December 7, 2007

Stupidity and the inability to shut up can be such a beautiful thing

Dear You,

You know, after the last time, I thought you'd learn. And you did. Just not what I thought you'd learn. You've had chance after chance to change, to grow, to learn and to do what's right. Yet still, you persist in continuing on in the same way as before. Is this lack of ability or lack of concern?

I never thought you'd come over and talk to me before we went in. Of course, it shouldn't have surprised me. You're a coward, one that would never have the courage to talk to me if I was standing with friends or family. But because I was standing alone, you gathered up your meager store of courage and approached me. Your reason was that you wanted to know how our children were doing. As I told you they are fine. Not, of course, because of anything you do. Let's be honest here, you do nothing for them. That's why I made you repeat yourself more than once. I couldn't believe you were asking how my children were doing. Yes, I said my children. I do everything, you do nothing, I see no point to giving you any credit whatsoever.

And this is why I pity you even as you anger me, and even as I despise you. You do nothing for them. You have no idea what it is to lie awake each night, thinking and planning how you are going to ensure your children get 3 meals a day though you only have enough money for 2. You don't know how hard it is to watch your child struggle with homework, so desperate to give them the answer, but knowing you must bite your tongue because they'll never learn it if you give them all the answers. You don't know the physical pain of holding back your own tears after your child has misbehaved and you have to take away a much-anticipated sleepover at their grandparents and he stands before you, tears streaming down his face, nose running as he begs you to please change your mind and you tell him once more, no. You don't know how much those things claw at your soul, shredding it inside you!

You've never had to tell him you can't buy him a balloon animal that costs 50 cents, because you just don't have a measly half dollar to spare. You've never had to stay up late to figure out yet another way to make rice or potatoes because you can't afford anything else. You've never borrowed your parents' credit card to buy Christmas presents for the kids because if you didn't, they wouldn't have Christmas unless they starved for the entire month of December.

You don't worry every time you need time off from work that you might come back to find you have no job. You don't plan the ways you'll beg your boss not to fire you before you even tell her you need the time off. But then, that's not a surprise, because you don't want to work, so you probably wouldn't care if they did fire you.

But you know what, that's all okay. Really, it's fine.

Because while you don't do all that, you also don't tuck them into bed each night, smelling the watermelon soap and raspberry shampoo they used at bathtime. You don't kiss their sweet little boy cheeks, and hear their precious little voices say, "I love you" as they also wish you sweet dreams. You don't get the cuddles when they are sick or have a bad dream. You don't get to laugh at all their silly little stories and ideas. You don't get the sheer, uncomparable joy of seeing their amazement when Santa brings them exactly what they want on Christmas, or seeing them look at you like you're some kind of hero, when you fix their favorite toy for the fifth time this month. You don't get the rush of love that comes when you see them come running to you at the end of the work day, so thrilled to see you because they missed you so much while you were gone and they were with the sitter.

You don't get to feel the intense pride I feel when they behave well, or do well in school on an assignment. You don't get to brag about them to anyone who will listen the way I do. You don't get to take any credit whatsoever for the wonderful, good people they will turn out to be someday. That's all mine.

You are missing out on all the special moments in thier lives. You won't have any wonderful, precious, cherished memories to keep you warm when you grow older. You won't have the love and respect of these two precious people who still trust so easily and love so much. You won't have a relationship with them, because you don't have one with them now, and don't want one. And that, You, is precisely why I pity you.

I hate you because you've put me in the position of being a single mother. You've left me to be mother and father to them, to worry and worry constantly about how we'll survive, because you won't contribute to their support. Which is why you're in a small jail cell right now.

But I pity you for all you are missing out on. Things that you don't know and don't care about right now, but when you are old and alone because you've driven everyone away with your selfishness and lazy irresponsibility, you'll care then. You'll look back on these wasted years and you'll taste bitter regret on your tongue.

But so as not to drive the stake in too deeply, let me say it now: I told you so.


The ex and I were in court this week. He's still not paying, so I moved to have him held in contempt yet again. Sure enough, this time he got 60 days in the county lockup. It's really pretty sad, though. He's got a complete lack of ability to realize how easily he could solve this problem. He comes into court, no job, no money, and seems to think that boyish charm, or in this case, flat rudeness, will get him out of trouble. He admits to the judge that he does absolutely nothing all day, gets caught in more than one lie, and actually has the balls to get an attitude with the judge. As the title says, stupidity and the inability to shut up can be such a beautiful thing sometimes.

But, I do pity him. Not only for the things he's missing out on with my kids. Even before the judge ordered that he be incarcerated, he knew it would happen. He began getting his things together, taking off jewelry and belts and such that he can't have in jail, and asking the bailiffs to give it to his father outside. He knew how to hold his hands for the cuffs, he's gone through this so many times. I pity him for that. I find it so sad that someone I once loved and saw a forever future with has come to this. He knows arrest procedure and incarceration as well as the police officers do, and that is a shame. He's one of those people who has amazing book smarts when he applies himself, but not much common sense, and way too much self-indulgence and laziness for any one person to have.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not getting soft and wanting to go easy on him. That won't happen. My children are entitled to that child support. And since they are unable to fight for themselves, I will fight for them, and I will not stop. I just find it so pathetic that someone who could do good things if he wanted to, just doesn't. He's selfish and arrogant, and if it doesn't do something for him, he doesn't want to do it. How nice it would be if we could all be that way. Ha!

60 days in the county jail. I doubt it will make much of a difference in him. But, I do hope that on Christmas Day, when he gets his meal of whatever they give them in jail (and we all know it's not as nice as what we get at home), that he looks at that meal, and looks around himself at the bare, cold walls and bars of his cell, and at the other inmates around him, and realizes that this doesn't have to be his life. I hope that he realizes what it means to be a man, and lives up to that. I hope that other inmates might come to that same realization as well.

And if he doesn't realize it, then I'm just glad he incriminates himself every time we go to court. Makes my job so much easier.

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