January 23, 2009
January 23, 2009
I honestly don't know how we landed here. We've always been so good in dealing and parenting the children. Their needs were always put first and foremost over our own. I realize I have facilitated that over the last years, but was willing to for their sakes. I know you have some difficulty in your life right now. I trusted in you the responsibility that you could keep that separate from the children. I'm at a loss.
The children need you. They need you to participate and be active in their life. They need to know they can count on you to be there and take an active part. For so long, I have facilitated your participation in their lives. I call you when something happens, I share photos and report card news. I let you know when their events are and what time to show up. I would call to find out if you were getting them and schedule it out. I re-arrange my schedule to coordinate with your fishing schedule so the kids can see you. You never call them, you never ask about these things. I suppose I'm at fault for that, I've always enabled this behavior. I spent my whole life growing up with parents who couldn't get along and I've done my damnedest to ensure our children were never put into that circumstance.
With the recent events between you and Amy, something has changed. The children come home with stories of Daddy accusing Amy of cheating and Daddy not *allowing* Amy to go out any more (Jacob's account). The events of Dec 12 is still fresh in the children's mind. They have shared this with their classmates on the playground and Allison has taking to writing through her feelings. (I gave you a copy of the essay entitle 911 on January 16th) Of all the children, Allison seems to have been the most effected. I've had numerous conversations with her teacher and the school counselors. They will send me any other items she may write in the future.
I've done my best to put the children's interest first. I've let them go to your house over the Christmas holiday and into January thinking that it would help them get past this incident and help you and them begin to heal. Since then, they come home telling me things. Things I can't ignore given the instability of the situation.
After Mike and I were married, John and Allison both told me on separate occasions they were not allowed to mention Mike, his children or the wedding in your house. Austen just never wants to go and Jacob is level headed and will do anything. As we discussed over the phone, I understand the difficulty in accepting a new parental figure in the children's lives. What ever you are feeling however, should never cloud the excitement our children feel for their new family. As you recall, Allison to this day still draws her family portrait as You, Me, Amy, Jordan and of course the four. Let them have their joy and be excited for the families they have. They are thrilled with the prospect of having such a big and diverse family. I often tell them how lucky they are to now have four parents to love and support them. With this conversations also comes, Mike is not daddy. You only have one daddy and that is your daddy. Mike is a parent and they will respect and obey him the same as I expect them to respect and obey Amy in your home.
At basket ball practice January 10th, John was brought to tears and told me in front of you that you got onto him for standing next to Mike and me in practice. They are apart of both families and should not be made to choose sides. I said as much to you. When all four parents are present at the same function, the kids can choose where they want to sit. Funny, In the past we all just sat together.
Recently, the children have been feeling very apprehensive of going to your house. They love you and want to see and talk with you but they feel uncomfortable. I've always told them they need to see you and spend time with you. You are their father and this is time set aside for you guys to be together. To help offset this discomfort I have told them to call me any time they get really un easy and I will come and get them. I want for them to have joy and positive experiences. At this age and in these circumstances, we as parents should not have them deal with adult items. John told me he wanted to call me the weekend of January 9 and restated 'Momma told me I could call if I was uncomfortable.' He said he was told to that this is daddy's weekend, she can't do that and to shut his mouth. What ever the situation and whatever happened, this is how John viewed the situation and recounted it to me.
The week of January 16th, I tried to ask you about this situation. You shut me down and said he was probably screaming. I also informed you of their birthday party for the following Saturday. In the past, you and Amy have always attended their birthday parties. It's what they have come to expect and be excited about. I tired numerous times to follow up on the invitation and your phone was disconnected. I sent you a text message on Monday to invite you to lunch with the kids at their school for their birthday, right after you replied John was told to shut his mouth for screaming. I got no response. John later told me that you told him January 16th, you would not be going to the party or to their basketball games if the other *family* was going to be there. It hurt his feelings deeply. A better way to answer that might have been, 'You know what boo, this is time for you to enjoy with your Mimi and papa. There will be other games that I can attend.'
