Bye Bye Bye
We woke up early on Wednesday morning. I had to take the boys to their doctor appointments to get their shot records and such before school started. I dressed them in theri HEAT jerseys. My 4 yr old wearing the SHAQ jersey and my 5 yr old sporting #3 for WADE.
After our appointment we came home and I fixed the boys lunch while Tamara and I looked for car rentals online. She made a reservation for me and I found a ride to pick it up. By the time I got back home I was exhausted. I was supposed to pack for our trip butI gave the boys a snack and took a nap instead.
When I woke up it was time to take the boys to see their Dad to say goodbye. When I first considered moving to Atlanta, I called his mom and informed her, but I told her I was only considering it. I asked her to ask him if he would consider keeping the boys for a couple of months until i got settled. I knew he wouldn’t do it, I just wanted to see what he would say. She called me back saying that YES he would keep the boys, but to let him know when I was leaving.
He’s offering to keep the boys so easily? Hell naw! Even when I was sick, he tried to drop the boys off to whoever he could, something is funny about this. I shrugged it off because I was unsure about the move anyway. Moving takes money and money is what I didn’t have.
But since I decided on a Tuesday that I was leaving on Thursday to visit and see if things would work out, I called his Mom (the go-between because of the restraining order) to let him know that I would be gone for a few weeks with the boys to see if I could find a job in Atlanta. I asked her to get his opinion on the matter and to let me know when he wanted to see the boys to say goodbye. She called me back saying, “He said it is fine. He wants to see them on Wednesday evening around six.” I told her that we already had plans to have dinner at my Mom’s house, but I would see if I could adjust the plans because I knew my boys wanted to see their Dad too.
My boys were excited about going to Georgia to “check it out” as I put it. But I was NOT excited about the drive up there. NOT AT ALL.
When we arrived at their Dad/grandmother’s house their father was sitting on the front porch looking pitiful. This was the first time I laid eyes on him since our court date in January because after the ruling he was no longer allowed to have any contact with me.
From the look on his face, I could tell he was sad. I felt kinda bad that he was sad about his son’s possibly leaving the state, but I figured that this wasn’t a permanent move unless things worked out for me there. Until I found a job, it was just a vacation.
As I sat in the front seat, I unlocked the doors and my sons climbed out of the car. “Come here son,” he called out to my 5 year old. My son ran up to his daddy and his daddy reached down and handed him an envelope. “Give this to your mother,” he told my BooBoo.
My BooBoo eagerly ran to hand me the letter and waved goodbye to me as they all entered the tiny house.
Hmm…A letter from my Baby Daddy. The last time I saw one of these I was submitting to the judge as evidence of his verbal abuse. I was hoping it was money to help us with the trip, but I don’t know I allow myself to even think that this man wants to help us. I torture myself when I do that because I’m always wrong.
I don’t drive away in my little white Chevy Cobalt. I open the letter and read (paraphrased):
I was informed today that you are taking my boys to Atlanta in search of employment for 3 weeks. It would be difficult to search for jobs with them there. They are both excited about the new school year with the gifted program and our 4 yr old on the cusp of learning to write it would be detrimental to remove them at this stage especially when you have not secured employment. Please reconsider allowing them to stay with me, at least until you solidify employment. Please.
I drove away in deep thought, somehow taking my usual route home without even realizing I was driving.
Leave my boys with him? What is he up to? Why would I do that? I don’t feel right about this. But he’s right. it would be easier to look for a job if the boys stayed here for a little while. He is their father. He takes very good care of them. But I’ll miss them. I don’t know what to do. COuld I be without them for 3 weeks? Man…I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this. What if I leave and he doesnt give my kids back? I don’t trust him.
I don’t even get ot of the car when I notice that I am now parked in front of my house. I call my Mama and tell her about the letter. “He’s their father, Tee. Let him be a father. Let him see what it’s like to take care of them day in and day out. He needs that experience.”
“But I don’t think he’s being honest. I think he’s up to something. What if he doesn’t give me my kids back?”
“Girl…he won’t try to keep your kids. He barely sees them now, accept when he has time. He’ll probably be throwing them over here like he always does when he has anything better to do. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of them. You never know. He’s trying to step up. I’m actually kind of proud of him.”
