For those of my readers keeping track, you might remember that I have six siblings. Seven kids and one father with visitation rights. My mother had won full custody and my father was given every other weekend with his kids and four weeks in the summer. Again, there were seven of us. This meant that he had to split us up in sets of two and three so we could fit into his apartment. Thus, I ended up going with him about every six weeks – in theory.
My mother played every game in the book to keep us away from our dad. He would call Friday night to tell her who he wanted to pick up the next morning and she would go through a long laundry list of excuses as to why we couldn’t go with him. We had too much homework. A few of the kids had sniffles. We had to attend church. On and on her excuses went. She was successful about half the time. The other half, she had to let us go. This meant that I would get to go with my dad about once every three months – in theory.
After her excuses failed to dissuade him from not taking a set of his kids for the weekend, she would play the hiding game with us. When my dad came over early Saturday morning, she would have all the curtains drawn and we would have to duck down below the windows, in the kitchen, staying as quiet as we could. Dad would walk around the house calling us by name. He knew full well we were in there and tried as best he could to reason with my mother. She was successful about half the time with this strategy. So, I would only get to go with my dad for the weekend every six months – in theory.
As with any human being in a constant battle with another human being, my dad just gave up. The state and the courts were against him in those days. He tried going to lawyers and the police to report Mama’s breach of the court orders but nobody cared. To them, he was just another dad, complaining about a woman. Women were granted full custody by default back then and, in many ways, still are, to this day. It takes a good attorney to exercise your fatherly rights even now.
All in all, throughout my entire childhood, from seven years old until I was about twelve, I went over to my dad’s place about a dozen times. He never even tried to do summers.
Mama was happy. She stood in front of church and testified that my dad was allowing us to stay with her during his visitation weekends and that he had asked forgiveness for all the hell he put her through. I have videos of the lies she made us tell people as we travelled around to churches, singing as a family. Everything was peaches and cream on the outside.
But I missed my dad.
I am a 30 something husband of one and father of 6 dynamic and loud children. My wife and I are still madly in love – at least in my view. My world is exciting, tense, and full of life. I love to write and hope to one day, do it full time. – Incongruous Circumspection
Snipped! by Incongruous Circumspection
Debunking the Fourteen Basic Needs of a Marriage:
More by Incongruous Circumspection:
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce