Many have told me to “fight, fight, fight” against my son’s father for him not spending enough time nor contributing financially to my son’s upbringing. In fact many say that he is just taking advantage of the fact that I won’t press the issue of him getting arrested for lack of child support. Why won’t I be more aggressive when clearly I need the help? The answer is in my devout faith in God.
It all started 12.5 years ago. I was pregnant and no longer in love with my son’s father. We lived together with a great lack of harmony. I joined a Christian church called the NY Church of Christ. My son’s father, which I will name Robert for the sake of his anonymity, began to challenge my need for peace by declaring that this church was a cult. I spent my Wednesday evenings at bible study and Sundays early days at Church service. I enjoyed the serenity I gained through my re-found connection with God and with those who were like me. I asked Robert to join me at one of the meetings so that then he could form his opinion. However, he refused. At the time, he was a very controlling man whom I think felt threatened by the fact that I sought things outside of our relationship. One day, he told me that if I allowed my bible study group to enter our apartment, that he would kick them out. This was the turning point of my conviction that he was just too far removed from God. I grew deeper in the Church and more distant from my relationship. At this point, I told Robert that we should not be intimate while living in the same house. That is when all hell turned loose. Little did he understand that I was already disconnected from him. I felt that in order for me to feel like he was spiritually on my page and not trying to overpower me, I needed him to join me where I was at spiritually. He was bringing me down, but God was preventing that from happening. God was saving me for the sake of my beautiful son.
By the time my son was 7 months, I broke up with him and begged for him to move out. At first he refused but then wanted to keep the apartment and car that was in my name. This is when I knew he truly did not have my best interest at heart. In my mind I was thinking “How dare this man want me and his son to go out in the street and look for another apartment!” Fortunate thing was that the building was owned by my mother’s boyfriend and the car lease was in my name. He was very vindictive afterwards towards me. After he moved out, he tried many maneuvers to make my life impossible from showing up in the morning while I dropped my son at the babysitter’s house and daily screaming in the street “You hoe!” to calling my job 100x calling me names. I had to put a restraining order on him because it got out of hand. The next step was to stop seeing his son. So I took him to court just to create a legal schedule where I did not have to see him. I granted joint custody thinking that everyman is entitled to joint rights to their children. My intentions were so pure and honest. Boy was that the biggest mistake! The court also asked me if I wanted child support and I said no. I didn’t want him for the money. I just wanted him to see his son. He could just pick up my son from babysitter and drop him off their as well. Well, soon then he stopped seeing my son altogether or would pick him up on my time without calling me nor returning my calls. I, of course out of fear, had to get the police involved for kidnapping, but then dropped the charges because I did not want to see my son’s father go to jail. What use would that do to my son.
After 3 years, I finally took him to court for child support. (Right now he owes $85,000 within the system.) At first the checks came in, then nothing. All throughout my son’s life, Robert would make excuses that he just didn’t have time or didn’t have money for my son. By the time my son reached around 5 years old, he launched a company in NYC so that he could hide from the New Jersey child support system. In order for there to be a warrant for his arrest, I would have to be aggressive and request one. (I find that this New Jersey system does not work well.) He currently still tries to hide from the system. Seems like Robert still hasn’t gotten his life together because he lived in a girlfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn for many years and now lives with another one’s apartment in Harlem.
People ask me why did I even have a child with such a man. Well, honestly when we were in college, he was a go getter. His plans were to go to law school. He even worked on Wall Street while going to college. I’m not sure what happened to him to cause him to change for the worse.
My son is 12 years old now and I find myself calling Robert to spend time with his son. I no longer spend my energy informing him of my son’s extra curricular activities. I just feel that after 12 years, it’s not my job to chase him to have a close relationship with my son. Occasionally, he will call my son and even spend some time with him. But its more like an uncle/nephew relationship. I try to place powerful and inspirational men around my son because one day my son expressed to me his disappointment in his dad. He no longer wants to converse with him nor spend time with him which is a sign that he has grown distant from his father. I have expressed this to Robert. But instead of taking this as constructive criticism and positively building upon it, he would bellow, “You don’t tell me what kind of relationship I have with my son! My son loves me! I have a GREAT relationship with him!” I just shake my head.
In 2007, I left corporate america because my son needed me more at home. My job was consuming me. I saw how not having a present father nor a mother at home was destroying my son. In 2008, I hit the worse financial crisis that I had ever been through due to the economy. I asked Robert if he could help but he refused. I asked him if he could buy us some food, but he constantly stated “I don’t have any money now, but maybe in a month.” I understood that I could never rely on him but only God and my family. I had to search for answers in my prayers and conversations with God. I had to give up fighting with Robert and just accept that he was not at the spiritual place of development that my son needed him to be. His warped reality of what a good father was could not be accelerated into a more realistic one. All I could do was to pray for his development. The answers soon came to me. I knew that he was reaping what he sowed. I knew that the amount of dedication he placed in his relationship with my son was going to be the amount of dedication that my son places in him when he gets older. That alone would be his punishment. I, however, could not take his lack of actions personal. If I spent my energy fighting, then it would ONLY bring me into a dark, heavy place. At the end of the day, I was the one who decided to have and bring forth my son. Furthermore, I had to be responsible and create a great life for him and not be dependent on someone else to create a better life for us. My mother raised me to stand strong on my own and that weakness came when you depended on others to make you stand strong.
So this brings me to express why after all this, I don’t take the defensive and aggressive stance with Robert. I already see how my son dislikes spending time with his father. He refuses to call his father back. When asked who he admires, he never places his dad on the list. I already see the karma being presented. And that alone allows me to step back. If his father decides to spend time with his son, I embrace it. I don’t fight those moments although my son fights with me because he rather be with me.
My prayer: I want to thank you God for giving me the strength to raise such a strong-minded boy. Thank you for surrounding me with such wonderful and powerful people. Thank you for giving me such a great support system in my friends and family. Now that my son is going through puberty, please I beg you to place substitute male role models in his life to guide him on the right path to manhood. I pray that my son’s father matures spiritually and realizes what is unfolding in my son’s lack of admiration for him. I pray that Robert has a change of heart and becomes that man who my son needs in his life. I pray that God brings me a wonderful husband one day very soon that can provide the stability and foundation that is lacking in my home now. I pray that my son can learn how a man and women and father should be through my future marriage so that to break the cycle that Robert has created. I pray that all my sacrifice and hard work in dedication to my son’s proper upbringing reap tremendous rewards for the greater good of humanity not just for our family. God I love you and I know that all this is happening with a greater purpose that you have planned for us. So I leave it in your hands.
To all single mothers: I implore you to look within yourself for the energy that is needed to raise a child on your own. It’s not easy. I still struggle financially and emotionally. But just remember my words here. If you can, try to keep your household positive. Sometimes by fighting, it can create such a negative atmosphere and dark energy within you. I am not saying to not take him to court. Fathers should support their children. But at the core, try to keep your energy and intentions positive. In the end, God will replenish all your sacrifices with great rewards. God so far has never let me fall. Deep inside, I feel that my great rewards are coming. I love you sisters. Let’s stay positive together. In that positivity we will only attract positive things.