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Sunday, May 15th, 2016 02:17 pm
I know there are AMAZING fathers out there in the world somewhere. The kind of dads who are so competent they look at you funny because why the hell would they be anything else. Who love their kids fiercely and get comments about how it's so nice to see a dad being involved with their kid and they just sort of stare back and go 'Uh. Yeah?' because what else would they be?

If you are or know one of these dads, ALL THE KUDOS and appreciation to you. You rock. -Fist bump- This post is not about or for you, so please don't take it personally.

I just don't see many competent dads around me these days.**

Back in January, I shared the news that I'm going to be a co-parent. We are now literally days from the impending arrival. My future minion/nephew is set for induced labor on the morning of Tuesday May 17th. (Coincidentally, I laughed so hard when Dreamwidth informed me that's [personal profile] punkpinkpower's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE YOU'RE GETTING BABY FIC. Kidding. Probably.) I am officially spending my last few hours as an unattached adult. (Excluding my AMAZING girlfriend and her adorable kids, of course. ♥)

I am excited, terrified, and still occasionally questioning if this is all an elaborate prank for which I will END Shi-chan.**



Shortly after my January announcement post, Shi-chan and the one I now refer to as Douchebiggle, had a Big Fight. Storming out of a restaurant, 'don't talk to me' fight. Didn't speak for more than a month.

It started out seemingly small.

Back in January, a friend of Shi-chan's volunteered herself to plan a baby shower. Shi-chan insisted that I be part of the planning, because I told her I'd throw one, but I suck at actually planning parties. (i.e. Social Activities. Ugh. -Shivers-) Said friend did 95% of the work. I offered suggestions, commentary, and support - as I am best at doing - and pretty much tried to handle the all of two things she asked me to help out with.

Then once day, I saw a Facebook post from the Douchebiggle, inviting all his friends and family to the baby shower 'we' are throwing, and telling them to message him to RSVP.

I was pissed. Royally, seeing red, unable to stop raging, I want to scream at you, you asshole pissed. He hadn't said a word to me, the friend doing all the work, or even Shi-chan beforehand. He just found out there was going to be a baby shower and invited everyone he knew without even checking to make sure how many people we could have in the space being rented. Shi-chan had to tell him he'd upset me before he even realized that there might be a problem. And his response when he messaged me to ask why I was mad at him, and I explained I felt insulted and offended by his actions? 'Well no one was including me on planning anything.'

I wrote him a letter back. A long, detailed letter, explaining why I was offended, why he wasn't invited to help with planning when the party was for he and Shi-chan, and that I felt like he was dismissing the problem. And because I felt like I needed to, I took a chance and went on to explain that there was a larger problem here before going into detail about the things he'd been doing that Shi-chan had been upset by. (e.g. putting off important things she needed him to do, not wanting to participate in planning for the baby, not bothering to research anything about infants, just ... distancing himself from the whole situation and leaving things up to her - and by default me - to handle.) It wasn't the nicest of letters, but I tried to be as nice about it as I felt that I could. I used my own dad, who hadn't really known how to connect to me when I was a kid and who I still love and care about, as an example. I tried to explain that Shi-chan and I have been friends for nearly twenty years now and had already planned for a kid before, so we don't have to think about all the moral debates and rules and how to make it work, and that we needed to work with him to get him on the same page that we were. I even had Shi-chan read it over to make sure there was nothing I'd said she didn't agree with, and to make sure I wasn't being too mean.

His reply was probably as polite as he felt he could be. He referred to me as 'the roommate' three times while stating that 'the roommate doesn't get a say'. He also took the example of my dad as an implication that I was calling him a deadbeat. Suffice to say I took offense. I tried to answer him three times before I realized how many curse words I was using and gave in to what I'd promised Shi-chan shortly after I'd agreed to be her co-parent: I told her someone was trying to say I wasn't a parent, and I needed her to handle it.

Cue the storming out Big Fight.

I learned shortly after that he'd unfriended and blocked me on Facebook. Not Shi-chan; she was forced to unfriend him herself a bit later, because all of his posts were making her angry. More recently, the amazing friend who threw the baby shower had to unfriend him for the same reason.

