Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

Threats, Half-Full

with 14 comments

My son’s father just called and threatened me. Not with bodily harm or anything – even my fat ass could outrun the likes of him – but in a way that made my shackles raise, whatever those are.

Back up: the 11-year old monster lives with my folks. He goes to my old elementary school. He eats regular meals, excels in school, enjoys his friends, and has – in his own words – “a pretty cool life.” This is all I could ask for as a parent, even a part-time one like myself.

A year ago, we were so worried about this kid. He had no confidence, no smile. He smelled like a constant burning cigarette, since his father refused to smoke outside, and was wetting the bed with alarming frequency. He was picked on at school – for being overweight and obnoxious, and smelling like smoke – and didn’t have many friends. He complained about the cigarettes, and said his dad never listened; he worried his dad was depressed, something that seemed fairly accurate.

Fast forward to last year: his dad loses his job. Depression sets in with his dad, and my son starts losing interest in basically everything. His words are all sardonic, a sad little monster. There’s very little “kid” left in him, I fear; his light is going out. Finally, my son tells me they’re moving in with grandma. My heart drops into my heels, and I look in panic at my boyfriend. Surely he can’t mean his other grandma, the one with horns that his dad is in conflict with nine out of twelve months of the year?

Yes, he replies, that one.

The look on my son’s face is one of trapped misery. I want to laugh out loud – I mean really, she’s the last person I want my son living with! – and also pack his stuff up and move him in with us immediately. But as a parent, I know what’s best for my kid, and I’m not it; in reality, I’m the last person I want him living with.

When my son lived with me full-time, his dad never paid me child support; we agreed that’s how it would work. There was nothing about money in our parenting plan; we just knew, since we’d always struggled with money, that whoever had the kiddo would assume financial responsibility. The other parent would do what they could to help out, but we were always broke. That was the only consistent thing in our lives.

We couldn’t have done it without other people. Our child has been raised by a village, horned grandmothers and family members and friends included.

My son’s father has been calling the past few days. Every time I remembered to call him back, it was way too late; I’ve been working overtime to afford a life that now includes a house and a bus pass and two weekends of events with an active 11-year old, amongst other things. He called tonight and I was actually available.

When my parents heard about the monster’s living situation, they offered to take him at their house in my hometown. He would be in a great school system; he would have awesome role models; he would eat regular meals, and have normal boundaries, and be stimulated by positive things. He would be around good people who loved him as much as I did; I couldn’t have been happier.

Then his dad called me. He was thinking about asking my parents if he could move in with them, too – was that weird? He said if it was too weird, he wouldn’t even approach them. It was my decision; if I was uncomfortable with the idea, I could nix it from the start.

I told him yes, it was weird. I told him yes, he could ask my parents, but I didn’t think they would agree. A week earlier, I’d heard those exact words out of my mother’s mouth. I didn’t think he had a chance, so I not-so-graciously said okay.

I forgot about the neverending well of compassion my parents apparently drink from. They said yes. He moved in, and so did my son. As my kiddo blossomed into his untapped potential, his dad began to pull out of the fog. Everything began to work this year:  parents, ex, and son living under the same roof in harmony; the Esq and I start a new life in a new neighborhood; both of us getting work and getting out from under the pile.

2010 has been wonderful so far. I’ve had so many awesome experiences, and it’s only April. I’ve been asked to write for a number of sites, which is crazy freaking nice; once things are posted, I’ll update here. I regret not having the time to blog, but I’m off having a life (or what’s been described to me as a life). We spent four fun days with the monster, and saw Hubble 3D at IMAX, something I recommend you do right now. Thanks to that movie, I had a religious experience on Easter Sunday at the science center – just like Jesus intended.

So the call. He says, I need you to start doing your part, or something like that. I owe him some money for the monster’s baseball uniform, so I say, “Oh, do we still owe you $30?” He goes on to tell me that no, it’s not that, I just need to start paying him monthly. I’m incredulous. “What for? Is it for Oren?” I ask. No, he explains impatiently, it’s for everything. It’s for all the years I didn’t have to pay, it’s for all the stuff he needs right now. I inquire about his rent, which I assume is free since he lives with my parents. He raises his voice and insists that has nothing to do with it; this is separate.

He sounds desperate, and angry, and defiant.

I wonder if his cash cow – aka his girlfriend – has finally dumped him, or if my parents have threatened to kick him out. He hasn’t been working – not legitimately, at least – but I know he wants to move. He says so himself. I ask him why he doesn’t get a job, and if that’s an option; he snarls at me defensively as I raise my voice.

Does he really think he’s going to call me and demand money over the phone, like a blackmailer, and that I’ll just say yes?! That’s so desperate and stupid; I live with a lawyer. I know my rights. I also know my parenting plan.

