09 June, 2008

in loco parentis

I don’t know how to be a part of my kids lives. I get frustrated when they don’t return my calls or my e-mails, but part of me is also relieved. I can’t be either a friend or a parent to them from over here. I couldn’t even be a parent when I was still married to their mom, because she was two faced in her parenting; she was making me out to be the bad guy and spoiling the kids when I was on maneuvers. 
So, for that among other things, I left her. She stayed in Germany. She stayed in Germany and sued me for sole custody. I felt I had little choice but to acquiesce. I had wars to fight, after all. 
Years later when her parenting style bore fruit and she was shackled with two unruly and undisciplined children who would not show her respect, I was expected to just drop everything and take the kids. At least that is what my dad expected me to do. I was in the middle of getting my own life back together and I didn’t feel like it would be best for the kids to be passed off to me. Not only would they feel betrayed, but I would not be able to fix what had gone wrong and still get my life straightened out. I had fucked my life up pretty well. 
I know it was selfish; it was also self defensive. I also try to rationalize that it was best for them, also. If I am ever going to be able to be a positive role in their life I had to get my shit together. Looking back, it is probably good for them that I left. I was turning into my dad. I was drinking more and more and I was getting abusive; it was only verbal, but that is how it starts, right? 
I have enough self loathing as it is. I have made almost every mistake a man can make but at least I can look at myself in the mirror and say that I never beat my kids. I don’t believe in corporal punishment. But to raise a kid without raising your hands requires, I think, a combined front from both parents. Our rules were being sabotaged by the person who was supposed to have my back when I wasn’t there. It is no wonder the kids were becoming belligerent. But it is not their fault. It is mine and hers. 
But how do I make amends now? I absolutely suck at long distance relationships. So, it seems, do they. I should write them snail mail and just pretend that they can’t write me back. Just keep writing them no matter what. 

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