What Looks Like Crazy (Part 2)

December 2, 2012

Confession: After my Crazy Part 1 post, a few friends, near and dear and knowing me perhaps too well, asked me about what “Part 2” would be, and had a few suggestions, indicating to me that there is the possibility that there were more than 2 incidents of crazy in my life. I am open to the possibility, but in my mind, what I am about to describe definitely goes on side 1 of My Greatest Hits of Crazy album.

I go to court several times a year. You’d think I would be used to it by now. I think that my first visit to divorce court, almost 4 years ago, spoiled me. I had been separated for over 7 months. My husband had closed all of our bank accounts and left me with no money. Fortunately, I had credit cards and overdraft on my newly opened account, so I did have some way of taking care of myself and our children, but my credit was about to run out. Strangely, I went to court with an incredible amount of optimism. I remember wearing a gold sweater and thinking to myself, “I am golden.” Yeah, that’s crazy, I know. But I just felt this sense of calm as I sat there awaiting my fate. I sat next to people in the waiting area and marveled at the emotional chaos around me. People were angry and bitter. I sat in my golden bubble and offered them empathy and kindness. Ahhh, innocence. But here’s the thing. I walked out of court with a pendente lite support order that provided enough for me to take care of my children, at least temporarily. Pendente lite:  that’s Latin for “pending the litigation” or “the temporary order that your husband will ignore.”

So I went back to court every few months to get my husband to comply with the order. This went on for 2 ½ years. Finally, in the spring of 2011, we went through binding arbitration and got a final decision and order and I retreated back to my golden bubble and thought the fight was finally over. Ahhh, innocence.

Yeah, yeah, you’re thinking “So, where’s the crazy part?’

My husband refused to accept the BINDING arbitration decision. Once again, he stopped paying all support. So after 3 months of anxiety and waiting for a court date, my lawyer and I returned to court. Maybe I should have worn my gold sweater, but it was August. Maybe the heat had already gotten to me, but for some reason, I had brought pictures: 8×10 glossies of my beautiful children. Through this whole process, I had been trying to tell the court that this was all about the children. That all I cared about was my children. So maybe I could not make my husband be the father they deserved. Maybe I could not make him love them the way all children should be loved. I just wanted someone to see them. I wanted the judge to look at my children and see that they were not just names in pile upon pile of legal papers. They were beautiful, innocent, loving, and vulnerable children who needed this judge to protect them.

I’m not sure how it happened, but we walked out of the courtroom and nothing had happened. I walked out with exactly what I walked in with, and I never said a word. Never said a word until I walked out of the courtroom.

I suppose if you’re going to go crazy, it’s better to do it outside of the courtroom. As soon as I walked out of the courtroom, I lost it. (However, there was no snorting.) I started to cry, loudly, holding up the photos of my children, approaching people in the waiting area, saying, “Wouldn’t you love these children? Wouldn’t you take care of them if they were yours?”

Gosh, I wasn’t holding out a gun or anything, but I remember being encircled by men in uniform, men with guns. That’s weird, right? And so I held those photos up to the policemen surrounding me, and asked them if they would love my children. Asked them how my children’s father could abandon them. I remember soothing words from the policemen and my lawyer, who managed to ferry me to the elevator and back down to the main floor of the courthouse, where we were met and again encircled by a few more men in uniform. This is the part that makes me giggle. I imagine them getting the heads up that a crazy, distraught woman was coming downstairs and that they should be prepared. OK, I know bad things can happen in courthouses, but imagine the call coming on their walkie-talkies, “There’s a woman coming downstairs. Watch out, she’s got photos.”

And maybe that’s why I was so dangerous. I was asking people to look beyond the words printed on stacks of paper. I was asking them to look beyond the lawyers and the husband and wife at war. I was asking them to look at the truth. And the truth was that I had 3 children who didn’t ask for any of this. Who deserved a childhood, as all children deserve, a childhood free from strife and chaos, and full of joy and love and peace.

I went back to court this week. I had told my lawyer that I would want to speak, but when I had my chance, I didn’t have the words. Or maybe I was afraid the words would not matter. Because what’s really crazy is that I’m sitting here weeping as I write this. I’m weeping because I am still wishing that my children’s father would love them the way children should be loved by their father. I guess there’s no court in the world that can make that happen. And it’s crazy that I thought, even for a moment, that my words would make a difference.


18 Responses to “What Looks Like Crazy (Part 2)”

  1. You are absolutely right, and it’s not crazy at all to want your children to have what all kids deserve. It sounds like it’ll never happen, but it’s not crazy to want it. Hugs to you…

  2. You are not crazy to want this. You are not crazy that you thought that you had this up until the asshole abandoned his kids. I am so sorry that this man, and then the court system, let you down. It is a travesty.

  3. Powerful words. And your words do make a difference.

  4. Ah but I DO think your words matter. They matter and we have to keep speaking. IF women stop because they think it doesn’t matter, then we all move backward. I have a husband who owes me over 15K in back child support and has little to no contact with 3 of our 4 children. They’re grown now – but I, for the life of me, or any mother, can’t understand how a father can walk away from their children. But keep talking. Who knows how your words reverberate…..and we hear you. Wishing you peace and knowing that your children know they’re loved – a mother is so powerful.

    • Thanks Barb. It boggles the mind. I do know a lot of dads out there who became better dads after divorce. Too bad our exes are skewing the statistics.

  5. You should be proud that you fought for your kids above all else. You are a very strong woman and your kids are lucky to have you.

  6. Not crazy at all.. each time we speak we give voice to our pain and at the same time, our strength. You have every right to fight, cry, rant and rave for the life your children deserve.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us… you have given another about to be divorced woman some strength, I have no doubt.

  7. There is nothing more painful than seeing your children treated badly, hurt, or disrespected. Forget what your ex is doing to you – that’s bad enough. What he’s doing to your children is abhorrent. I would be weeping too, my friend.

  8. A friend said

    You have never given up the fight for what your children deserve. Tragically, their father cannot give them that. He is an alcoholic and never had the emotional depth to provide a “normal” family life. But you have enough love inside of you to make sure they grow into healthy, caring adults. I don’t doubt that!

  9. I agree – if we don’t keep speaking for them, the men who write the laws and enforce the laws, and uphold the laws will never have a different view. Not all men are bad, but men can’t really imagine what our lives are like since they’ve never walked in our shoes. And really – imagine how we can’t believe how the alcoholic is acting, and we lived with him…someone who’s never experienced it can’t imagine it’s even real. We have to keep speaking for our children. Never give up.

  10. StrongerMe said

    Not too long ago, I met with my case worker at the State Attorney General’s office about the unpaid medical expenses for my children. I went through my packet, which covers a year of expenses, piece by piece. I have been working with them for MONTHS to get this set as “arrears.” I have wanted to throw in the towel on many occasions. It amazes me that the people that are meant to help us make it so difficult for us. And our ex-husbands? The guys that actually are NOT doing what they are supposed to be doing? They have it easy. The burden of proof is on us. It’s exhausting.
    Hang in there. You have many people rooting for you.

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