He makes it very clear that I need to pay him monthly for his lifestyle, for him, and that it’s not for my son – it’s for all the years I didn’t pay him, it’s for all the suffering he’s had to endure “the last ten years.” He claims I’ve gotten away with something; I explain to him how little I make, and how it doesn’t seem fair. Why would he deserve a monthly payment when he’s living off of my parents? My parents are paying for my son’s shelter, his food, experiences, internet (etc etc etc); if anyone deserves what little money I have, it’s them. I explain if he and Oren moved to an apartment, and needed help with the rent, I could understand helping out because my son would directly benefit. But to just pay for his life because he can’t get a job or somehow feels entitled – why doesn’t he charge our son back pay for having to raise him, while he’s at it? – just doesn’t seem right.

Calling up someone and demanding money because “it’s time” and life just isn’t fair: lame. So lame. He threatened me with legal action, which included telling “them” to go as far back as possible – all the way back to when I was being garnished, ten years ago. I don’t even remember what I was garnished for, but it was paid off many years ago. I have no clue what kind of consequences he’s alluding to, but seriously? You’re threatening me with financial ruin? I just recently started having a steady paycheck, and it’s not exactly large. I’ve lived in financial ruin my entire life – I can handle that shit with my eyes closed.

I don’t like being threatened, especially by a man I’m unfortunately tethered to for the rest of his life. I don’t like being yelled at, something he’s very good at, and I don’t enjoy being intimidated, which is how he always acts when he wants something from me. I’ve always been intimidated by him, though I don’t know why; in real life, he’s a cream puff. He just likes getting riled up about stupid shit, and I used to buy into it. Not as much, lately.

He threatened me, told me to have a good night, and hung up on me. Man, I hate that. I assume it’s karma for all the times I’ve hung up on my boyfriends “in a huff,” harrumph and hmph. (But they all deserved it!)

I don’t know what to do, and I’m okay with that. I called him and left a message saying I’d sit down with him, face to face, and discuss this together. I told him I would give him a chance to tell me what he’s thinking, but that it wouldn’t happen over the phone. What else could I say? Eat my rancid shit, you poor excuse for a human being?

I realized being angry wouldn’t get anything done. I’m not at the compassion finish line yet, but I’m willing to talk to him – maybe he just needs someone to talk to. Maybe he actually thinks I owe him money for child-rearing services rendered, or his girlfriend talked him into this whole madcap idea. Maybe he’s having a really bad day, and thinks we have tons of money because my boyfriend’s a lawyer.

I laugh at that notion. I laugh so hard until I cough, then choke, then die.

The ironic thing being: today was the first time I went and bought something, solely for myself, in forever. Arturo and I went to Westwood Village today and splurged on – wait for it – measuring cups (oooh)! A set of mixing bowls (aaah)! A baking book (The Cake Bible!). A zester (thrilling!). Raspberries from Tony’s Market (dee-lish!). It was gorgeous out today; the perfect day for consumerism.

Life just isn’t life without surprises. (That sounds so Pollyanna.)

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Written by sn0tteh

April 8, 2010 at 9:44 PM

14 Responses

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  1. Marika,

    I feel like through your blog I’ve gotten to know an old friend again; and damnit it’s great.

    But man this pisses me off. Not just as a man who feels like I’m obliged to say “I’m sorry on behalf of all men who don’t act like complete jackholes” but also to say I’m sorry on behalf of all men who aren’t jackholes. Moms shouldn’t have to deal with this.

    All the best from your old friend.. me.

    PS Keep writing because you have something going that I can’t quite quantify but it’s the shit. Thank you in advance.

    Derek Young

    April 9, 2010 at 1:10 AM

  2. Wow, I don’t know where to begin, except to applaud your courage in sharing something this personal with the world. (I’m way too old-school/uptight/repressed/whatever for that.) I decided that commenting on your blog seems more appropriate than on FB.

    What makes me hugely uncomfortable is that your boy’s father feels very comfortable imposing on your parents when his own family doesn’t suit whatever his aims might be. Giant red flag there.

    I won’t give advice because I’m not a parent, so I can’t begin to imagine how part-time sharing another human who has both of your DNA can complicate each of your lives. All I *can* say is that it’s pretty clear that there’s a lot of unfinished business between you and this man. You are certainly on the right track when you say you want to have a face-to-face with him.

    The confrontive part I have for you is that you, by your own admission, consider yourself an unfit parent. What’s up with that? What is so bad about you that you can’t manage to raise a boy you obviously love so much? Are you afraid you’ll fuck him up even worse than his clearly troubled father? What is stopping you, or, what are you allowing to get in your way?

    Sorry, all I have is questions. I’ve always been impressed with your energy and natural force, and have always adored you for it. I know you have immense resources of moral strength, but I haven’t a clue to how you should apply them.

