"We just wanted to see what he looked like."
That's what my son said to me on Sunday.
In reference to his biological father.
I sort of knew it was coming. My children were visiting my parents and my mom made reference to his questions when we spoke on the phone.
I knew the questions were coming. I knew he was curious. Ever since that horrible, terrible day a few months ago in Tae Kwon Do class, I knew this was going to happen.
When a student receives their black belt in Tae Kwon Do they are no longer referred to in class by their first name. Boy Child is no longer "Boy Child". He's Mr. Hislastname. Girl Child is Ms. Herlastname. All the other students refer to them that way. All the teachers do too. It's an honor. It's a right that you earn with your hard work and dedication.
And my son, my little son, paled the first time he was called Mr. Hislastname. He then asked his teacher, right there in class and in front of everyone, to please just call him Boy Child.
She made a huge deal of it, bless her heart. She couldn't understand WHY he didn't want the distinction. Why he wasn't proud of what he had done. Why he was the only one. Why he had to be different.
But I knew.
In my heart I knew. Sitting there in that hard, plastic chair watching my kid get his scrawny little hiney beat by a 13 year old on steroids, I knew.
In the car that night he brought it up.
"It's just that I like being called Boy Child," he explained. I could see him blinking back tears in my rear-view mirror.
"That's fine," I assured him.
"Besides," he said after a few minutes. "My biological father doesn't even want anything to do with me. I don't want to use his name with my belt."
I told him again it was fine. And later, after bravely smiling all evening and then pulling the knife out of my heart, I cried. Cried so hard that this sweet, sunny, funny little boy didn't get to enjoy the rewards of his hard work in the way that he deserved.
"You could have asked me if you wanted to see what he looked like," I said. My voice was slow and steady and calm. My mind was racing frantically, trying to remember if I actually even HAD a picture of this man anymore.
He shrugged. "It doesn't matter, mom. We don't want to see him. We were just curious."
I swallowed, hard. Kept my voice bright and sunny as I said, "If you ever do want to see him, you know you can tell me right?"
"Of course," they both said together and then the boy said, "you've always told us that, mom."
"I know," God do I know. "I just wanted to remind you."
I can't say, I won't say, "I don't want you to see him."
I won't say, "He doesn't deserve to see you." And I won't say, "I don't think he wants to see you."
All of those are true. The very thought of my ex-husband having anything to do with these bright, beautiful, kind, lovely people feels like a stabby pain into my skull. I cannot imagine his poison infecting them. I don't ever want to imagine that.
But I picked him. For God knows what reason.
And there it is.
He doesn't deserve to see them. It's been ten years. More than ten years. He hasn't called. He hasn't written. True, I moved, but the first time I moved I dutifully called and gave him my new address and phone number. He never called and he never wrote. He never sent a birthday card or a Christmas card. I'm all over the internet and my phone number and address are a matter of public record. My parents have lived in the same house and had the same phone number for fifteen years. I can be found.
He's never seen one Tae Kwon Do or soccer match. Not one chorus concert. Never taken them to church, given them a bath, fed them a meal. Never prayed over them or cried over them or bought them new school clothes. He's never laughed with them or ran around the house shrieking "blah!" just for fun.
He's never made them cupcakes. He's never nursed their wounds. He's never explained death or God or the meaning of life. He never laughed when they said douchebag. And that's really freaking hilarious.
He's missed everything. All these good, good things.
And he doesn't deserve them. Not for one second.
He's too stupid to realize he's hurting himself. That they are amazing and hilarious and fantastic. I truly believe he thinks he's hurting me or punishing me by staying away (and why he would believe that I have absolutely no idea) but I know how wrong, how very, very wrong, he is about that.
I never want these small people to hurt. God, I would give anything in this world for them to never feel pain. But I know they are curious now. I know they have to wonder about him, this man who was never part of their life but makes up small parts of who they are. They talk about genealogy and discovering themselves. I see so much of my own questioning and searching and wanting in them.
Because what we have is so good, I never want it to go bad. I never want them to feel the pain of my poor choices.
Oh my heart hurts Steph. On so many levels it hurts. So scary for you. And how complicated for them. So much love and prayers that you have the wisdom to guide them and strength to stand beside them (and brights enough not to be all poetic sounding) no matter their decisions and choices and to make sure to pick out of their hearts all of it. <3 Love you love you love you.
