Time to Grow the F*@! Up

Well, Carl, I think it’s time to grow the fuck up now, don’t you agree?
My stomach dropped when I saw that he was calling me shortly before lunchtime today.  We don’t care to hear each others’ voices and calls are made only out of dire necessity.
“Hello?””Long story short, they’re taking me to the County Holding Center for a traffic violation.  Do you have a credit card with $250 available for bail?”
“No, I don’t, I’m sorry.”
“OK, thanks, bye.”
And so several hours of confusion, anger, and a host of other emotions began.
Did I make the right decision not to bail him out?  He was crying as he said that last line, I could hear the fear in his voice.  I allowed my children’s father to go to jail.  What kind of a person am I?
I wrestled with these questions as I left my desk to go for a walk.  I talked it out with my brother, texted back and forth with a few other people.  My brother’s reactions and methodology for sorting it out was the most logical, as it often is.  What is the underlying emotion you’re feeling? Is it anger, pity, sadness?  It’s all of those, and more.
I’m angry at him for giving me all these experiences I don’t want to have, for putting me in a position to make choices I don’t want to make, for creating things that eventually will have to be explained to our children, for not stepping up and being responsible for himself over the last 19 months.
I’m sad that he seems to not be able to take care of himself, that he doesn’t seem to have learned anything about life.  I’m sad that he still relies on me, but I don’t feel any responsibility for him anymore.
I feel some pity, some empathy, for the same reasons that I’m sad. – that he can’t seem to grow up and take care of himself, that it’s gotten this far.  But at the same time, he made his bed, now he can lie in it.  I don’t need to hide his dirty laundry any more.
Over the course of a few hours, I did come to realize that it’s not my fault that he went to jail.  I didn’t prevent it from happening, but it was his actions that caused it.  He has missed at least four court dates for a simple traffic ticket.  What was minor exploded into something huge because of his inaction.  There has to come a point where you grow up and figure things out.  You can’t make it to court because you don’t have a ride, you need to call up the judge and explain yourself and at least make an effort to do something.  He spent time in a jail cell several weeks ago when he got arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear on this same charge, as far as I know – that didn’t teach him anything?
I tried for almost 20 years to teach him how to take care of himself.  I did things for him, made sure things were taken care of.  Did he learn nothing from any of that?  Apparently not.  You would think he would have had to grow up quickly when he left me – he did make the decision to leave, after all.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink….
You can take care of a man, but you can’t make him think…
He’s out now, as of a couple hours ago.  I don’t know who paid his bail, though it was suggested that several people may have contributed to it.  Last I heard, he was trying to find a ride home from the Holding Center 30 miles away from his home.
I don’t know what happens next for him.  I saw his mug shot and the charge against him, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.  Now he has a bona fide record, one that will follow him for who knows how long, affecting his ability to get a job, a drivers license perhaps, and who knows what else.
I give up.  I grew up years and years ago, when I started taking care of him at the age of 17.  More so when I married him at 21, thinking that it was all temporary and he would mature and figure things out and I would help him learn the ways of the world.  Then 6 years later when we had a baby, and another one 5 years after that.  He’ll come around, it’s just a temporary rough patch, he has bad luck and things will change.
No.  It’s all him.  It’s time for him to grow the fuck up.

Justified Anger

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Correction, hell hath no fury like a mama whose baby you’ve upset.
Yesterday was Blondie’s birthday.  The two of them saw their father the day before, and he told her when they were leaving that he would Skype her the next night to wish her happy birthday.
Her official birthday is at 7:12pm and this is very serious business to her.  She desperately wanted to be on Skype with him right then.  So she Skyped.  And then tried again.  Then begged me to call on my phone.  No answer.  Another try on Skype; two more phone calls and one voicemail message left.  I sent a Facebook message.  I think we covered all the bases.
7:14pm came and she sank down on the floor, slumped, and said in a baby voice “daddy missed my birthday”.
If that doesn’t break your heart, you don’t have one.
At least I was there to hug her and kiss her hair and tell her that I was sorry her dad didn’t answer.  Because I really was.
Sorry that her father is an asshole.
Sorry that a kid who’s 9 years and 2 minutes old had to have such a harsh reality check.
Sorry because I know that’s probably not the last disappointment she’ll experience from him.
Sorry because I know he’ll probably call her up today and feed her some half-assed excuse, and she’ll believe it because she wants to, like I did for years.
Am I’m pissed.  He couldn’t take 2 minutes out of his day, no matter how busy it may or may not have been, to wish his oldest child a happy birthday.  His family didn’t bother to send a card or even a text either. (Although his grandparents sent the girls combined gifts a month or so ago.)  All of this has hurt my child’s feelings.  It has caused her disappointment that she shouldn’t have to endure, not at the tender age of 9.  And I hate him for it.
I could scream at him; send pages and pages of words expressing my feelings.  But I know that it wouldn’t do any good and may, in fact, be counterproductive.  He twists everything I say, so I’m sure it would turn into me keeping her from him on this, the day he became a father.  Or me being selfish and using the kids to hurt him.  That’s what this type of thing always turns into.
So it will be silence.
I’ve largely stopped writing here, and thought about taking it all down, because writing about him allows him to affect my life.  It gives him more attention than is necessary.  The last few weeks have been quiet on that front; he was preoccupied with his spawn.  Then he came back with a vengeance, bold and ready to fight.  I engaged, briefly, though silence would have been better.  He knows how to push my buttons and get a response so that he can keep going and going and going and going.  I’m strong enough this time, or maybe pissed off enough, to be silent with him about this.  He of all people should know that yelling is good, it means I care; but silence on my part is very, very bad.
Carl, if by some chance you happen to read this, fuck you.  You are an asshole for the way you treated your child yesterday.  Fuck you.