Friday, October 08, 2010

The Flip Side of The Flip Side

My friend, Musing Mother, posted an interesting blog about the best and the worst among us. She cited my previous blog about Liza Minelli. She then went on to speak about the ongoing battle between the PAPs who are presently in custody of the boy, Grayson Vaughn and his natural father, Benjamin Wyrembek. This battle is gone into with more detail over on Firstmother Forum, by Lorraine Dusky and Jane Edwards.

There is a lot being said about father's rights, these days. I certainly have respect for the father who steps up to the plate, admits paternity and want to be included in the responsibility for his child. I guess that number is increasing but I find it odd that, now that unwed mothers are no longer seen as shameful sluts, the number of fathers that come forth has gone up. In my day, very few fathers had the respect they should have had for the mothers of their children. In the case of Musing Mother and a few other friends, that was there. Her boyfriend came and tried to rescue her and their son. Quite a few dads stuck by their girlfriends even after they had been coerced into surrender and eventually married them. To me, that was all too little too late, but it was more than I got from the fathers of my two surrendered children.

Let's get that second baby out of the way first. There is no more disrespect any male can show any female than to take what she doesn't freely give. That is a no-brainer. He saw me as soiled goods who had the temerity to say no, so he felt justified in asserting his manly might. Yeah, right. Thank God for rape crisis counseling. The pain of the loss of my son that was conceived of that encounter far outweighed the pain of the violation. Besides by the time it happened, I was at the point of believing I deserved no better.

The real story for me and for many disillusioned and abandoned unmarried mothers of the EMS is the one concerning the father of my firstborn. When I saw the movie, "The Dark Knight," of all the villains involved I was disturbed the most by Tommy Two-Face played by one of my favorite actors, Tommy Lee Jones. Yes, Heath Ledger created a memorable Joker, but Tommy Two-Face gave me chills for a while. His constant battle with himself was classic. I realized that he reminded me of the father of my firstborn and that was some insight I would rather not have experienced.

I really think that, in his own way, he loved me, but he was young and a mill hill bad boy. His values were the same as the rest of his Bible Belt neighbors even as he flaunted his disregard of them as the teen rebel. That meant that, in his mind, there were girls you married and there were girls you f*****. I started out as one of the first and wound up the latter, in his estimation. Even though he was the one who pushed the idea of a sexual relationship, when I caved in and said "yes," I became unworthy of his respect. He was, I think, confused by his own feelings. Even though he denied paternity, and lied about me and tried to convince everyone that I was promiscuous and untrustworthy, he kept popping into my life, wanting to see me, I thought just to use me, but I know, now, that there was a little bit more. He was having trouble reconciling having real feelings for "that kind of a girl." Well, didn't it just suck to be him? When I was in the hospital awaiting surgery to remove a congenitally defective kidney, he called to make sure I was OK. How he found out I was there, I will never know.

But, I learned, after a lot of hard work, that being wanted and loved is great, and it is even nice to have someone concerned about me, but it doesn't mean diddly if there isn't some respect on the plate, as well. When I got married the first time, it was to someone who was grateful for the attention of an attractive female. His self-esteem was pretty low, as well. We didn't respect ourselves or each other and that made for some pretty nasty early years until I started getting a handle on what I really wanted to be for my children and for myself. We are both better off and have more respect for each other now that we are divorced.

I had very little trust for men. Add in the fact that my father deserted us for 9 years of my childhood, and you can see how the behavior of the father of my firstborn really compounded the problem. I'm not really sure how I regained it and, perhaps, I still hold some trust back, but I am comfortable now, in my own skin and with my husband. I can feel his respect and consideration as well as his love and desire. It's a killer combination.

So the fact that fathers are stepping up to the plate, now, is great. But they have a long way to go to make up for how things were and they are going to have to prove themselves to me, big time. When the men who participated in the engineering of our tragedies from the EMS stand up and take responsibility, then I might regain all my trust.

We have been the ones to take the brunt of the punishment, grief and pain. We are the ones who are seen as the "abandoners" by our adult children when most of us just flat had no frickin' say in the matter. We are the ones who receive the anger and vilification of our adult reunited children, even as they say they love us. And the fathers? Well, it seems the double standard is alive and well and many of these adult children think they are just the bee's knees. Many times, this comes at the expense of the mother. It wasn't beneath the father of my child to lie before she was born and it wasn't beneath him to lie, again, when they met at reunion. Luckily, she believes me.

So c'mon Daddies. I'd like to see more than just caring for your offspring. I'd like to see you do them the great service of showing a little respect to their mothers. I've had passion and I've had respect. I'd rather have both but if I had to choose, I'd go with the latter. Thank Goddess and my wonderful husband, I don't have to choose.


Mairaine said...

Ah, movies and fathers! My oldest son's father was the perfect Count Dracula. Born not far from Transylvania, he has the accent, the European manners, and he was a fencer! Even had a sword. Drank cognac and red wine (or was that wine...??) He had a dark side too, dual major in philosophy and biology. When he finished school, he worked among the dead, professor of anatomy at a medical school. His "patients" never complained, he said:-) He also had pointed ears and green cat eyes. His son LOVES Halloween and has had some great gruesome costumes.

Robin said...

Well, I think that was probably good for you, Mairaine, but not quite the point I was trying to make. The fact is that many of us from the BSE were abandoned and treated like pariahs by the fathers of our babies. The boys are gonna have to grow up a bit more before I take them at their word.

Sandy Young said...

I think that the fathers currently stepping up are to be commended, but as y0u say, too little too late. That's what I thought years ago, and I see it still...