In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 I shared the tale of Mr I-Do-Not-Have-Children-To-Pass-My-Legacy-On-To and the email exchanges between him and Baby Number 3, our son. With Mr I-Do-Not-Have-Children-To-Pass-My-Legacy-On-To’s last response to Baby Number 3, I could stand it no more. MoMma Bear’s hackles were up and she was about to strike . . .
Dear Mr I-Do-Not-Have-Children-To-Pass-My-Legacy-On-To,
Might as well make yourself comfortable, because this is going to be lengthy. Please read it through to the end and then read it again. I do not want there to be any misunderstandings, misconceptions or anything else.
Suffice it to say, I am COMPLETELY floored by the emails sent – the one to Baby Number 3 and the one to me. Is there a particular reason you felt the need to do that? I hope it made you feel better. Because, in all honesty, after reading what you sent, you are not the man I have always thought you to be. Even Mr. Potato Head, Baby Number 1 and Baby Number 2’s father NEVER reduced them to a monthly financial obligation. He had about as much interaction with them as you did with Baby Number 3.
Honestly, it would have been best to say nothing. There was absolutely no need or call for it. So you and J are moving on with your lives. Ok. That’s all well and good. The thing is, your lives have never stopped moving and evolving.
You have been leading your life as though Baby Number 3 did not exist for the better part of 18 years. Baby Number 3 was always your “dirty little secret.” I say that because you yourself said you couldn’t tell certain members of your family about him. And when you finally did, all hell broke loose.
Baby Number 3 reached out to you first. You did not make the first move. With that being said, there were plenty of opportunities for you to get in contact with him prior to that. Granted, when I first got with R, I was going to have him adopt Baby Number 3. But, the more I thought about it, the more I knew in my heart that Baby Number 3 would want to have contact with you. He would want to hear your side of the story. Because let’s face it, there’s your side, my side and the truth lies somewhere in between.
I think of all that Baby Number 3 has missed out on because of OUR selfishness – yours and mine. I am owning up to my part – how my choices impacted who Baby Number 3 is today. Can you say the same thing? Your choices have also had an impact on him and who he has become even without direct input and influence. What is a terrible shame is that not only has he missed out on getting to know the other half of his family, they have missed out on getting to know him. Losses all the way around, in my opinion.
At ANYTIME along the way, you could have said to me, “WAIT! He is MY son, too and I want to be a part of his life! This is not all about what you want. This is about what is best for OUR son.” However, you were perfectly content to let another man raise your son. If you honestly and truly wanted him to be involved in your life, you would have found a way no matter what or whom stood in your way. Did you do that? Can you honestly say that you did that?
When Baby Number 3 finally did enter your life, he was not perfect. He was flawed. He has emotional issues. He does not have the same morals and values as you. I’m trying really hard to not take that as a personal insult. I don’t think you meant that I didn’t raise him without them. This is in reference to your statement, “…so we’ve never been able to raise another person in our morals and values.”
Believe it or not, Baby Number 3 really is a good kid. He’s smart – sometimes too smart for his own good. However, like everyone in this world, he has both good and bad qualities. You may not realize this, but what you experienced (for the most part) was the realities of a typical teenager. The adults in his life are mentally challenged and do not understand what he’s going through and/or experiencing. That is the behavior and attitude of a typical teenager. Baby Number 3 has been raised to be his own person and he is.
When Baby Number 3 made that very first trip to see you, you showed him the “good life.” What I mean by that is that he was coming from the “have nots” and you fell into the “haves” category. What Baby Number 3 saw was that his parents (R and I) struggled daily to provide for the family. We did not have a fancy house. We lived in a mobile home in a mobile home park. He saw his mother working two jobs and his step-father putting in massive hours to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. There was no money for nice things like iPods, PS3s or anything else you bought him. R and I provided for him the best that we could.
I have to be honest, R was apprehensive when you and Baby Number 3 met for the “first” time. He was also a little hurt. Regardless of whether or not Baby Number 3 is his biologically, R did not and does not want to see Baby Number 3 get hurt. R is only just now revealing what he felt because he knows you are Baby Number 3’s biological father and had a right to see your son.
After my experience with Mr Potato Head, I vowed I would not ever ask either father for a thing. I tried very hard to not ask for your help. It took everything in me to swallow my pride and ask you the few times that I did. I thank you for helping me when I did, though. I appreciate you not belittling me and making me feel less of a parent because I could not do for our son.
