My children are the coolest individuals on the planet. Not just regular, "I'm their mom, so I have hype them up" cool. They're on some, "Even if they weren't my kids, I'd take to buses and a train to hang out with them" cool. They're well mannered and kind. I TRULY have no idea where they got that from, because I consider myself rather surly and unpolished, but I won't look a gift horse and all that. Don't misunderstand and think I'm pretending that they walk on water; they are still kids. They fight, bicker and without warning scream, "STOP LOOKING AT ME!" Overall, their virtues far outweigh their faults. Plus they're just so darned cute!
Of course, like most kids, they have a father. (Caveat: I often tread lightly on the topic of our "union," as it would open Pandora's existential box regarding The Chocolate Wonders.) Frankly, I don't like dude. Don't get it twisted, it has nothing to do with what happened to "us"; the decision to divorce was a stroke of genius. I don't discuss him much because 1) for all practical purposes, he's somebody else's problem; 2) my children hearing me bad-mouthing their father, even accidentally strikes me as being in bad form; and 3) he's essentially useless.
He subscribes to the Wack-A-Mole parenting style. He appears, then ducks out just in time to avoid any sort of adversity (read: anything remotely financial). It's been this way since 2002. Pain in the ass? Yes. But the show must go on. Initially, this would crush the kids. They couldn't comprehend why he was never returning their calls. How does one explain that to a child? "Well honey, the thought of having to send you money mortifies him to the point that occasionally forgets that you exist?"
At one point, I remember hoping and praying that they wouldn't feel the pain of missing him. Be careful what you pray for. They're five years older now. And now, his disappearance isn't so crushing. And his resurfacing is met with a casually polite demeanor. And if he doesn't call them, they don't call him. That is hellacious. Granted, I make no apologies about my feelings for him as a Grade A douchebag. But as a woman who has known and loved her father, and the descendant of people who knew and loved their fathers, it's sad to see this.
Lately, I've been thinking what they will be like five years from now - or ten. They are great kids...AWESOME kids. But I wonder how often they will forgive? When they look back, what will they recall? People say, "Your kids will remember that you were a good parent." That's not enough. I don't want to be the "good" parent. I don't want to be the "strong" parent. I don't want them to one day realize he attained his comfort at their expense. I want them to know that they can rely on both parents to have their backs, always.
But my wanting it isn't enough, is it?