Monday, December 22, 2008

Stick it out!

Hi dads...
Merry Christmas to you all. I hope this season brings you joy and peace and you take the time to create wonderful Christmas memories with your children. Remember...they don't see you as a divorced dad...just their dad. Their love never changes.
I am writing an encouragement to those guys amongst us who are, or have been, or will be tempted to just "chuck it" and walk away. I know the way things can gang up on us and make abandonment seem like a viable option. The court system can do it. If our children's mom is bent on eliminating us from the lives of our kids it can happen. Job loss, career devastation...a thousand things can happen in our lives that make it seem like leaving and starting over someplace else is the only way we'd live. I know because I have been there...quite recently in fact. If you are a regular reader of my blogs you know that I endured a job loss, subsequent period of unemployment, homelessness, (I was actually sleeping in my car for 3 months) weekends in jail because my ex-wife petitioned the courts to do so because I had lost my income and then my ability to pay support. You name it I was there. I was broken and beaten and I seriously considered leaving Tennessee. But I knew my daughter needed me and would continue to need me. So I stayed. I stuck it out.
I knew the moment would come when it would matter and it came sooner than I thought. Yesterday I got a disturbing phone call from my daughter. She is almost 11 and at a stage where her mom and her are butting heads now and then. Now personally, I see it as her mom's fault. Her mom is 37...Morgan is 10. The adult needs to step up and grow up and not demand the child do the growing. Adulthood will come soon enough. Anyway my daughter called near tears and asked me how long she would be staying with me this weekend. She then asked if she could go home to Delaware with me. (It is her mothers year to have her for Christmas...we alternate) I knew then that something was wrong. I won't go into details but it looks like we are going to modify custody and she will live with me half the time and not once a week and every other weekend like we had been doing. When I hung up I was relieved. I was glad I stuck it out and stayed here...even though I would rather go home. She needed me and she needed to know I was only a phone call away and I could be there in her time of need in minutes and not days or weeks. Sticking it out was the right thing to do and I'm glad I did.
Dads...if you are being tempted to make this painful decision...wait. Pray. Find another solution. Your career isn't as important as your child. Your personal life and growth can be resumed when they reach adulthood. Your child needs you to be there. They need to know that daddy is only a few minutes away. Stick it out men. You never know when that phone call might come and your child will need you right NOW!
That's another way the bow is bent, guys. That's POWER. that's manhood. That's being a real dad.

May the peace of Jesus bless you and strengthen you all during this wonderful season...and forever.


Anonymous said...

HI, I would like to here more about how you made it out of homelessness and to a job. That can be a difficult pit to climb out of, as you know first-hand. Also, how did homelessness impact your visitation? Obviously being jailed had an impact, but how did you maintain custody/visitation throughout all of this?

CraigD2599 said...

I got financial aid and went back to college. I worked demeaning, lousy jobs and savd enough money for the tools I needed to start doing carpentry. (I had been a carpenter many years ago.) I slept in my car and last January a situation presented itself that I could afford and I got a place to live again. During the time I was homeless, it was very hard. I could only take my daughter for a few hours during the day on Saturdays and Sundays and an hour or two after school each week. The jail was weekends only for 15 weekends so during that time I only saw her a few afternoons each week. But I determined to remain in her life. It was hard. It took almost 4 years. But I have a nice little condo that I rent and I see my daughter now and I graduated from college this past May and I wrote a Christmas book during that time and it is coming out next month. God used this whole terrible experience to change my life for the better. But I do miss those years when I couldn't have the normal relationship with my daughter.