I am beyond hurt that after four years of being amicably apart, the last two years spent amicably divorced, my ex-wife decided to drag me back into mediation rather than simply talking to me like she’s always done. There are several reasons for her desired parenting schedule that I might have accepted, even one as simple as wanting to make up time lost to her crazy hospital schedule during O’s first five years, but there was no reason to cut his Daddy weekends short on Sunday nights. No reason to deny my son every moment of every day he could be spending with me. No reason to start a war.
Despite very specific instructions from Hennepin County Court, at no point in the last six months did she give me the respect of telling me what she wanted and then work toward a compromise position where our son’s welfare was the primary focus. Instead, she hired a junkyard dog to bully me into signing an agreement I didn’t agree with by ambushing me at a three-hour mediation session that wasn’t supposed to include attorneys, threatening the next stop was court if I didn’t sign. Bravo for using my ego against me, again, but shame on you for stealing that Daddy time from your son. Shame.
I’m terribly sad for O. His mother seemingly lacks both candor and character. Nothing I do as his father will change that fact. This new bug is apparently a primary feature. Wonderful. This is where my boy’s path diverges from my own. The unconscionable way she’s treated me since last August made it easy to move on. Permanently. That’s a luxury my son doesn’t enjoy. This is his mom. He can’t just move on. Their shitshow is just getting started. O’s emotional and intellectual conflict must be enormous. I can already see him starting to compartmentalize, to deny and deflect. It breaks my heart. I did the same thing at his age. Decades later those repressed thoughts and feelings hit me straight out of that blind spot. I don’t wish that experience on anyone, especially not my son.
I can’t control how my ex chooses to reorder her reality to avoid responsibility for her actions, but I can absolutely insist on establishing an objective truth as it relates to our son. The courts can force her to follow the letter and the spirit laid out in the divorce decree she signed more than two years ago now, negotiating a 50-50 parenting schedule that is key to O’s development and happiness. I can insist on friendly shared events for our son. Daddy demands an open window into O’s life when he’s not sleeping under my roof. That I also deserve such basic respect and transparency as his father should go without saying but apparently it doesn’t. I’ve earned that consideration ten times over and is no less than I’ve always given to her as his mother.
I may have lost this first battle, not knowing we were at war, but I won’t be losing another. My boy deserves every bit of strength I can muster now. Game on.