This has been one hell of a year. My 19 year old daughter moved out this last weekend. Helping her has been very bitter sweet. While I’m proud she did it basically on her own and I know she can do it. I am bummed out big time she’s leaving. Kali was born when I was 20. She’s my only child and I spent a few years separated from her.
Thank God, the last 6 years or so I’ve had her full time and even though I wasn’t perfect, we have a good relationship. So, why the absence? Why was I neglectful at times? Why was I so depressed for the first several years of our court ordered “justice”? Why didn’t I take every opportunity to make the best out of every minute we had? Well, regret sucks and I certainly have a lot of that. I wish I had been stronger to forget everything but her when given the opportunity to spend time with her. My “upbringing” was such, I thought if you don’t hit your kids you’re good enough.
Low expectations for fatherhood. Well, I had them, my ex had em, and wouldn’t ya know, the courts agreed. Apparently as far as the “family court” system is concerned, women speak gospel. Men are liars, abusive, and addicts. We went to “mediation”. This obviously biased woman asked me to go first. I said the truth. My ex and I hate each other but I think she’s a good mother. Then she turned to my ex, wow. The man she described wasn’t in that room. I was everything but an actual pedophile. That’s the only ground I got her to admit was absolutely off limits as an accusation. The rest stuck.
In the end I was allowed to see my daughter for 2 weekends a month if supervised by my mother. Over years of asking for more I got thursday to sunday every other week and every thursday.. When Kali was 12 I missed a “family court” date and spent a night in jail for it. My ex finally after 12 years and us getting along for several of those, set me free of the “family court” system.
I loved my daughter and her mother. The break up wasn’t my choice and I did everything I could to try and keep our tiny family together. In the end, too much had already happened for trust or love to come back. On both our parts. Child support wasn’t a surprise. The monopolizing of parenting to the point that I was barely visible in MY daughter’s life, was unacceptable. It threw me into a very depressive cycle. I spent a few years not working, living with my mom, and doing any drug that let me not care. This had an obviously negative affect on my daughter as well as her view of myself. Even though young, she could understand I wasn’t “normal” and she felt better with her mom.
At about 13 her and her mom stopped getting along to the point of Kali running away. Well, that was my opening. I came in and did what fathers are for. I straightened her out and set firm, fair, and real boundaries. Got her away from the trash friend group she was in by being a man and demanding people leave my house or suffer consequences. Within a year she was off any poison her mom got her prescribed, employed and back in school. Today she made the final step of adulthood. She holds the key to her own place and supports herself (so far) at 19 while every one of her friends still live at home and most don’t even work.
Congratulations from your loving father,
Proud Papa David Baker