    Bless you for being who you are. Find your center and pivot from there. (Arrrggghh – and I said I wasn’t going to give advice!)

    Stan Chalicki

    April 9, 2010 at 1:15 AM

  3. Thanks, Derek – I appreciate your loyalty, especially since you’re a politician. 🙂 You amaze me!

    sn0tteh

    April 9, 2010 at 8:50 AM

  4. Stan: oh, so many answers to your very good questions! Allow me to ramble, in response:

    I’m a great part-time parent; as I mature and grow, I become a better part-time parent. But as a full-time parent, I’m crap. That doesn’t mean we aren’t working toward being with him more – it was always my intention to have the monster back with me. Right now, it just doesn’t work – financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, whatever.

    At the time, when my son went to live with his dad, that was the best option for the kiddo (and his dad was doing a great job). Then things changed and we had to find a solution; I thought this solution was a good one, since my son was insta-happy.

    Actually, he’s still really happy, and that’s all that matters. This thing between his dad and I will pass – something will get figured out – and we’ll move on to the next issue. To imagine smooth sailing in a multi-parent situation between people who didn’t really like each other to begin with is ridiculous. That’s not reality. But not everything has to be a big deal, either.

    I started writing this post because I was angry, and promised myself I wouldn’t stop until I was done being angry. 1800 words later: done. For me, that really is progress, because now I can get back into this without malice or expectations. It’s good practice, anyway.

    Appreciate your comments, Stan! It’s nice to know you’re out there. 🙂

    sn0tteh

    April 9, 2010 at 9:02 AM

  5. Love you, Babe. Always have. With your background in personal work and the insights gained from it, you are way, WAY ahead of the vast majority of people in a similar situation. I’m pretty confident you’ll come out this situation sane — given what you have to work with ~8^) — and with a reasonably well-adjusted young human, ready to make his way into the world, to show for it.

    Hang in there and don’t take any shit from anyone, especially those closest to you; they can hurt you the most. I’m not too worried about that.

    Stan Chalicki

    April 10, 2010 at 1:46 AM

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Snotty McSnotterson, Snotty McSnotterson. Snotty McSnotterson said: New post up. It's in the mommyblogging territory: http://is.gd/bl2bi […]

  7. I’m with Stan- this was a pretty courageous post to make, and I wish I was in any kind of position to give advice. I suck at it, though, so I’ll just say that I’m rooting for you, and I’m glad that writing this post got the anger out of your system, and I hope you guys can figure something out.

    Beth

    April 10, 2010 at 2:40 PM

  8. Thanks, Beth – appreciate the root. xo

    sn0tteh

    April 11, 2010 at 8:02 AM

  9. give me his address… i’ll go have a chat with him.

    what a fuck.

    so sorry you have to deal with this. 😦

    kyle

    April 11, 2010 at 8:16 AM

  10. Knowing you, and knowing the “dad”, and your relationship before and after the Monster…it will blow over. I think that while he is grateful for the help your parents are giving him, he is obviously depressed over his inability to get a job and a life. So he’s taking it out on you because he knows better not to bite the hand that feeds. He’s just angry and upset, and he really needs a serious lifestyle change/kick in the butt/counseling/employment. And I know he is not a terrible parent…when he is employed, confident, and happy with his life. When he’s depressed, it is terrible on him and AWFUL for the Monster.

    And honestly, you and the Esq have NOTHING to give him. If it actually came to attorneys, I could see his laughing at him once he saw your financials. Sorry this is coming back to haunt you. But it WILL pass.

    Lilred

    April 12, 2010 at 7:36 AM

  11. I agree 100%, Red. He still hasn’t called me back. I’m just going to let it blow over, and maybe call him at the end of the week.

    He’s a terrific parent when happy – aren’t we all? – but yeah, last year got ugly. I hope he takes the time in 2010 to do stuff for himself so he can move forward. Actually, I hope that for everyone I know, including myself. 🙂

    Yeah, any attorney on earth, including my own, would LOL this out of court.

    sn0tteh

    April 12, 2010 at 8:40 AM

  12. Kyle, I would pay to see that fight. :p

    sn0tteh

    April 12, 2010 at 8:41 AM

  13. it’s reading blogs like these i miss us talking daily, not knowing what’s going on in your life makes me a little sad. if you want i can get you a free cell phone at t-mobile and lines on my account are only $5, can you afford that? it might not be all the bells and whisltes but you will have unlimited mins. i miss you dearly. i hope this just blows over, how can he even expect that after your lovely parents let him in their home for not one penny? glad things are on the up and up for you. i knew you were motivated, you just needed the right gig. now if i can just get the piece of finance i need to get on track. i might not have a place to live in aug and that is not far away. i love you.

    mafia mama

    April 13, 2010 at 9:31 AM

  14. thx, mm ❤

    sn0tteh

    April 26, 2010 at 2:22 AM


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