Friday, July 11, 2008

New insight as to where I stand with my dad

Last night, I was on the phone with my dad, and somewhere after 20 minutes, the conversation went off the rails in a really unusually disturbing way.

I'm paraphrasing a bit, but here's the essence of the conversation. We were talking about family and communication and then took a detour into talking about custody fights. As I am apt to do, I forgot for a moment, that, for all intents and purposes, my father had almost no relationship with his father after his parents divorced when he was a kid. So I took the position that it's the dad's obligation to fight to be involved in the kid's life.

Then Dad says "I don't know why people get into such messy, horrible custody battles. If it were me, I would just cut my losses and walk away."

Being one of the kids in question, I was a little shocked by this. "Dad, you mean to tell me that, if after you had me, you and mom divorced, and she withheld custody from you, you wouldn't have fought to see me?"

"Your mother would never have been so unreasonable. That's one of the reasons I married her."

"That's not my point. You wouldn't have felt it necessary to have a relationship with your own kid?"

"Not if the mom was using the kid as a weapon -- It's not worth the fight. And I turned out fine without much of a father."

"Yeah, but don't you think that anyone crazy enough to try to exclude the father from their kid's life as punishment might not be the most stable parent."

"Maybe, I guess. But it's messy. Not worth it."

"So you wouldn't have fought for me? Man, you suck. Glad to know where I stand."

"That's not fair."


Paige Jennifer said...

Silver lining: your dad is comfortable being honest with you?

Never mind....

dara said...

PJ: We're pretty much brutally honest with each other. Of course, conversations like this are the end result.

The truth is, that if my parents had gotten divorced, they would both have been very reasonable about custody and child support and the like. But if it went bad, my dad would never have won a battle of wills with my mother. No one could win a battle of wills with my mother.

Anonymous said...

more silver lining: there are a number of people in the world who aren't able to have a relationship with one of both parents. not a great conversation, but at least you can have it.