I am the father of a wonderful 7 yr. old son. When we walk down the street people say “that’s your mini you” or No DNA test needed. He is a mini me, in a lot of his mannerisms, the way he sucks on his bottom lip, to the arch in his left eyebrow even the same blood type. I know he likes The Ninja Turtles, and a lot of normal kids’ stuff, but when he said the he likes Dr. Who, that took me for a loop!
But do I really know him?
When we are together, we talk about what’s going on at school, what he has done since the last time we were together. What has he learned? How his friends are and are there any new ones? When I ask him about home, the answers are very short and quick. He does not dwell on that subject long. While we sit and watch TV in the evening, he uses me as a “daddy pillow” he’ will grab my arm and put it around him and hold it. When its bed time and I put him in his bed and then I go to mine, he’ll go “why are you sleeping over there?” Some mornings when I wake up there is a body or a head on my chest. That puts a smile on my face.
But do I really know him?
I try to get him to open up, let me know what’s on his mind. But he is confused; see he keeps getting a lot of miss information about me. He is being told that “I’m a bad person” I don’t have any friends” I don’t pay child support”. “I’m a loudmouth and don’t care about anyone but himself” but the biggest one is “your daddy left us because he is a mean person”. He is told that a lot. And I can see the confusion. One day we were having a conversation and this is what he told me.
SON: Daddy, I get sad in school a lot.
ME: Why? Tell me what’s going on?
SON: Mommy and Nanna talk bad about you
ME: Tell me one thing that they tell you?
SON: That you are a ugly and mean person and that you are the cause of all this
ME: Now what do you think about that?
SON: I know it’s not true but they keep saying it all the time, and when I think about it, I get sad”
I was arrested at his school on his first day of kindergarten a couple of years ago. Yes he witnessed me getting frisked and the cuffs being put on. When I was released, and we got together, he would not let me go, I could not go to the store to the bathroom without him clinging on to me. His reasoning was “he did not want to let go because I might get arrested again.
There was a time before he was 1 I did not see my son for about 7 months, not of my doing. When we did get together afterwards, I got the biggest smile. Whatever discussion or person I was supposed to be listening to was gone out of my head. I was focused on him and that smile. Whenever I’m down or really mad, I think back to that smile, and I’m calm again. Lately when we are together he has drawings about what we do when we are together, my cubicle is lined up. Yes we get along, we have fun, and yes there are the times that he get mad at me because I’m being a father and not his buddy.
So why would I say my son is a stranger to me? I only spend 4 days a month with my son. I have shared legal custody. Yet the courts say that I am only a father 4 days a month. I pay $600 a month in child support, yet I’m called a dead beat dad because I asked for a reduction. I pay $196 dollars in medical insurance a month, yet I don’t even get a doctor’s report on him, yet my son tells me “you don’t care if I get sick” I let the school know that I have shared legal custody, yet when I ask for information or a conference I’m told “we gave all that information to his mother”
It is really disheartening to have some say “yes you are the father, but we don’t recognize you as your son’s father”.
So if my son is a stranger to me, I can only imagine what I am to him.