Monday, February 06, 2006

Astonishing

Lucy,

This morning, a little after 4:30, our youngest son woke me to say he had vomited.

He felt warm. I made him a bed on the couch, stripped the bed sheets and cleaned up the mess.

This morning, a little after 6:45, our oldest son called you to say he would be picking up something at your office on the way to school. He told you Collie was sick.

He handed me his cell phone.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Jefferson?”

“Hi Lucy, did you call?”

“Oh. You are asleep.”

“No, the alarm went off a while ago.”

Click.

You hung up on me.

I called back.

“Hello?”

“Lucy, you hung up on me.”

“I know, why are you calling?”

“Lucy, you shouldn’t hang up on me. Collie is sick and won’t be going to school today.”

“I know. What about tomorrow?”

“Well, we’ll see how it goes today and talk about tomorrow.”

“Okay.”

Click.

You hung up on me.

I called back.

You did not answer.

I left a message, saying you should not hang up on me, and saying I found your behavior astonishing.

I made lunches, got the kids dressed, and took them to your office.

Our sick son stayed home.

We arrived at your office a half hour before school.

You were out. We waited.

When you returned, you told me I did not need to stay—you would see the kids to school.

“Do you have anything you want to talk about?” I asked.

“No.” You said, smirking. “I’m working.”

“Your behavior is astonishing, and illegal. Our son is sick . . .”

“I know. I hope he throws up on you.”

I left.

This is, to the best of my recollection, a verbatim transcript of our interaction on a morning our child woke up vomiting.

Prior to this, you and I had no altercation, or any interaction of note. True to your behavior since mid July, you have avoided conversation with me.

This was not your response to a fight. This was how you responded to the situation of co-parenting a sick child on a school day.

I find your behavior astonishing.

Since our eldest acquired his cell phone, you use him to gain information about the children while they are with me. You cut me out of the loop, and treat him as your co-parent.

A month after freaking out that my phone was broken, you cut off my phone service, apparently judging it a useless tool for communicating about our children.

Insofar as your behavior affects me, it becomes just another anecdote I can share with friends. Divorce sure makes people weird, I say. You are welcome to detest me all you wish. You don’t need much reason, just as you didn’t need much reason to end our fifteen-year relationship.

But if the thought of Collie sick at home can’t make you communicate better about the children—to at least inquire about him—then I am at a loss for what might.

When I said that your behavior was “illegal,” what I meant is this.

My lawyer—who is a very, very good lawyer—foresaw that you could be a difficult co-parent. Our divorce agreement stipulates that if either parent refuses to cooperate effectively, the other has recourse to legal action. The court can intervene to make both parents stop behaving like children, and behave in the best interests of the children.

I have tried to be a calm, rational person throughout this process. I let the water slide off my back. I do not respond to goading. I long ago learned that I can’t win a fight with you. I can only survive one fight and wait for the next one.

You and I have a long history. I miss our friendship. I would dearly like to be friends again.

You don’t have to be my friend. If we didn’t have children, you would be free to refuse to speak with me.

However, we do have children. You have a moral responsibility to speak with me. What’s more, you have a legal obligation to do so.

For the next eleven and a half years, you are obliged to be the best co-parent you can be. After that, we can be friends or we can just be civil at weddings and funerals. That’s entirely up to you and how you chose to live life in your mid-fifties.

But now, in your early forties, you have to get past whatever revulsion you have towards me, and do what is best for the children.

I have offered, many times, to go into therapy with you, or to do whatever it takes to get you to a place where you can deal with me as your continued parenting partner.

If your behavior leads us to seek a court’s help, we will certainly be forced to accept the guidance of a family counselor.

I am writing to you now to say: please do the right thing for the children, and communicate.

I have cc’d our parents, as you seem to feel that is a useful thing to do when we are at a stalemate.

Best,
Jefferson






12 comments:

Viviane said...

Since she seems to delete any emails from you, perhaps you ought to print out and send her (and both attorneys) a hard copy version of this?

Mitzi said...

xoxox.

It will get better. It has to.

Right?

ThreeOliveMartini said...

i couldnt agree more with Viviane

Anonymous said...

She's an evil and destructive sociopath. I'm telling ya.

Tanya

Viggy la Q said...

Don't ever stop being the Dad that you are..... across the void of reader-writer, you are an incredible parent and are right to hold her to the letter of the law.

Power to you, Jefferson

x

rose said...

i so agree with viviane! and good for you for finally writing that to her and dealing with her shit!

Jaded said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blondie said...

Well said Jeff.. :) Good luck

Jaded said...

You're a great father. Honestly, if I were you, I'd sue for sole custody and give her visitation rights. Strict visitation. If she keeps going like this, she could cause the children lasting pyschological damage. She either needs time to deal with her pain or whatever on her own or learn how to deal with herself without impressing that upon her kids.

Yes I reposted this comment, there were big typos in the last one. Sorry about that.

mama4 said...

WOW.i am impressed. i think that letter was well thought out. it's always a shame when they bring the kids into it, isn't it? i feel scared for her when karma comes knocking at her door.

hope you'll keep us posted. btw - if you do mail her a hard copy, make sure you certify it for proof of delivery.

angela

the swamp said...

Jefferson:
I'm an avid reader, and I'd never want the blog to go away, but I wonder - as you face the possibility of relations between you and Lucy degenerating, do you ever worry that the blog might be a legal liability in a custody battle? I've noted (through other blogs) that you are now appearing (at least by cam) in public sexblog-related forums as "Jefferson," which increases the chances that people outside your trusted circle will be able to link the real you with the blog you. Should Lucy become aware of the blog, I can only imagine that it would fan the flames of her animosity - and in a state of anger she seems quite capable of using any available weapons against you, regardless of the potential damage to the kids. This isn't 1950, and New York is a pretty progressive place, but I'm guessing that a father who runs regular bisexual orgies, sleeps with multiple partners - some of whom aren't much older than his children, and writes about it publicly, might be a vulnerable party in a custody case.
Again - I love reading the blog and I'd be sad to see it go, but as a reader who feels invested in your welfare - however strange that may be - I wonder if you should consider taking it down, or at least putting it on hiatus until things improve with Lucy.

SRS said...

Strange -- I came here to make exactly the same comment "the Swamp" did. I have always wondered how you could get away with being so relatively transparent on your blog, and, in this day and age, you are certainly gambling a lot on finding a judge who would not find your self-reported lifestyle to be a pretty large negative when it comes to "good parenting," at least as understood by the mainstream. I'm sure this stuff has occurred to you -- it must have --- but, if so, I can't see what you did about it...