I told you in advance that my parents would be in town for their birthday. You showed up at 3:15pm on January 16th un-announced, knowing my parents were coming into town to take the kids to their birthday. With good reason, I told you no. They could not go. I offered a counter that I would bring them by your place after the birthday dinner. I did as I promised despite the kids not wanting to go and crying about it.
I sent my cell phone with them in case they needed to call me. Allison took the phone and asked 'do I just tell them I got a cell phone for my birthday?' and I told her 'No. You tell the truth. Momma gave me the phone to call if I needed to.' She called at 9:10pm. This was 10 minutes past the time you had told me you would have them home. She was hysterical and crying saying 'Daddy isn't bringing us home. Austen keeps telling him it's past time ...' I thought she went on to say you were sleeping and not waking up. I misheard in her dramatic state. She was actually reacting to you slapping John for laughing.
The next morning she continued to be depressed and sad. She ended up telling me she thought you were trying to kill yourself again. I tried to assure her that she was probably mistaken and that she just over reacted to the situation. At this point she starts crying asking why I won't believe her. Her accounts of the situation:
'Daddy accidentally hit Austen in the eye and told her to go to the kitchen and get a knife so he could stab it in his chest.' What ever your attempt in this statement was and I assume it was to make Austen quit crying, Allison was sure you were serious. I asked Austen about this situation later in the day and she said, 'Daddy said go into the kitchen and get a knife so I can cut him'. Their minds and emotional state are still so fragile. And I think it's in the best interest of them that there is no stress involved with visiting your house. Right now they don't know what to expect and over-react. They are ten.
I'm dismayed at your defensive statements that Allison was just manipulating me on the night of January 16th. While Allison is a sensitive child and tends to over react, she is not a manipulator. I don't know if you have talked with the children about the Dec 12 incident. But they don't understand any of this. Quite frankly, neither do I. They shouldn't be put into a position to have to deal with adult concepts, they shouldn't have to be afraid to visit your house or worry that you might do something to your self. It's not their responsibility to make sure you are happy and safe. It's your job to make sure they are happy and safe.
After the Dec 12th incident we agreed that visitation would be supervised. I assumed you would stay with your sister for quiet some time. That didn't happen. And since that time they always seem apprehensive about going, and come home telling me the items documented above. Because of this and because I've had a full week to calm down and rationalize from my anger resulting from the January 16th drop off, I'm still very centered in my position that the children need a break from the drama. I'm not saying you cannot contact them or come and see them, in fact I would welcome the continued interaction. However, any visits to your home or overnight stays should be limited.
Because of Allison's continued reactions to the Dec 12th incident, I am planning to make her an appointment with a counselor. I think it will benefit her greatly to learn that what she is feeling is not wrong and give her tools with how to accept her surroundings and deal with the traumatic events of the past month.
I have given you a copy of their basketball schedules, you know when the girls practice is. I have always kept you abreast of their lives. I've always called and let you know what is going on. Rarely do you call to ask how things are going. I have facilitated this relationship for you long enough. They are getting to the age where they need to know you are involved and care. At some point, you need to start actively participating with them, in their lives, not just in the term of your life. I can't facilitate that part of your relationship. It's all on you.
I would ask that you take the items I've written out here. You really think about the right thing to help our children deal with it. You look for answers from a professional to help learn to talk to the kids. Regardless of what I tell them, they will form their own opinions. I tried to keep the fact that you had told Amy you were going to kill yourself. I've never mentioned those words at all, and yet the kids picked it up from somewhere. You have to know the right way to talk to them about this. I've consulted the school counselor as well as a private practitioner, but you need to do the same. If not for your sake but for that of your children.
I would hope we can both agree to parent these children together and stay informed. I would hope that we both have their best interest at heart. I would hope you would agree that taking a break and putting some distance between them and this traumatic event is the best thing to do. I would like to work this out as we have always done, however, I realize we do have the court system to help mediate if needed. I would hope it doesn't come to that.
I've tried to call regarding this matter several times and still am unable to reach you. So I opted to write it out.
Best of luck and please contact me when you are ready to discuss this issue. You have both of my numbers. If you are more comfortable in discussing this matter through mail:
My address is