Posted by: Lizabeta | July 13, 2008

Fear and Regrets

Last night, looking for something in my garage, I happened upon the large stack of papers that are all my court documents from when my son was small.

I understand my son’s father’s reaction to things better now than I did. Court proceedings can get ugly. Really ugly. I wish more steps had been taken previous to filing custody papers. Such a panic, to be served with court papers. Such a panic to think a judge has 5 or 10 minutes to decide the fate of your child on a He Said She Said basis. Pray for family judges. They don’t go into that field with a desire to wreck families but to help them. Their job is a great burden.

The papers said my son would be visiting his grandparents every other weekend. A practice I had put an end to after about four or five visits when they made it clear they would not respect my wishes or give me easy access to my son (I was still nursing). They were the only people my son ever showed any intense stranger anxiety with. And with him not being able to communicate yet, I had to do what I thought was in his best interest.

That is the over simplified version, but going into the nitty gritty details is… heart wrenching to me… and not the point of my post.

I wanted my son to have a relationship with his father. I trusted his father. Even when he was angry at me and had filed custody proceedings to restore his parents visits with my son, I still trusted *him*. I did not trust his parents. These were the people that had offered to pay for my abortion. I was younger and more reactionary. Being taken to court and being told by a judge I had to leave my child with someone I didn’t trust… Dear God, the level of panic…

I fought, as hard as I could. I still think the judge errored and the law clearly stated I could, as my son’s custodial parent, choose to deny the grandparents visitation. I spent hours researching. I had law and precedent on my side. But still, the visits were ordered. My son came home with a bruise on his back. Still the visits were ordered… I would have to take pictures after my son was injured, something that hadn’t occurred to me in time.

I did something desperate. I have mixed feelings about it now. I had run across a journal page his father had given me. It talked about his father hitting him when he was younger. I brought it into court. They couldn’t take it as evidence, she said.

But the grandparents stopped exercising their right to visitation. Too busy, something came up they said. Next court date, they withdrew their case. Did not want to face false accusations of child abuse, they said.

By bringing in that journal entry… such mixed feelings right now. I betrayed what small amount of trust that was left between my son’s father and I. I entered into court documents the fact that he had admitted, outside his family, that his father hit him as a kid. I’m sure his parents weren’t pleased with him about that. I betrayed the trust he had shown me by giving me the journal to begin with.  Personal, private thoughts, aired publicly and against him.

My only defense is, my son was small, unable to communicate. It was my job to protect him. Not being able to determine for myself what went on behind their doors… I could only go on the evidence presented to me. My son’s intense anxiety at being left with them, their disregard for my wishes, putting me down in front of family and friends, the history I knew existed, the bruise on his back.

Very mixed feelings. Regret. But feeling forced into a corner, my tiny son behind my legs, feeling like he was going to be snatched away from me, possibly hurt, needing to protect him. I lashed out with the only feeble claw I had. Still, deep regret. I know his father wanted a relationship with his son. I never wanted to interfere with that. By breaking that trust, I did. Disgusted and betrayed by me, he has not seen his son since. I understand my part in that. I wish things had gone differently, many steps of the way. I wish that, even if he is still justifiably angry at me, that he understood…  just a little…  I did what I did out of a deep desire to protect our son. I wish he knew too, how much I regret it. I wish I could go back now and use my older level headed self to tell my younger stupider skittish self that there are other ways to handle situations.

My son is at an age now where he can communicate. He’s ten. He’s articulate, he has a large vocabulary and I am blessed that he speaks his mind rather than misbehaves to act out what is frustrating him. He tells us, point blank, if something is bothering him. At this point, my son could say, “I don’t want to go there. I don’t feel comfortable.” or “Yes! Grandma’s house!” He has the ability to call me on his own if something is wrong. He knows my rules and he respects them, even when I am not present.

I would feel comfortable, now, sending him to visit. But that is not likely to ever happen. I regret that too. I’m sorry.

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Responses

  1. This hurts.

    Badly . . .

  2. Tysdaddy, I had a moment of angst for you too when we found out you were in the hospital. Your children are blessed to have both of you. Keep it that way. 🙂


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