We need our dads to show up for us, as well as our moms. And when the dad is removed from a family, with the SPO, the balance is shifted dramatically in favor of the "mom as the emotional center" of everyone's lives.
The afternoon we told the kids, together, was one of the saddest moments in my life. But it was sad for my little boy, for the death of THAT dream. I had some hope that MY kids would be okay. I knew that I was not going to turn into an alcoholic or rage-filled bastard.
I took the idea of a collaborative divorce to heart. But in the end there was no collaboration. I lost all my issues. All that "collaborative" meant was that I wasn't going to sue my soon-to-be-ex during the negotiations of our divorce.
And so we divorced. I was not happy about it. And though I swear I'm moving on, I don't guess I will ever fully be OVER it. I mean, what am I doing tonight? Seeing if a date is going to materialize through the texts and emails I'm exchanging with someone from Match.com. And I'd rather be hanging with my kids: chatting about their day, their projects, their hopes and dreams. Much like the past five days of this dad-weekend.
What I can do, is fight a bit for what I think is right. I can let the AG's office thrash at me a bit longer. I can begin paying my monthly obligations like clockwork to keep their enforcement tools from dropping all my bank accounts to zero. Today, I can begin fighting back for future fathers. And, today, I can work towards a tiny balance of power surrounding the child support debt I owe.
I'm not a men's rights activist but am a DADS LIVES MATTER advocate. This game is rigged and the courts know it, the wives know it, and the divorce attorney's who'd rather represent the moms, know it. But that's not the way it should be.
I wrote goodbye letters to my former fiancé. I dug into my feelings and sat there, not really sure what actions to take. So I stayed still. I sat with the feelings. I prayed and meditated. I ate three meals a day and walked in the brutal Texas heat. And I kept going.
Fatherhood Wide Open podcast interviews John McElhenney about becoming the best single dad possible.