I hang up the phone and place my face in my upturned palms leaning on the steering wheel. I cry and cry and cry. I don’t feel right about leaving my boys but…if he’s willing to help I have to let him.
I get out of my car and walk into my house. “Man,” I say and take a whiff. “I smell like corn chips and old bologna. I need a shower.”
But there’s no time for personal hygiene as a light bulb goes off in my head. If I am going to leave my boys with their dad I have to cover my tail. My printer’s broken so I hand write a letter to him:
Mr. Baby Daddy,
I have considered your offer to keep the boys while I am away in Atlanta searching for employment. I plan to take you up on your offer providing you comply with my wishes. While I am away I would like for you to allow my sons to call me at your convenience with updates about their progress. I would also like for you to allow them to call/see my mama because I know that she would love to see them.
Since this is a temporary arrangement, I would like for you to agree that when I call to tell you that I am ready to receive my boys, you will bring them to me, whereever I may reside.
I call my Baby Daddy’s mother and ask her to ask him if he would be willing to talk to me face to face about his request.
She calls me back, “He said he doesn’t need to talk to you. That everything he wanted to say is in that letter and he either wants a yes or a no or you can write him a letter in response.”
“Well, tell him that I want to hear him say to my face that when I call him, he will bring my kids back to me.”
“Well,” she says hotly. “Why does he have to say that? Even if he does say it, he can change his mind at any time! People change their minds all the time!”
“Hold up!” I interrupt her. “Let me call my Mama and put you on 3 way with her because I want her to hear how you are talking to me.”
For some reason both he and his mother get slick with me ALL THE TIME when I am alone, but both behave as charming as presidential candidates two weeks before election when others are around. She has often come to me apoligizing for her slick mouth offering the explanation, “Well, he’s my only son. It’s always been just me and him.”
We hang up and I call her back and she’s as sweet as pie ofcourse. My Mama isn’t on the phone though. My Mama isn’t interested in petty crap like that.
“I have a letter that I want your son to read and if he signs it then he can keep the boys until I get back,” I tell her. “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.
I don’t even take a shower though I need to. I hop back into my rental car and glide over there. I walk in and my boys greet me with big hugs as if I had been gone for a whole day.
Their father is sitting on the couch looking at the floor. My 4 yr old is nestled comfortably under his arm. I stand in front of him and hand him the letter with a smile. He doesn’t look up at me. He reads the letter, stands up and signs it beneath my signature.
I smile and fold the letter. I reach out to my boys and explain to them what is about to happen.
“Well boys, guess what? Daddy says he’ll miss you too much if you go to Georgia with me to check it out. So he wants you to stay with him for a little while.”
“A little while?” they ask.
“Yep, a little while. Mommy is going to Georgia to see if she can find a job but I’m sad because I know you are going to have so much fun here with your Daddy! you know how he always takes you to do fun stuff and see cool things like the zoo and stay in nice hotels and play fight? Man…you’re gonna have all the fun and I’m not.” I say in a whiny voice.
“YEAH!” my boys squeal. “YAY!”
“Why don’t you bring me a treat next time you go somewhere fun? You’re supposed to always think of your Mommy.”
“Mommy, I hope one day you can go with me and my Daddy to have fun.”
“Maybe one day, but for now, I want you to have as much fun as you can and tell me all about it ok?”
“YEAH!!!!!!!” they shout in unison.
“I love you Boo Boo’s. Be good for Daddy and grandma. I promise to call and write you a letter.”
“A letter?” my 5 year old asks. “In the mailbox?”
“That’s right,” I tell him and smile. “A whole letter for you in the mailbox with your name on it. And I want you to open it and read it aloud to your brother so he can know what I’m saying.”
“Good job, Boo Boo! Give me hugs and kisses, Boo Boo’s!”
We all hug and cuddle and kiss.
“You’re going to Georgia Mommy?” my 4 year old asks as I walk back out to my car.
“I sure am, ” I respond and blow him a kiss.
I sit down and crank up the car and take one last look at my boys. My heart aches. My eyes fill with tears.
I really hope this is worth it.
to be continued…