When the kids and I left CP behind in California, we had no idea what was ahead of us but we were hopeful. I was hopeful in a new beginning for me and the kids were hopeful that their “Pop” would be coming soon behind us. I knew that wasn’t going to happen but I let them hope. They were excited about the plane trip, the 3 week stay at my sister’s house, and our new house when it was ready for us to move in.
We moved into our new home (which was built in the 50’s but had been remodeled) in early September and the kids loved that they had a huge yard (many acres) to run and play in. The house was small and they had to share a room, but they were little yet. They didn’t care.
I had written CP a letter while we were staying at my sister’s house in August to say a few things that I needed to get off of my chest. I made it perfectly clear that it was over and if he chose to come out here, he would not be living with us. I encouraged him to call, send cards, gifts, etc., to the kids because after all he was still their father. I offered to send him newspapers from the area with truck driving job offers in case he did move out here to be close to the kids. I would never try to keep a man from his children unless he was a sexual predator or a murderer, or something equally as sinister. CP wasn’t a bad person; he was just a dumb ass who never learned how to be a parent, or an adult either for that matter.
Our first Christmas in Missouri, CP sent the kids bicycles. I was surprised, as you can imagine, and hoped that this would be the start of him actually trying to be a parent. I wasn’t working yet so I was broke but I made sure the kids made their “Pop” Christmas cards and other artwork as gifts. He managed to call and wish them a Merry Christmas, which made me happy for the kids. They were excited to hear from him. When we had our first snow that year I sent photos of the kids and their very first snowman! We didn’t have snow where we lived in California, so the kids were excited. They were equally excited to share the photos with their “Pop.”
Each holiday that rolled around, I made sure the kids took the time to make cards and other artwork for CP. It didn’t matter what the holiday was; they sent him a card on Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc. I sent him school photos, photos I had taken, and copies of their report cards and notes from teachers, etc. We even picked out little gifts for his birthday. He sent a card or two and called a couple of times but the times we heard from him was few and far between.
SR’s first birthday here in Missouri was a fun one. We went to the Animal Paradise, which is a drive-thru zoo! My daughter had chicken pox and I didn’t realize it until late in the day. I always wondered how many kids she gave it to! My son, CF, had it within the next couple of days so they were completely covered with pox and calamine lotion! CP called them during that week, and they were so excited to tell him about their “spots all over” and the trip to the zoo! After they finished talking to him it was my turn. I knew he would have questions because they were talking so fast he probably couldn’t catch half of it!
I answered his questions and told him how much the kids missed him and that he really should try and call more often because they really enjoyed talking to him. His response: “It hurts me too much.” I about came unglued. I responded back in a not-so-nice tone of voice, “YOU? It hurts YOU too much to call and talk to them? How the fuck do you think THEY feel when they don’t hear from you? Do you think it makes them feel good that their Pop doesn’t call or send them cards anymore?” He started to speak but I cut him off because I knew what was coming. “Don’t you dare put the blame on me! Yes, I took the kids and left you. That’s no excuse for you to not stay in touch with your own children!” The conversation, as you can imagine, didn’t last long after that.
I continued to encourage the kids to draw pictures and make cards. I continued sending CP photos and report cards from school. We were here about 2 years when I finally stopped. As I mentioned before, he never acknowledged anything we sent. If the kids came up with the idea on their own to make “Pop” something, then I helped them in doing so but I stopped dropping the idea in their path. He never acknowledged any of the gifts, artwork, or cards anyway. Not once. Not one thank you. I didn’t expect him to thank ME but it would have been nice for the kids to hear those words!
We never heard from him again until he called regarding his court ordered child support 10 years after we had been here. You can read about that here. Now the kids are grown with children of their own, and he hasn’t made any effort to get in touch with them. He most likely never will.