I have a child, oldest to be exact who dawdles. Not just a little bit but a lot. She spends a lot of time on this exercise in futility. She has had one heck of a life though too.
At age 2 her father basically kidnapped her for four months to a different state. She came back changed permanently. At and through this, I met her mother. We came together out of this great struggle. I will dive into the story more in my book Struggle(d), but here is the fly over.
It was decided in court that the father and mother would have joint custody. From three states away! Every other month for two weeks at a time. That was a lot of trust on our end. Especially since, we would have to call the cops to pick her back up and he would decide not to hand her back over or change the meeting all of a sudden. Then she would come back scared, irrational and changed for the worse. By the time we would fix it, it would be time for her to go again.
We, tried to think of ways to skirt the divorce decree like he could but in good conscience we did not. We had to trust. This was one of the toughest things our new relationship had to endure. The waiting, the worrying, the sadness, the thoughts of rage mixed with compassion.
Somewhere along the way, we caught him on a technicality. He had to give us a 60 day notice prior to his summer two month visitation. He gave us 57. We called him on it. Good thing too because he up and moved out of that state and to a different one right before the pickup without informing us. The lawyer said, we had enough ground on the number of days thing that we could not be called out on it. So, we did.
It broke my wife’s heart because she wasn’t trying to cause him suffering. She wanted to make it work for the daughter. But, some people don’t want to make it work, they want to act childish.
So, back to dawdling. This daughter (I claim her as mine and love her like she belongs here, because she does), is an exceptional person! I am overjoyed to have her in my life. Sometimes her quirks from what she went through really shine forth and she hates me. Mostly due to her father talking so much negative about me that she still has that idea in her head. She thinks i’m the bad guy sometimes. I’m learning to be ok with that. Its tough. Especially knowing that it wasn’t my doing that scarred her or me who made her distrustful.
So, periodically we clash in epic miscommunication and perception. Somedays we figure it all out and go forward. Other days, not so much. Someday, when she is ready we will lay all the facts out for her to find truth herself without bias. But to simply hand her the paperwork and the stories to make her own mind up. Otherwise, we try to move past that.
It has been four years since his last pickup, we have not moved. We have not received a letter. I will say that I’ve forgiven him, but will never understand why. I wanted to attack him in the worst possible way, but that is not the answer. That doesn’t solve anything.
Sometimes we think God himself dawdles. He never does though. He is always right on time. People who do bad things do get repaid their wicked ways eventually. After our incident, he did the same thing to his new daughter and wife up there. Then eventually was charged with several counts of child endangerment. I’m not any longer worried about him but I do pity him. Shame, he couldn’t just be cool and we could all figure this thing out together. Shame that children have to suffer over the crap their parents pull. But we love our daughter and are very proud of her.
Me “what is taking so long”
Wife “she’s upstairs getting ready”
“well how long until she’s ready”
“give her time! why does it bug you so much?”
“because when she’s dawdling she’s usually off doing something wacky”
“well, i’ll call her down then”
“Daughter get down here”
“What were you doing?”
“I was washing my eyelashes and my eyebrows”
Me “see, why I don’t want her dawdling! Right on cue, thanks daughter”
So, yes the funny moments make up for the more serious ones and life continues.