I haven’t posted since I shared the details of my son’s injuries on Thursday. I’ve been attending the boy closely and haven’t had much presence of mind to write. I’ve been spending the dewy mornings under the fair blue sky, working in I-wish-she-were-my-mother’s gardens, cheered by bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and sunshine.
My wounded son didn’t eat much for the first few days. He has been sleeping twelve to fourteen hours a day and has had a number of room-spinning dizzy spells. I’ve watched him closely, sleeping near him at night. He has perked up, and I’ve begun the long fuss over keeping him from bouncing about while his brain heals. He has a minor concussion and a prominent forming scar. It’s been difficult to engage in the practice of blessing-counting, but there are many to count. The boy still has his eye and his wits, and we are bathed in the love and support of many kind and generous people.
On Saturday, I sent Ex a note asking if he wanted to come visit the recuperating child. He said he didn’t feel comfortable at the home of my I-wish-they-were-my-parents. He asked to take our son to a community event and lunch in a nearby city. I agreed, intending to remain there, close by, meeting some good friends to browse the local shops and get some lunch. Instead, with neither my knowledge nor consent, Ex took the boy to another city some thirty miles away to have lunch with my estranged mother.
My son was to have returned to his father today after seeing a specialist to have his stitches removed and his scar examined. Yesterday I had a long conversation with my attorney and decided to keep the child in my care. I sent Ex an email explaining exactly why and stating explicitly that I will not hesitate to come for my eldest son if there is even the slightest inkling that his safety is in jeopardy.
Ex has proven himself unreliable and incapable of providing for my young son’s safety. He left the boys unattended after specifically agreeing that he would not do so. He injured the child while drinking and failed to contact me until he was put to a decision as to whether a plastic surgeon should be involved, nearly two full hours after the injury. He failed to take seriously the post-concussive symptoms, minimizing the injury as “a little cut.” Concern for the boy has been dramatically, frighteningly absent.
“He’s a true sociopath isn’t he?” asked a friend upon hearing the story.
Yes. Increasingly, I believe so.
Here is the bulk of the note he sent in response to my email, verbatim:
Ok so you’ve successfully distorted the facts and manipulated the arrangement to deny… contact w me. I need to see whatever reports you may have had generated @ hospital….
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
(Yes, a BlackBerry, a new one.)
I wanted to send a reply at two a.m. this morning while I was unable to sleep, keeping another night’s quiet vigil over the injured child. I wanted to express my shock at Ex’s lack of concern for the boy’s condition. He gashed the kid’s head and caused a concussion and he’s too busy with indignation over his rights to care.
I wanted to tell Ex that I still believe that somewhere inside, he knows right from wrong—that no doubt that provides plenty of fuel for the guilt that robs him of his sense of worth and keeps him caught in the same sick old eddy.
I wanted to explain that he alone screwed up this visitation by his own actions. I wanted to tell him as I do the boys, that he is perfectly free to make different choices if he doesn’t like the results of the current ones. (A good choice would have been to, say… abstain from alcohol for the period of his visitation. He is notoriously clumsy and reckless without adding under-the-influence to the mix.) I don’t expect Ex to start assuming responsibility for his choices or his life this late in the game, and his impediments to health and happiness must not become the boys’ inheritance.
Lastly, I wanted to tell him that I have it on good information that there is a special place in hell for drunkard fathers who hurt their children, even by accident.
Instead, I sent something gentle. Although I did include the bit about choice-making, I added:
I am saddened by the choices you have made. I hope this series of incidents serves as a wake-up call for you to seek help.
Our son would like you to come to see him. [I suggested activities.] The I-wish-they-were-my-parents are willing to host you. Let me know what you would like to arrange.
So, here I am, marking off the days on the calendar until my older son returns (pray safely) to my care on Saturday morning and we can go home. We’ll assess the long-term damage and piece apart all that has been said and done. We’ll heal our bodies and our spirits, and we’ll stand firmly and let compassion fall upon us like a warm summer rain, rinsing away the suffering and anger such that we are clean and refreshed and ready for a new day.