Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Letter to My Former Son-in-Law as Father's Day Approaches

Update below!
At first, you seemed like the perfect young man for our daughter; you made her very happy, and you were quick to ingratiate yourself with her Dad and me. You mowed our lawn, cleaned our pool, repaired small things around the house and generally made yourself useful. You dated her for almost five years before I found out you had been married before. I still remember reading the announcement of your impending divorce in our local paper. Back then, the paper printed stuff like divorces and bankruptcies, and I read it from cover to cover. My body got hot all over when I read it; I felt the heat rise from my solar plexus to my face as if I were immersing myself in a hot tub. When I called A and asked her "Why didn't you tell me that B was married?", the way she answered told me that she had not known about it. You had been as deceitful with her as you were with us. It is a good thing for you that her Dad was out of town that day.
Your answers to me about the situation surrounding the marriage and divorce; your apparent shame and what I believed to be genuine remorse over your sins of omission placated me somewhat, and since I already loved you like my own child, I forgave you. My husband was a somewhat harder sell, but he eventually came around. Two days before the wedding, she came to me crying, saying she was not sure she should go through with it, for various reason, but mainly because you were a procrastinator. I told her I would support whatever decision she made. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done ANYTHING I could to prevent the wedding.
You and she married and settled into what seemed to be a great relationship. When your first child came, you were ecstatic to have a son, one whom you could mold in your image. It was soon apparent that he took after you; he has an engineer's mind and a sportsman's love of all things baseball, just like you. You took him duck hunting, and fishing; you introduced him to the ocean and taught him all about wildlife and carpentry and lawn care. You were the perfect father, we thought. You doted on him, and he on you. Your "life plan" was to have 2 children, and live happily ever after.
When A became pregnant again, we were all overjoyed. You seemed to be too, until we found out it was twins. As the pregnancy progressed, you became more and more withdrawn, convincing yourself that twins didn't fit your "plan". You began to drink heavily, and work all the time. I did not know this then. I thought all was well, but later learned just how "unwell" it was in your home. You left A at home alone with 3 children under the age of 3 all too often. You went on business trips that always lasted a day or so beyond the need, and it happened more and more. As our beautiful twins grew and thrived, you resented them, did nothing to bond with them, ignored them and eventually were mean and dismissive to them, while being an okay father to the older child, who wondered why he was favored and the twins were shunned. You coached his little league teams, but you couldn't be bothered to see the other children play their sports. Several years later, A got pregnant again. After I learned how terrible your home life had been for a long time, I couldn't understand why she would allow herself to have another child with you. I still do not understand it - but as that child is one of the lights of my life - I am glad she is here. You bonded with her, as you had with the first, and still you shunned the twins. Three years later, A and you separated, at her wise insistence. It is a long, sad story, and I won't recount it all here. Suffice it to say that the children suffered greatly through the separation and divorce - as all children do. We worried about them constantly, as well as their mother, who had so many problems that her duties as a mom overwhelmed her all too often.
My question to you is this:
What has happened to the man who sat in my living room during the separation and promised me he would always be a good father to his four children? Where is the man who promised me he would always support his children, no matter what happened with the marriage? Where is the man who agreed with me that it would be a good idea to wait a year before getting involved with other women; to concentrate on getting himself well and whole before dating again? Why did you move 3000 miles away from your children? Why don't you send them presents on their birthdays or call them? Why are you always late with your child support payments? Would you be sorry to know that your youngest child, when she was 4, said of the family's former home, "I remember this place; this is the "ANGRY House"? Will you ever admit you have an alcohol problem? Will you ever admit you need a class in anger management? Lastly, and most importantly, WILL YOU EVER REALIZE THE TERRIBLE MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE AND CONTINUE TO MAKE?

18 comments:

Kristen said...

aww...Im sorry things had to work out that way for you, your daughter, and your grandchildren...Hopefuly things will pick up and continue on pretty happily! Im here via michele but had a great read

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Gosh, Judge. Just...I don't know. Hugs. That's all I got.

Kevin said...

