A friend of mine was discussing Father's Day plans when, mid-sentence, she turned to me and said "Ooops. They don't make Hallmark Cards for your situation, do they?"
We made it through mid-morning before one of the kids sighed heavily from the other room. "Damnit."
"What's up?" I asked, expecting Pepsi in the keyboard or a pile of poo on the floor (from the dog, mind you. The kids haven't done that for AGES.)
"It's Father's Day."
My daughter and I had a good discussion when she got home for the weekend from camp. We talked about all the possibilities of what would happen on Friday. We settled on the most upsetting being the 99.99% chance that he will stand up and turn on the water works and say he's soooooo sorry for what he's done and that he really does love his kids.
We both wondered if we would get thrown out of court for bringing airline sickness bags for everyone and as soon as he started his speech, all make horrible wreching sounds into them.
If he really cared about his kids, he'd just keep his damn mouth shut. What he cares about is having as little damage done to his own ass as possible.
We also discussed the peeling back of the onion that is my evolving understanding of all of the awful things he was and did. Why was I so surprised that he showed up at the name change hearing? Why did I believe that there was a shred of caring left in his body for anyone but himself?
Because he is the master manipulator. Because he will tell anyone anything in order to get his way or cover his ass. I was thrown by an email from his sister that I received when I asked if she was going to show up for him in court. She started spewing out all the bullshit that will no doubt be in his speech on Friday. He's so sorry. He wants the best for his kids. Blah blah blah.
I answered back that if he really wanted the best for his kids, he wouldn't have shown up to contest the name change. Aside from that, he wouldn't have molested our daughter for years. He wouldn't have been physically abusive. He wouldn't have ignored his kids 95% of the time, he wouldn't have been hateful or cruel the remaining 5% of the time.
I was then informed by her that we had two very different opinions about him. (Yeah, mine was formed by the fact that he is a pedophile and did horrible things. Yours was formed by the fact that you haven't lived with him for decades.)
And then it dawned on me. She was just like the mother that made excuses for her kid at the therapists office. All this time I was going under the supposition that the sister was actually the normal one in the family. That his victim complex which played out daily in our lives for 17 years, didn't have anyone supporting it. He existed as the victim in his own head and when the shit got too thick, I called it for what it was.
Which made me a bitch.
But all the puzzle pieces fell into place yesterday. She has seen him about five or six times in 17 years. She fully believes everything he tells her about his sorrow and remorse. I lived with him for 17 years and I can tell you, if there is a single solitary bone in his body that cares about anyone but himself, I would be shocked.
When my son was very young, maybe two or three, he went through a whining stage and always made himself out to be the one wronged. I made sure to consciously stop it every time it happened, get down on his level, and talk about it. There were times when I would contemplate having two whiners in one household and I would think of taking a solo one way flight to Jamaica. At least I had had the ability to change one of them. My son, thankfully, is now the polar opposite of his father.
Which I suppose can be our new standard for Father's Day in this house. Remember what kind of a father your father was? Just do the opposite and you'll be fine.