Perhaps, a small thing to do, they could use Jason's last name at Tae Kwon Do? If you spoke to the teacher privately, would they consider it?
As for the rest, the bigger stuff, I wish I had the answer. Instead, all I can do it listen and pray and send you virtual hugs.
What a sad little black belt story. Is there a reason Jason hasn't adopted them?
I think it's great that you are secure enough in your awesome mom-ness that you can support Girl and Boy Child, no matter what they decide.
My husband found his biological parents 9 years ago via the internet. It wasn't all it was cracked up to be...but I think he's glad to know his medical history. That said, he was 30 - not 12.
Stephanie, I had a similar situation. My son's biological father hasn't been around since he was 4 months old. He's never paid a dime of support (even though he was court-ordered)and has never asked to see his son, despite the fact that he's always known how to get in touch with me.
In fact, when my son was 8, the bio father called me and basically begged for my new husband to adopt my son, thus taking the financial burden off the bio dad and alleviating his problem with the IRS for non-payment of support (apparently the courts were having his tax refunds withheld for back-payment of support, although I never saw a dime of it).
My husband adopted my son, and he's 19 now. He's never even asked about his biological father, and of course, I've never brought it up.
Your kids' bio dad is losing out. You know it, I know it, and HE knows it. I'm thankful you guys have Jason.
Stay strong. You are a wonderful mother and you have made many more good choices for your children than poor ones. Just look at them and see how fantastic they are even if half of their genes come from their biological father. In this case, nurture wins over nature. And perhaps your half of the genes really are superior!
All kids have questions. Yours just will have a few harder ones to ask. But believe in your heart that you have done such a great job raising them and that they will rise above any "poison" they may be exposed to in life.
Perhaps you should look at it this way - you made a poor choice in a husband, but not in a sperm donor, for that in reality is what he is... and if he hadn't donated his sperm, you wouldn't have G&B Child. I'm sure you'd have awesome children regardless, because I think you are awesome, but not them. I feel so sad for G&B but I totally understand wanting to know what he looks like - even if he totally doesn't deserve them at all. Maybe you should start looking for a picture of him, just in case.
I cried reading this post, because I know 10 years from now my 12 year old boy child will be going through that same thing.
I don't live in the same country as you, so I don't know how all your laws work. But I've changed my son's last name to my own and removed my ex-husband's name. He signed...but if he hadn't there is a process to do it without his permission - because I have sole custody and he has nothing to do with my son. Also, where I am, once a child is 12 they can sign in replace of the other parent if it's to "align" their last name with the parent they live with.
...is that a possibility? Is it even something they would want?
Could they use Jason's last name unofficially? I did that all through high school with my stepfather's last name- he never adopted me, but it's his last name tacked onto my high school diploma (along with my father's name)
And, while your ex doesn't deserve the kids (or you), you can't count him as a mistake. I'll tell you from the point of someone who has heard her parents say that their marriage was a mistake. I'm almost 30 years old, and hearing my mother and father say that them marrying one another was a big mistake, it still made me pause and wonder if I was a mistake too.
A bad decision gave you something great. And know that your ex's life is less bright because he's missing out on great kids.
First off - Major Props to your kids for getting their Black Belts - that's HUGE!!!!! (And how homie do I sound? Huh? HUH?)
But second... I'm confused as to WHY your kids have his last name? Why not YOUR last name? He is hardly a man I'd call their father... Would you consider asking them to change it to your surname (the maiden one, that is..)
Wow, I feel that could have been me writing your blog today, other than "the twins" vs. me having one son. It is a heartbreaking thing when their fathers are so shallow and hurtful. My eyes are full of tears thinking about it, as always. We have had no contact for the last 16 years and everyday I know and fear the same is coming and he will want to reach out. Thank you for expressing our pain so eloquently and for making me feel not alone.
What a sad tale. It's strange how those knives can come flying from such unexpected directions. But so can the bouquets.
I am crying for you Stephanie. I can't imagine what it is like to go through what you have gone through with your kids and your ex. I pray that things for you are solid from here on out. You have great kids and a great husband and I pray that he who shall not be named never slithers up to darken your world.
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