October 27, 2009


In all the years that I was with my husband, almost 11 in total, I can't think of a time when I felt respected by him. My children had a visit with their father this past Saturday October 24th, and for the first time in 11 years, I felt he showed me respect. It may seem like, "Okay, so what?" But if you don't understand what it feels like to never be respected by someone, you don't know how amazing it feels when they do.

It may also seem like no big deal in which that respect came, but again, it was a big deal to me. The Sunday that my son was admitted to the hospital which was October 11th, his father came down for a planned visit with the kids. At first I just thought that my son would be checked out at the hospital and that we'd be out of there in an hour or so and that maybe he wouldn't run around and play with everyone else. But since it turned out he was admitted, the visit then became a hospital one.

I mentioned in a previous post that for the first visit with the kids he showed up with his mother. I was cool, went along with it and didn't give any attitude about it, but I didn't expect his visits with the kids to include others, especially in the beginning. So I expressed to him after the visit that I would like if he could just let it be him and the kids for a little while. There's a lot of repair that needs to take place between him and them and they are confused enough about him, let alone throwing in other people from his side of the family right away.

Their grandmother made no attempt whatsoever to contact the children since we left. We even contacted her once while we were in shelter and got her voice mail, and she never returned the call. She never called to see if they were okay and never called to say hi or wish any of them a happy birthday. So this is not someone that I felt my kids needed to be around right away.

I am protecting them from toxic people, and I don't care who the person is or what their relationship to them is. If they don't love or even like my kids, they aren't going to be around them, period. She cut them off and kicked them to the curb right along with me. If she can cut off her love from them so easily, then that's toxic in my book.

I also didn't want him to show up with his daughter from his previous relationship. She is 20 years old and she has never accepted our children. When he first told her that we were pregnant with Justina when she was 13 years old, she was not happy and went home crying to her mother and she called him about it. Mind you, he hadn't been in a relationship with her mother for at least 5 years at this point. Now I am sympathetic to and understand that kids suffer from the breakup of their parents for a long time, sometimes forever, and they all go through it in their own ways.

But she didn't accept and wasn't happy about our first, second or third child. A few weeks after we had Joshua, she basically wrote her father a Dear John letter, that he never let me see, he hid it and didn't even tell me about it until about 2 months later when I inquired as to why she didn't show up for Solomon's birthday. He had already talked about it with his friends and mother. I was only his wife, I guess I wasn't on the need to know list.

From what he told me her letter said, she felt abandoned by him and he had a new family now and she didn't want anything to do with him or us anymore. He wouldn't tell me what she said about me, but I'm sure it wasn't pretty. Her mother never accepted me and was disrespectful and mean to me from day one and taught her daughter to be the same way.

Although she was their big sister and had a bit of a relationship with Justina and Solomon, like their grandmother did, she cut them off when she cut me and him off. They didn't hear from her in over a year or so, and when they finally did, it was because he was on the phone talking to her and put the kids on the phone to say hi to her. He always delivered them to her after that, she never came around to see them anymore, and I didn't appreciate that. Because again, if you don't love or like my children, then don't be around them.


Anyhow, after I had expressed to him that I would like if he could come alone for the visits for now, he got an attitude and accused me of trying to exert "power and control," he loves that word combo. I told him that it had nothing to do with that, that it was about the kids and him right now. Well, he ignored me and showed up for the second visit with his mother AND his niece.

He was going to show me who was in charge. Not only would he bring his mother again, he'd bring someone else too. So you can probably see how this was going to turn out. It would be a circus. He would bring more and more people and feel smug that I just had to sit there and take it. He would disrespect me and my wishes and enjoy every minute of it.

So it was time for me to nip this in the bud before it got out of hand. I reminded Jeff that I had sole legal custody of the children and in case he didn't know what that meant, it meant that I made the calls about everything concerning their lives. No one shared that authority with me, not the courts and not him. I could say who they could be around and who they could not. I told him that if he would like to keep disrespecting me, that he could show up at the next visit with a whole carload of people, but that he would not like what was going to happen.

Being the type of guy he is and always has been with me, I was expecting to see his mother again when he pulled up, and I was fully prepared to follow through on what I intended to do if he did. Well, to my pleasant surprise, he was alone this time. It was like a miracle. Jeff had showed me the respect I was due as the mother of his children for the first time ever!

And remember those sunglasses that he always wore for the entire time he visited with the kids? Well he wasn't wearing those either! I had told him in the email in which I talked about the visits, that if he wanted to keep playing mystery dad with the kids, that was his choice, but that it didn't seem like a wise way to build closeness, it really created more distance. The kids were so used to seeing him wear them, that they told me Solomon asked him where his glasses were. I guess he wised up.

I remember being about 4 or 5 months pregnant with Justina, our first child. Jeff and I were homeless, staying in one of those hostels in NY. His ex had called about 11:30pm while we were in bed and there was no emergency. She just used her position as the "mother of his child" to call and chit chat with him at an hour that would be disrespectful to his current partner.

When he finally got off the phone with her about 20-30 minutes later, I said to him that since there was no emergency that he should've let her know that it was too late to call, that he was in bed and that she could talk to him in the morning. Well what did I say that for? He proceeded to tell me, so what it wasn't an emergency? She was the mother of his child and she could call whenever she felt like it. When I tried to tell him that it was disrespectful to me and he was showing her that it was alright to disrespect me by engaging her, he just got angrier and yelled more.

He ended up hitting me and again fought with me - his pregnant soon to be "mother of his child," over the rights of a woman he was no longer in a relationship with, but whom he respected more than he would ever respect me, regardless of the fact that I became the "mother of his child" 4 times. That was emotionally one of the more painful fights I remember. There were so many of them I can't recall all the triggers for them, but I remember that one because I was pregnant and it was over "her." I got hit and hurt because I said something about her and what she shouldn't be doing.

So even if he did it out of fear of what I might do if he showed up with his mother again, doesn't matter to me. This man showed me respect for the first time and it was a nice feeling. There's a heaviness that is lifted and there's no trouble or tension when there's no disrespect. All I had known in my relationship with him was that heaviness, that tension and nervous feeling that something could happen at any moment because of the lack of respect for me as a woman, his wife, the mother of his children, a human being, and a child of God.

Again, it's sad that for him to show it, there had to be a consequence for doing things his way hanging over his head. Why can’t he just do it on his own to do the right thing by me? But whatever, he did it and it was good for me.

I wonder what it was like for him?