It’s that time of year again. Today is one of those days that comes twice a year, the 4th August and the 22nd October. The dates my two younger children were born.
These two dates are engraved on my mind and each time they arrive I can guarantee that it’s going to be a bad day. Just over three and a half years on, the feelings haven’t improved, they are as intense as they were that very first Thursday afternoon when I sat outside their school gates waiting to pick them up and take them home for an overnight stay only to receive a call from my lawyer that contact has been withdrawn. That moment was devastating for me. As the voice spoke in that “cold matter of fact” way that all lawyers speak to be able to distance themselves from the situation, my heart sank with every painful word.
I remember first feeling angry and on the point of doing something I would later regret but then it dawned on me that my two children were about to run out of the school door in 20 minutes time with that usual expectant excitement of what we were about to do. Maybe collecting their new bikes from my house and going off to the park and later McDonald’s or KFC for dinner. Yes, I know it’s not healthy but it’s what your kids like to do and it’s where you find single dads with their kids for those precious few hours a week they are allowed to spend with their children. It’s a sad thought but it’s a reality for millions of children and fathers in the UK and around the world.
The thought of them running expectantly from that door and having sat in school all afternoon looking forward to seeing me and then the realization and deep disappointment that I wasn’t their suddenly dawning on them without adequate explanation from “her” was too much to bare and the anger immediately turned to what I can only describe as an intense and deep black sadness deep inside my chest. Indescribable to anyone who has never felt it. After 20 minutes sitting there stunned with sadness I eventually turned my key, started the car, slowly put it into gear and moved very slowly off as I drove past the school gates in what seemed to be very slow motion. Knowing that it was going to be a while before they saw me again.
Little did I know at that moment, that three and a half years on I would be sitting here still waiting. Not sitting in the park watching them on the skate ramp or riding their bikes up and down but sitting at my desk blogging for the 70th time about my experiences and feelings.
I sit here partly concentrated on what I am typing and partly fighting a sort of black despair that is pushing it’s was into my mind with every word I type. Each time I stop at the end of a sentence it seems to allow the darkness time to creep a little bit further into my soul. You know I’m not even sure if anyone even takes the time to read my stuff or even cares at all and sometimes I get to a point where I’m ready to delete the bloody lot, close my Facebook and Twitter knowing that probably I’m thinking and then typing only to myself. What is the point?
Regarding Facebook. I have, I think at the moment 3,200 and something “friends” and I use the term “friends” loosely. But when I post something I get around 10 to 15 likes. Which means logically that only just under .5% of your friends actually look at the post. How many of them actually opened the post and then looked at the text. Then how many of them actually read it to the end. Realistically! maybe my mum and Rose. So two.
But still, that’s not why I write, I write as therapy. I found this out about myself a long time ago. Because if I don’t, I start to slide into that blackness. Writing my blog seems to allow me a vent for my sadness, my frustration and deep feelings of apathy. Yes apathy because you do feel helpless and unable to control the situation. A father actually has no control over separation procedures whether in or during a family court process or over if or when he sees his children. Because once the decision has been made by “her” then there is nothing he can do. In terms of equality he is less than a second class citizen. Being black in the 1950s had more hope of equality than a father in the 21st century has of being accepted on equal terms with a mother.
Yes, it might come as a shock to some but fathers have the same and I mean the same feelings about their children as mothers do. We might not have carried them for 9 months but we implanted equally, we watched and listened as it grew inside you, went to the anti-natal classes, cried at the moment of birth and sat up in bed with you while you fed them in the middle of the night. Yet what was all that worth in the end? What was it worth when the state, the courts and the mother turned their back on you? Nothing and even less than nothing. Because when that woman has finished with your mind and body and decides it’s time to move on, she trashes you like a piece of rubbish worthy only for the trash.
All I can say this morning is, Happy Birthday Scott. You are 13 today. I am sitting here typing and thinking about you and you are, well who knows.
A CHILDS FEELINGS