Uncle M came up with a nickname for the girls' bio dad. When we talk about him, in our secret way if the girls are in earshot, we call him the Redneck Over Yonder... or the Redneck for short. We try not to talk about him in front of the girls at all, but at times, it is unavoidable (thank goodness for texting!) The Redneck does love his daughters in his own way. He wants what is best for them, IF it involves what is best for him. He may mature past this, but this is how it stands in the present. He took me to court in January 2010 for custody, and after a few pretrial hearings, extended the actual custody hearing till July of 2010, then finally backed out of it saying he's not ready yet. Since January 2010, he has had court ordered visitations every other weekend for two hours, and we may extend that parenting time if I deem that things are going well. Most of the time, he seems bored about an hour and a half into the visit, and the girls usually are too. We are very limited to the range of meeting places, as the Redneck doesn't have a drivers license or car right now. He used to have a bicycle, but damaged that about 4 weeks ago when he ran into a truck. So we usually meet at the library if the weather is bad, or the park if it is good. The Redneck generally expects these two young ladies to do things that he finds interesting or fun, and this usually doesn't work well for either of them because they are both of strong mind and will in that area. When he is bored, he also likes to pick fights with me at the visitation when he is getting restless and ready to go. He will tell me The Vampire doesn't need counseling, or that he might be changing his work schedule and will need to start seeing them thru the week instead, and that he wants me to bring them to the community church dinners that he frequents (he is always on the brink of being homeless). Honestly... the only thing I hold against my sister, is that she brought this dead weight of dealing with the Redneck into my life.
In the last four weeks, he has seen them once. He was doing fairly well with visitations, but has begun to falter. I believe it is because he is back to running with his drug addict friends, and doing drugs himself again. The visit he missed four weeks ago started with no phone call, and no answer when I called him (his phone had been shut off). On the day of the visit, he called at 4:00 (1.5 hours AFTER the visit was supposed to start) and left me a sob story on my voice mail about how he forgot about the visit, and was at a friend's house, and how he wrecked his bicycle and fractured his leg, etc. Two weeks later when we saw, him, he seemed OK, and cut the visit short cause he was afraid he was going to have to walk in the rain. He always drags out his raincoat and lays on a sob story about how "daddy doesn't want to get wet" and makes his daughters feel sorry for him before he leaves. I hate when he does this, and really don't know how to handle it. It's pathetic in my eyes, and an adult shouldn't guilt trip a child to care about them. But that is something I need to think on and talk to their therapist about.
He was supposed to see our angels this past Saturday. I waited and waited for a call asking me if we could meet up and he could see them. By noon on Saturday, I decided a visit was not going to happen, and went about our regular routine of nap for the Vampire, and a lil Sprout time for the Drama Queen, and resigned myself to the chore of continuing to paint the fence while Uncle M worked on putting my greenhouse together. We have been working on these two projects for the past three weekends now, and are so near completion of them both that it makes me giddy, and I would much RATHER do these projects than to be forced to drive into Franklin to subject the girls to guilt trips and listen to more of his insanity. I look at my phone around 2:30 and realize I missed a call around 1:13, I'm so busy working and singing, that I didn't hear my phone ring. It is the Redneck. He has left me a message saying that he's sorry the call is so late, that he just bought minutes for his phone, and that he can't make today's visitation and would like to know if we can't just do dinner on Sunday evening.
I plan our months a month in advance. I know... sounds crazy, but I do. I like to keep my mom in the loop of what's up so we can keep the three kids together now and then, and I like to make sure she and dad can help if possible on the weekends I have to work as I have no childcare on those Saturdays. I am also dating a man from out of state, so it helps us to allot time to travel and see his family, or for time for them to travel and see us. I really can't do a visit on Sunday evening, so I call him to see if maybe we can do a late breakfast on Sunday instead. He keeps me chatting on the phone about these jobs he is doing (and I'm sure it is all under the table, tax free, and there is no child support being paid), about his delusions of grandeur and how he is going to tell his boss he won't settle for the $10.00 per hour any longer but wants to be getting 30% of all jobs (they just signed on for a 25K job and the 30% of that would be 7500.00) from now on because he should be considered skilled labor. He tells me how he should have his license fines paid in about a month, and will be back on his feet. I usually take this as a threat, because when he is "back on his feet" he has assured me he WILL get the girls from me, and there is nothing I can do about it. I shudder at this. I can't see them being treated well, or living a good life if he were their sole parent, but I have to push these fears out of my mind and keep moving along for the sake of my sanity and those two gorgeous little girls. I finally get a word in edgewise and ask him if we can do Sunday breakfast, he says he will get with his associate, and then let me know if that will be possible, because he may have to go out and look at a new job he and his associate are working on Sunday morning. I say ok, then go back to the routine of the day - seeing red paint for hours on end.
Around 7:30 pm on Saturday 9/25, I finally hear back from the Redneck. He informs me that he can not see them on Sunday as he will be busy, but would like to see them on the following weekend. I let him know that we have plans that weekend, and that won't be possible, as it is NOT his visitation weekend. He then asks me what plans so I have for HIS children, and why can't he see them when he wants to. I tell him that we are taking them to a Pumpkin Fest associated with the Vampire's school, and will be gone from 9:00a - around 5:00p. He then asks me where and if he can come. I can't tolerate him all day long. I really didn't want this to be an outing that involved him. It is something that the girls, Uncle M and I did last year... just us. But I can't tell him that he can't go to a public place. So I tell him if he can get a ride out there, that he can join us, and try to tell him fees of everything, but he seems disinterested at the time. He says he will let us know if he will be joining us, then tells me goodbye. I hang up. Completely depressed. Uncle M re-assures me that the Redneck will not be able to find a ride all the way out in the boonies where we are going, and that we WILL NOT be offering him a ride home IF (huge honking IF) he does make it. I'm hoping he won't show. I find out later, after the initial conversation just where he was that day, and who he was with instead of making time to see his kids. It's OK with me, I just hope they are never hurt by him. I will protect them from that pain as long as I can. I am their court appointed guardian. It is MY JOB to protect them... and aside from that - I love them as I've never loved anyone in my life.