Thursday, January 31, 2008

ARRRGGGHHH!

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.

5 comments:

R.E.H. said...

I'm sorry to hear that. I sure hope her dad comes around and learns to appreciate what his daughter does.

I was a forgotten child for many years, but when my father came around and wanted me in his life again, I embraced that. I never stopped loving him despite it all.

Your daughter deserves that too. The love of a father.

She does have your love, though. That means the world to her, I'm sure.

Driving With the Brakes On said...

How truly unfortunate that he does not see what a wonderful young woman your daughter is growing-up to be - I hope he realizes it sooner, rather than later, and doesn't risk being cut out of her life. And how truly fortunate that your daughter has such a wonderul, thoughtful, caring mother - I meant to tell you that during the holidays when you spent time in a hotel so you could be close to her when she needed you . . . the love of a mother simply amazes me.

The Mama Bear said...

The man should be drawn and quartered for being so heartless to her, because in the end he will lose her, and she will grow and blossom even more....and you, you played a very important part in that.
I feel for her too, no one needs to know that pain, having the issues I had with my parents hurt and sadly it remains with you forever, but we can overcome and be the better people.
I have faith she will do that, and he...will burn bridges that once gone are very hard to rebuild.

Mama Bear Hugs and Congrats to her on the championship - WTG Team!

holly said...

you are an awesome mom. your daughter will thrive on your love.

he's going to be a very bitter lonely old man.

Blogget Jones said...

r.e.h.: I's so sorry you went through that with your father! I'm glad you've been able to reconcile, though. I'm sure my ex loves my daughter, but not in an unselfish way. It's ironic that he complains about having his own father's love only on his terms, and now he's doing the same thing to his own child. And you're right -- she and I are very close, and she relies on me quite a lot.

Driving: Thank you!! Part of what he doesn't get about parenthood is that it's just not about him -- it's about his child. He can't seem to let go of himself long enough to embrace that, though. I, too, hope he sees her for who she is before it's too late.

Mama Bear: Thanks so much, Mama Bear! I'm sorry you've known that hurt, but am so glad you've overcome! She will, too, and I'm hoping the rejection she feels doesn't negatively impact her relationships in the future.

Holly: That's sweet of you to say about me! and true of him. That still pains me, though, even though he's become someone I don't recognize, I'm sad for the man I once knew.

Thank you all for being so supportive!

:o) BJ