Rarely am I left speechless, but... but... I give up.

Michele said...

Oh my dear kenju....This post created a wave of sadness for me because I know that it was written with anger that is enveloped in sadness. I understand your anger. Your daughter is left trying to explain what happen to daddy and your four wonderful grandchildren do not have the father that they should.

There truly is no answer to why...and it is very possible that even he has no answers. It is even more possible that he does not know the proper questions to ask himself.

My heart goes out to your daughter, to your grandchildren, and of course to YOU. We always want the best for our child...it is sad when we are given the opposite.

One day he might act like a father...I hope he knows how and that it is not too late.

Love and hugs....

Erin said...

kenji, i am so sorry. i don't think anything i could say could help you feel better, but know that i'm sending prayers and thoughts your way, and reading that made me dislike FSIL so much.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Oh boy. Whatta guy. That's really strange about the twins though...I wonder what it was about twins that made him get so weird.

As for your daughter....*Applause* For having the guts to take a stand and put an end to his silliness. BRAVO.

Angie said...

I hope your daughter has found happiness now. I hope your grandchildren can somehow put away those memories of the angry house.

I did not choose wise the first time. Men like the one I married and your ex-son-in-law, I don't think they ever learn. Some questions will never have answers. In the long run it can only be better that those kinds of men don't come around. I know I said good riddance to mine.

Heather said...

I am sorry for your daughter and her children. I am glad they have you to love them. Alcohol does things to a person. I hope those precious children come through all of this okay. I hope you all can let go of some of your anger in time.

Here via Michele's

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Wow. That just utterly breaks my heart. Each of those children is lucky to have family who care about them (and their mother) so very much. It's too bad (and sad) that their father let them down.

catherine ryan said...

My ex-husband was similar to that. My son has not heard from him since he was 16... and he's now 20. Over the years prior to that, he periodically visited so that my son repeatedly endured the hurt of being forgotten for holidays. Now that he is an adult, I think he truly hates his father. And even though he's turned out to be an awesome young man, I still am sorry that he had to suffer the heartbreaks he did growing up. I have to believe that it will make him a better father one day, as I'm sure your grandchildren will be, too, as a result of their situation.

poopie said...

It's sad how many dads do that, but in the end, they're the ones who lose. Glad your daughter has found a good one. Maybe there's hope for all of us in that respect!

vicki said...

Ah-painful. All the way around. And so good that the intervening two years have brought such a wonderful transformation for your daughter and grandchildren. I'm sorry for their experience and the bruises left. Reading your words I am reminded of another wise thing my grandmother would say: A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.

zazzafooky said...

Utterly speechless, this post was so raw with emotion, here via Michele.

christine said...

This story is very sad and so honestly written. It is tragic what happened to your daughters marriage and how hard it was also for your family. Going through a separation and divorce myself three years ago I know how hard it can be to have to look at someone and realise they aren't the person you thought they were and know to walk away rahter than sign up for a life of unhappiness. I think we want to believe the best of people.

I do believe wonderful things can come from difficult times and it sounds like you have lovely grandchildren and that your daughter has found happiness in a new marriage and what sounds more like a true partnership.Blessings in the end of all of that and I am sure future ones to come. =)

Tammy said...

You really are a wonderful writer. Your story reminds me in many ways of my little sister's life...she also has twins who were basically shunned by their father. I hope that someday, she, too, will find a man to be good to her.

Michele sent me, once again, but you know I'll be wandering back thru on my own.

Melissa said...

I left a comment, but don't know where it went...dang computer...
I'm glad to know that she is now married to a wonderful person. Those children deserve a better father, but unfortunately, that isn't the case for everyone.
He's missing out too, and I hope as he gets older that his days are bleak and miserable!

PI said...

Judy : I am so relieved to hear things are getting better. Such a sad story and I totally understand your anger and confusion.

Wordnerd said...

What a perfectly written letter, Judy. I'm sorry that you all went through this, but it sounds like A has a wonderful husband now, and I KNOW she has an incredible mom. Best wishes to her and her family.