Fast forward through a month of him having to be forcibly told by multiple people to leave Shi-chan alone and let her calm down (he still sent her a message on Facebook anyway), followed by silence on his end when she finally told him she was ready to talk. At this point, I'd decided I was done trying to be his friend and advocate, as he clearly didn't need my help, and he could go screw himself. Fast forward through months of Shi-chan constantly throwing up from stress while I tried to cheer her up and keep her fed. Through him apparently telling his friends, family, and their co-workers, that she was ignoring him/he was trying to be involved but she wouldn't let him/ect. ect.

They finally started exchanging letters again.

He sent a long detailed letter about how he wants certain things to happen for him to be involved with the kid. Specifically only he and she make decisions as they 'did the dance', some things like spanking and punishments and not wanting him to drink sodas, talking about his money problems, and then insisting that she not move out of Texas because it wasn't fair to him. (She told him when they started dating that we plan to move closer to family/friends/My Amazing Girlfriend in five years or so. Before there was a kid. She told him that plan hadn't changed when she found out she was pregnant, and he was welcome to come with if he wanted.) He ended the letter with three 'options', as he put it: 1) only the two of them are responsible for this kid, 2) they battle it out in court, or 3, he 'opts out' entirely from the kid's life.

She replied, taking the time to answer everything he proposed, highlighting text and answering below every few paragraphs. She had me read it to make sure she was being clear and not angry. I had my Amazing Girlfriend and her heart sister read it. Later she had two more friends go over it for her just to be sure that she hadn't been out of line somewhere and missed it.

He answered back that she'd 'obviously picked option 3', and he'd be there for the kid if he comes looking for him.

I've got a lot of feelings about this. Anger being the most obvious, of course. For demanding ultimatums, for ignoring her wishes, for trying to insist that she not move closer to her own family because 'it wasn't fair to him'. For never, ever once, mentioning the minion by his name. Just 'the kid'. For hurting her. For making her feel guilty, because she feels like it's her fault that her kid is going to have to grow up without a dad. For thinking he can 'opt out' at all and move on with his life like this kid never happened.

Grief. Because some day I have to explain to my kid why his dad isn't around. Because I have to see him hurt and confused over something that isn't his fault and hope that he learns he deserves so much better than what he almost had.

Guilt, because there is a big part of me that says this is my fault. That if I hadn't been angry over the baby shower and never written him that letter, it never would have come to this. That tells me without me in the picture, he'd have a mom and a dad because the entire main basis of the argument would never have happened. And it hurts, because I know, and I remind myself, constantly, that it's not my fault his dad is a fucking selfish asshat who keeps claiming he's the victim, that if it wasn't this he'd have found some other excuse. That from the beginning I wanted my kid to have three parents in his life and I tried so hard to make it work.

It's not my fault, and I'm going to have to tell myself that for the rest of my life. Hopefully one day I'll actually start to believe it.

Two weeks after Shi-chan asked me to be her co-parent, I admitted to her that my greatest fear was being told by someone that I wasn't a 'real parent', that this baby wasn't mine, too. She told me that if anyone ever said that to me, to let her handle it. And I have.

There are three people who I most feared telling me that. The first hasn't happened yet, and I still live in fear that it will. The second, I almost expect whether it's now or later. And the third? That's the one I'm living with the results of right now.

There's a fourth one that's started to slip into my thoughts more recently, though. One day I'm going to have to sit him down to explain everything, and see his face when I do. And I'm terrified that he's going to say I'm not a 'real parent', and blame me because he doesn't have a dad.

But that's someday.

Right now, I have a partially clean apartment full of baby things and chores to do. I have my Heart Sister, who I make jokes with about evictions and try to remind her it's just two more days. I've got anxious cats to reassure because they know Something Is Up and they do not like it. I've got my Amazing Girlfriend who laughs at me when I'm in New Parent Mode and reminds me daily how incredibly lucky I am to have her in my life. My family is getting bigger, and that's wonderful and amazing and scary all at once. ♥

In two days I'll have Z, my baby nephew, and that's when everything changes.




* I originally planned to rant about another deadbeat jackass in this post. I rant out of steam before I could properly find the words for ranting after a lot of keyboard smash and raging about being an asshole to your kids.
** I told her this. She laughed and told me she still has to look down and remind herself there's a baby in there sometimes.

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