I've mentioned before that my ex has trouble showing interest in the things that interest our daughter. His excuse is that he doesn't have a creative mind, so he can't relate to what interests this highly creative child. And I might be a proud Mommy, but she's spectacular in her interests. She is a musician, an artist, a writer (fiction and poetry), and a dancer. She sees her dad be there for all the football and baseball her brother and step-brother dish out. I see it hurt her. I've tried to talk to him about it, but all we get are excuses. It doesn't get better. It's sad for me to see how she has resigned herself to being in the shadow of their interests, as she sees it.
I believe she thought that playing basketball would be different. Her dad is interested in sports, so she picked a sport she might like. She has loved it. Of the three teams in her grade at her school, her team was the only one to go all the way and win the tournament. She played her heart out! You've hardly seen a prouder child when that final buzzer went off! Such a smile! I watched her jump around and celebrate with her friends and teammates, and couldn't help but jump around and holler myself!
I took a picture of the scoreboard with my camera phone and sent it to her dad's phone, with a message that they'd just won the championship. I was sure he'd be excited about that and call her immediately.
Several minutes went by. No call. No text. Maybe he hadn't gotten it yet.
We decided to go out to lunch to celebrate. The child was starving! Two games in one morning had been exhausting, but she was running on adrenaline!
We've ordered. I've had time to argue with my son about why he isn't going to hang out with an 18-year-old senior girl at the mall. No messages for my daughter yet....
"Sweetie, why don't you call your dad and tell him the news?"
"Didn't you send him a text," she asks. I see it in her face. She's been waiting for the response.
"Yes, but maybe he didn't get it," I said.
Her look brightens a little. "That's true," she says, taking my phone. "I'll call him."
She dials, and he answers. "Hi Daddy!" she's so excited! "Guess what?" She listens. Her smile fades. "Oh. You got the text?" A pause. Her smile is gone. "Oh. Ok." She tells him a little about the game, but her voice is lower. She glances at me and I stop watching her. Soon, she closes the phone. She just sits there, staring.
"I'll bet he's proud of you," I said.
She nodded. "Yeah, he is," she said. "He said he got the text but just didn't answer it." She's looking down.
"Maybe he was just busy," I said. I hate seeing her hurt like this. She isn't one who hides her feelings well. He was too busy for my news. She's thinking. She's feeling the rejection and the shadow again. My heart is breaking for her. "You really did a great job today," I add. "You should be really proud. You've accomplished a lot this season."
She smiled at that, and her lunch came. She ate quietly. Conversation moved around the table. She sat in the middle, quiet. Finally, she looked up at me.
"Do I have to go see my dad when I'm in college?"
My mother responded quickly. "When you're 18, dear, the law considers you an adult and you can decide what you want to do. It'll be up to you then."
My daughter chewed thoughtfully. "Okay," she said. "That's good." And she returned to her lunch.
The man is burning bridges with her, the most serious ones in his life. Her heart is broken, and I see her thinking of ways to protect herself from it in the future. Technically, she has a say in whether she wants to see him now, but she'd have to tell a judge that. I haven't explained that to her, but I can see her trying to find ways to spend less time at his house. I mean, from her perspective, it's one big wound for her. There's a stepmom who says things about and to my daughter that are harmful, then lies and says she wouldn't do such a thing. My daughter knows that her dad always listens to his wife and considers her more than his own children. Her interests are of little to no interest to them. From her viewpoint, she's swept under the rug and devalued....but that's what she has to put up with in order to have what little time she can get with her dad. It hurts me to see her in such a dilemma.
She wants to see her dad, but there's a price. And it's never what she hopes it will be. I can understand why she wants to put an end to being let down. for me, it's frustrating and heartbreaking. I never thought he'd be this person, especially to his own kids. Why can't he just get it? Why can't he appreciate her for the wonder that she is, and love her with all his might? My heart aches to see her so disappointed, so often.
She has blossomed here, in Colorado. She's come into her own and she's become the most lovely, spectacular young woman. I have a feeling that his problem might have something to do with the fact that he doesn't want any good news from this move of ours. He wants to see me fail. He wants me to crash and burn here, and for the whole thing to be a mistake that I have to admit to. But it's not happening that way, especially for her. So, he's letting it get in the way of celebrating her triumphs. He's holding onto his own feelings, and shutting hers out. If only he'd see the damage he's doing, and put a stop to hurting her.
Whatever happens must be her own decision -- I will not try to influence her either way, but I will support her in what she wants. That's my exterior. My interior is very sad for her, and very disappointed and frustrated with him.
12 hours ago