This weekend was suppose to be my X’s weekend with the children. He refused to comply with the orders as they are written even after being lectured by the attorney representing my daughters. The result: visitation cancelled.
I made the decision to cancel Saturday’s visitation for non-compliance and gave him the chance to see the girls on Sunday. It’s such a simple order– email around ten am the day prior (24 hours notice) confirming in writing that he will exercise his rights to visitation. He has a Blackberry and he has internet on his phone. He also has Gmail. Last night I described it best: it’s like having a stand-off with a two-year old.
If you are having a stand-off with a two year old then there are resources available to help. There are parenting books and television shows like the Supernanny. When you are having a stand-off with a 37-year old man, it’s just plain frustrating. Like another single mommy who I admire recently said, “Actions = Consequences”.
The bottom line is this: his defiance caused him to miss time with his daughters. That is sad.
Saturday afternoon, the girls and I went to a New Year’s Eve celebration at our local Children’s Museum complete with a 12pm countdown, balloon drop and apple cider toast. We made party hats and noisemakers and had a great time. We went on with our day and that’s what we will continue to do —whether he chooses to participate in their lives or not.
This morning I was talking to the girls at breakfast about the new year and my aspirations– to have more joy in my heart and to live each day in gratitude. We talked about things we each hoped for and wanted to work on. My 6 year old daughter looked and me and said, “Do you know what I wish for but I don’t think it will happen? For Daddy to be nicer to you“. I didn’t know what to say– I just leaned over and gave her a hug.
There is no manual or script and there are no cue cards or Cliff Notes. Sometimes I don’t have the answers– just hugs.
When you are dealing with a person who refuses to follow orders, it gets to the point where you just want to bang your head into a wall. That’s how I was feeling this morning.
He is still refusing to comply with a very simple order: email 24 hours prior to a visit to notify us if he plans to exercise his right to visitation. He doesn’t like following rules.
This morning, I finally reached out to the attorney who was ordered to represent my daughters. He was also frustrated and doesn’t understand why its so difficult to follow a very simple order. He called my X directly and read him the order verbally. He assured me that there shouldn’t be any future problems (yes, I am knocking on my wooden desk right now).
The attorney also confirmed the bottom line: if he doesn’t comply then there is no visitation. Period. I knew this but it also helped to hear it from someone else– especially someone who was appointed to work in my daughters’ best interest.
Saturday, June 4th, 2011 was a very important day in the lives of two little girls. It was the “Annual Father-Daughter Dance” through my daughter’s Girl Scouts Troop. The event was talked about at each Girl Scouts meeting for two months leading up to the event. The girls were so excited about attending this Greek Themed Ball. These events are a big deal when you are four and six years old.
At that point in time, my X’s visitation was to begin at 3:30pm on Friday and last until Sunday evening.
We drove to the Starbucks location on Friday afternoon where the pick-up was supposed to take place and we waited. Then we waited some more. He never showed up. We called his phone- no answer. We left a voice mail and then we drove home. I was livid. How could he do this to them on such an important weekend? To this day, I will never understand it.
I was careful not to upset the girls. Glenn and I had already discussed a back-up plan in advance. I had even discussed a back-up plan with the girls when my oldest asked, “what if daddy doesn’t come”. I told her that her Uncle would take her (he lives 2 hours away) or Glenn would be happy to accompany them. I’ve learned to always be a step ahead of him. Glenn offered to step in and take the girls to their dance. They were excited.
I got the girls dolled up in their finest Greek attire – white gowns with gold sashes, gold bracelets, make-up and fabulous up-dos. They danced, participated in hula hoop contests, played games and had a great evening. The night was saved and the girls were happy– that is what mattered most.
It is his loss–he missed out on a precious moment in time with his daughters.
I later discovered that he had been fired from his job just days before and spent the weekend drinking wine in Napa. Alcohol came before our daughters once again.
Our Parenting Agreement (June 2010) stated that “X” could have increased visitation (from three overnights per month to six overnights per month) after he completed the following:
- 4 months of weekly parenting classes.
- Individual counseling to address personal issues specifically related to anger management, stress and communication with the mother.
- No alcohol usage around the children until completion of the above items.
He was to file proof of completion by October 31, 2010.
If someone told me that I could double my time with my daughters by fulfilling those simple requirements, I would have signed up the moment I left the courtroom. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.
His child support was based on the increased visitation (six overnights per month) and therefore, he didn’t need nor did he want increased visitation. Not only did he not do anything required of him by the court (these items have never been completed), he failed to show up to many of his limited visits.
One example: Thanksgiving 2010 was supposed to be his holiday visitation. I received a text on November 22, 2010 stating that he wasn’t going to be taking the girls after all. There was a slew of reasons and lies– the end result: we packed the girls in the car and we spent Thanksgiving Day at Disneyland and then the weekend with my sister in Orange County.
The moral of this story? When all else fails…head to the Happiest Place on Earth!