“Why So Glum, Annie?”

The Nightmare, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1781

I’ve been cranky as you have probably guessed.  (Posting lists of nasty names to call an ex and such.)

“Why so glum, Annie?”

You may not want to know, but I am telling you anyway.

“Too bad we won’t see Pop on Father’s Day,” Little Man said sorrowfully last evening.

“He isn’t much of a father anyway,” he added, frowning.

“Perhaps he could come out for the weekend?” I suggested. “You could ask him.”

“He’ll say he can’t afford it—it’s too expensive,” Little Man replied.

(The average salary of an attorney in his state is approximately $120,000 per year.  The average household income in his state in 2009, the last year for which data is currently available, is $48,000, at which time only roughly 25% of the populace had attained a bachelor’s degree. He has two, plus a law degree. Right.  He can’t afford it.)

deadbeat, failure, wash-out, dead-loss, dud


The phone rang after I had settled my children in for homework time.  It was one of the masters from the tae kwon do studio.  My twelve-year-old had assaulted a younger, smaller student in the locker room after class. I called my son in for questioning. Guilty. Bullying; a first.  Fortunately no one was physically hurt. Even so, I was livid.  I offered my most sincere apologies to the other parents—I’ve been on their end.  My son is now thoroughly aware of my disappointment and dismay. He understands the need to accept responsibility and make amends. He understands he may be excluded from the academy.

This came on the heels of a phone call from his school counselor.  The boy can’t sit still, his impulsivity is on the rise. They are “concerned.” Two days ago he poked a good friend with a pencil, piercing his flesh.  He says the poke was an accident, which probably isn’t entirely true.  Most certainly he is sorry.  He feels remorse.  He feels a lot of remorse.  He feels enough remorse that I worry it will make it more difficult for him to make good decisions in the future.

“What is going on?” his counselor inquired.  “Anything worrying you?”

“The summer,” he said flatly.

The prospect of visitation looms.

empty-headed dolt, simpleton, perfidious lout, soulless douchebag, ne’er-do-well

At bedtime we discussed matters.

“Last summer my alcoholic father split my brother’s head open with a sledgehammer!  I’m just worried, okay?!” he shouted.

You ain’t the only one, kid.  “What a stupid pee pee head,” I whispered to myself, breathing.

3 comments to “Why So Glum, Annie?”

  • FrustratedStepmom

    Your little men have such big weights on their wee little shoulders… *hugs* It's SO hard to watch that and know you can tell them a million times that it'll all be okay but you know you really have little control and they are going to feel how they're going to feel anyways. :(

    My heart hurts so much for you and your family…hopefully Senor Asshat will just happen to miss the fact that it's summer and won't try to arrange any visits and VOILA! it'll be the school year again.

    Sending peace and love to all of you…

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  • endurovet

    My son also begins the dreaded countdown weeks & weeks before the period of summer visitation starts:

    When he was younger, it was all about counting "sleeps" – "How many sleeps until I see you again Mommy?"

    now expressed in moodiness, poor appetite, bad sleep, stomachaches & headaches…

    He gave up his beloved tae kwon do in March – just too much pressure between increased schoolwork & a complete lack of support from his father (of course I told everyone except my closest friends & my parents that it was "schoolwork", smiling a false, bright one! "Schoolwork has to come first!")

    I feel like such a shit, planning things to keep myself busy while he'll be gone & actually looking forward to 'em, but what else can I do? All the lovely co-parenting guides stress that I should be demonstrating that I have a happy, full & productive existence that ISN'T obsessively focused on my son's welfare – but it's hard when his father's commitment to that self-same welfare has always been in doubt.

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    • Oh darlin', I feel your pain. I hate to admit it, but in years past I have seriously over-functioned for the kids on their visits, helping them pack things to occupy their time which are not inappropriate or dangerous like the things their father most often plans or provides. Hang in there, girl.