I’m angry. I think what makes me most angry is that if you honestly and truly wanted to be a parent, you would have said something along the lines, “Even though we do not see eye to eye, my (our) door will remain open to you once you get your head out of your behind.” By sending the email and blustering about financial crap, this is essentially saying, “I am through with you. I never wanted to be a parent to you. You have never been anything except a financial obligation.” This to me says that you will NEVER want a relationship with Baby Number 3.
Do you remember me telling you about R’s son shutting him out of his life? Do you remember me telling you there would come a day when R***** would want to reconnect with his father, I just didn’t know when or how? Well, that day came at the end of 2011. After 13 years of not talking, they have reconnected. Why? Because R left that door open.
Even though R***** said mean and hurtful things to R, R kept that door open. That’s what parents do. A real parent does not EVER tell his or her child about what he or she spent on him or her. Not ever. A real parent lets their children know they are there no matter how awful and hideous they are. Trust me, I have been on both sides of the fence here. No matter how hurtful, nasty and vile I was toward my mother, she was there for me. The same thing where Baby Number 1, Baby Number 2 and Baby Number 3 are concerned. They have pulled their fair-share of crap over the years, but the one thing they knew is that Mom loved them unconditionally.
Can you honestly say that about Baby Number 3? From my perspective, it appears not. He was not a part of your life for so long, it’s hard for you to have those types of feelings for him. He was not raised by you – as you have so eloquently pointed out. He does not fit the image you had in your mind of how he should be. This is why it is so easy for you to coldly and crassly send an email such as the one you sent.
I have to be honest, I have shared the email with a few people. Some people have been a part of Baby Number 3’s life from the beginning and some just know that he has a different father than Baby Number 1 and Baby Number 2 do. I did not share the back story. Even those that have known Baby Number 3 from the beginning of time, know that I have not spoken ill of you and you have been put in a positive light. So, when I shared the emails (both the one you forwarded to me and the one just to me), they were shocked.
R had the utmost respect for you . . . Right up until that email. One friend of mine said the email to Baby Number 3 was rude and disrespectful and completely uncalled for. My sister-in-law, T, said you should have said nothing at all.
You are mostly correct when you said Baby Number 3 has learned just about everything from me. He also learned A LOT from R. As for you and J not having children of your own, that was a personal choice made by the two of you. When you got together, you both were still young enough. Hell, you still are. If you cannot have them biologically, adopt. There are plenty of children out there that need love. You still have time to “leave a legacy” in this life that reflects you, your values and morals. But as I said, the decision to not have children was a personal one made by the two of you.
Unfortunately for you, not being around a child as he or she grows and becomes his or her own person, has put you at a severe disadvantage. You are seeing things from the perspective of a 39-year-old adult and not as a child growing, changing, learning and becoming his or her own person over the course of 18 years. Had you been around and had the experience – both joyful and painful – of watching that child learn and grow, you would realize that no amount of money could ever compensate for that experience.
I certainly hope you appreciate the fact that not once did I ever take you to court to request an increase in support. I also hope you appreciate the fact that there is no court document in place because then you would actually be
paying until he was 19 or longer since he is a full-time college student.
Something else I am trying to figure out is how you AND J have been supporting Baby Number 3 and I for the last 18 years. This makes no sense to me. Other than support payments, for the first 11 or 12 years there was no contact between you and I. Yes, you and J were supportive in other ways but only after you re-entered Baby Number 3’s life. I am sorry to say, sending obligatory support payments does not constitute being there “in some capacity, at least financially.”
Just because a person turns 18 does not make that person an adult. Legally, yes. However, more times than not, that person does not have the maturity level. There are exceptions to the rule, but they are not the norm.
Mr I-Do-Not-Have-Children-To-Pass-My-Legacy-On-To, what saddens me the most – what has shocked me beyond words – is how you broke him down into nothing more than a bill (an 18 yearlong bill, but a bill nonetheless) and have summarily slammed the door in Baby Number 3’s face.
As for thanking me for raising Baby Number 3, there is no need. I love him unconditionally and have from the moment I found out about him. I accept him with all of his flaws and imperfections. I was going to raise him with or without your involvement. Unfortunately, it was without. That, too, saddens me.
When all is said and done, I hope you found your sense of peace by sending the email to Baby Number 3. Your silence has spoken volumes over the years. I would have thought that by sending the last support payment, you would have just let it ride itself out. Regardless of whether or not Baby Number 3 says anything specifically about the email, it has had a profound effect on him.
This has been a learning experience for us all.
I wish you peace. I wish you well.
Part 5 (and maybe Part 6) will finish out this tale. Staying up this late and getting this out has been very cathartic for me.