! Of course, I blushed, felt humbled, but then started following her Facebook statuses. She is from Kansas. She is stunning. Was a hardcore Black Swan-type ballerina in training at one time. Held down loving relationships, then like me, while living in downtown NYC, partied, dated—got pregnant and the guy took off. Yep.
She chronicled her adventure like I did, only hers was much more scandalous. Mine is kinda lame. My ex is an athlete, a runner, college-educated, employed, handsome, clean-cut. He called his mom on her birthday in front of me, had kind eyes, worked, held doors open for me. And then as you've read on here, he moved to Indiana, married his ex he had left for an NYC life and they had a baby. But he’s not a bad guy. Bad guys kill people and do crack in my book. He was a confused guy and I contributed to some of that confusion, but he wasn’t into drugs, partying, or a rock ‘n roll lifestyle. When we went to court in 2009, well he was on the phone, he did what the hearing officer said, no questions asked (he really had no options - but I would have been open to them). If he wanted to be in JD’s life, I wouldn’t fear the relationship—then, now, later. The guy is a dad. He’s likely a good dad. Ellen’s ex is the COMPLETE opposite, smh.
Like me, Ellen did the pregnancy thing alone in NYC. She labored with her sister at her side. She raised her daughter solo for two years. She’s been to hell and back in court fighting for custody against the ex that left her. Ex didn’t make things easy. At first he didn’t pay child support on time or at all. He put his dating life online—which was hurtful to Ellen who was raising their daughter all alone while working full-time and paying all of the bills with no immediate family support close by. He was awarded supervised visitation and Ellen sat in a dingy waiting room in a city building while her daughter visited with "Dad," a guy she didn't even know. But, hey, guy was making an effort. Pretty cool, actually. It's something. A start. A muted silver line. I see it, I really do. It was someone trying to right his wrong.
I would read Ellen’s blog and actually feel lucky I didn’t have to deal with this BS. My ex was 4 states away with his family, but he also wasn’t screwing with me or my son. The situation is bittersweet. I guess I prefer nothing to BS and stress. I would prefer a happy medium where “Dad” honored his court-granted visitation, but for now, I’m just moving along. It's all I can do.
After hearing/reading all of this, you might be shocked by what I’m about to blog next. Ellen and her ex have rekindled. Yes. They live together. He pays above the child support amount + bills. He takes his daughter for walks in the morning and he sips his coffee, while she twirls around him like a tiny dancer. Ellen and her ex are raising the baby, their baby together. (Shy readers don't click: They're getting to know each other again. It's butterflies in stomach, can't eat/sleep time. ) After nearly two years of tears and crap, Ellen wrote poignantly in her blog of a recent therapy session:
“As we took turns talking on the worn love seat in the home office of a shrink, all of the openness, humility and forgiveness I expected to pour out of me, (along with bursts of light and butterflies), instead felt more like hope dripping from a leaky faucet right down the drain. About twenty minutes in I felt my heart begin to race as my chest sunk, my hands clinching my leg.”
There was a time when Ellen and I exchanged smack mail about this guy. Now, we exchange better stories about her daughter's Dad and my notes to her always end with: “It’s happening. I’m rooting for your family.”
What does this mean for me? A lot, really. People can change. Their feelings can change. JD’s dad and I will never be together. He was working on his relationship with his ex while I was pregnant, climbing over dirty mounds of snow in NYC and relieving my morning sickness in subway dumpsters. They were engaged before JD turned one, when we were living in a one bedroom apt in NJ and got married the day before JD turned two. We’ll never have our epiphany moment or pay a therapist money to tell us we liked each other a lot, but freaked out because we got pregnant too early into a relationship. But I don't need to pay someone $200 for that info. He ran, I had to stay. I didn't even have anyone to run to.
We, JD's parents, the people that held hands in his coat pocket on Fall days in NYC, drank wine, talked all night, made some plans about a trip to Mexico can't be fixed. Maybe one day JD and his dad will be fixed—but I don't even think they are broken. I'm all for it. People change. I'm happy, sad, overwhelmed, inspired, mystified by Ellen's turn of events...It's all happening, Ellen. I'm rooting for your family.
Discuss! Read Ellen's blog.