Submitted by: Cathy
I read a post by a divorced father today. It made me happy and sad all at the same time. Happy for this father’s son, sad for my sons. Happy because there are children in this world with fathers who know how to father.
Go check it out, They Spread Their Wings Much Earlier Than You’d Think. You can’t help but smile when you see the excitement of a 16 year old getting the keys to his first car. I remember the day I came home from school to find a shiny new car in the drive. My Daddy stood there grinning from ear to ear. He had purchased his little girl something he knew would mean the world to her.
I was talking to my son the other night about his Granddaddy teaching my sister and me how to drive. He started early, probably too early. We would take Sunday afternoon drives as a family and inevitably end up on a dirt road.
My Mom would be relocated to the backseat while my sister and I, one sitting in his lap, the other in the passenger seat were given driving lessons. We would take turns sitting in his lap and steering the car. He taught us how to shift from park to reverse to drive, how to use the turn signal. He made sure we were equipped with plenty of knowledge when the day came for us to set out on our own in a car.
He did the same for my eldest. When my ex left and it came time for driving lessons Granddaddy was more than happy to teach the him how to drive. After raising two girls I imagine he thought it a treat.
Where was their father? He couldn’t be bothered. He never broached the subject of them learning to drive with me nor them. When our eldest was 15 and had his learner’s permit he asked his father during visitation if he could drive his truck. His father’s response was, “not until you get more driving experience.”
I remember walking out of the room when I heard this. I was angry that my ex was robbing his children of the kind of memories my Daddy had made sure I would always have. I wanted them to remember their father teaching them how to drive. Of him being excited when they reached important milestones. I was silly to have such expectations.
The three of us were lucky though because we had Granddaddy to make such memories with. When my eldest was 16 Granddaddy made sure he had a new car. That car got him through college and the first couple of years in his new post-college career. He drove it until last year when he was able trade for one he could buy for himself.
Granddaddy died before our youngest reached driving age. He wasn’t around to teach him how to drive but he did make sure he would have a car to drive when old enough. He left money to buy a car. We purchased something Granddaddy would approve of. The money Granddaddy left went toward a shiny, new red car and I financed the balance owed in my name.
My Daddy recognized something in our children their father doesn’t. They are good boys, boys any man would be proud to call son. Boys full of character and integrity. They were both worthy and deserving of what was done for them by a man who wasn’t their father.
My youngest hasn’t driven his car in 8 months. When he was 18 he went to live with his father who he had seen once in 6 years. His father paid off the balance on the car and I transferred the title to his name. Our son lived with his father for a year and was then ready to come home. This angered his father.
It angered him to the point that he wouldn’t return messages T or anyone else left for him. T wrote him emails that went unanswered until recently. My sister left him messages about T and the car and got the same response…none.
It has taken over a year for his father to once again communicate with him. T told his Dad that he wasn’t driving the car because the license had expired and ask his father if he could send the information needed to get a new tag. His father told him he had “choices.” T was told he could either buy the car from his father or sell the car and send his father the money.
My crazy making ex has less than one third financial interest in the car but he is pissed and at this point the car is all he has to use to manipulate and punish T with. What he doesn’t realize is that it has been 12 years of him stepping in from afar and abusing us and our situation. It has taken a long time but no one here cares any longer. And we are all finally beyond expecting him to do the right thing.
T knows that he earned better treatment than he has gotten by the mere fact that he was born into his father’s life. After 6 years of neglect he gave his father a chance. He went to live with him with the hope of rebuilding their relationship. I’m proud of him for not only doing that but also for realizing that his value isn’t determined by a car but how he has responded to a person who attempts to use a car to manipulate him.
There was a time we would have all twisted ourselves into a knot, jumped through all the hoops his father put in front of us to get what we wanted or needed. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do for our boys. My boys are teaching me that manipulation is behavior best ignored.
I can say this much, he has been far kinder to his father over the situation than Granddaddy would if he were still with us. Something I’m sure the crazy maker has considered. Too bad he doesn’t seem capable of considering his child’s feelings.
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