My Son is a Prop

My spouse insists on having my son every Sunday & Monday.   Unless my son doesn’t want to do what the dad wants to do – then he “can’t” take him.

Two weeks ago the dad made arrangements for my son’s basketball coach to pick him up, take him to his game, then drop him off at dad’s house.  Dad wasn’t there.  I assume my son spent the rest of the day at a friends house……which is confusing because my son is currently grounded here for underage drinking, and I would think the “father of the year” would have wanted to implement similar consequences.  (Not surprised – he has Never implemented consequences; that has always been my job)

This past Sunday my son’s older brother picked him up and took him to basketball, then dropped him at his dads house.  I was told it was because  dad had to work, but I’ve come to the conclusion he doesn’t want to show his face at basketball, since that group is more likely to be on my “team”.   After basketball he took my son skating in the city.  It sounded like fun, and my son was excited when he dropped by later to get his book bag.  Last night I found out what actually happened.

There is a group of people in the cool kids neighborhood that my spouse, and his new GF, are dying to hang out.  The problem is that these people all have children around my sons’ age.  Hmmmmm…..what to do??  On Sunday they drove into the city with one of these “cool” couples and his son.  They dropped the children at the skating rink, then the adults went to see a holiday light show.  They came back a few hours later, picked up the kids and took them to an expensive, non kid friendly restaurant.  Granted, it is a cool restaurant.

Here’s the thing:  my son is 15.  He can say no.  He has said no.  There have been any number of times he has said he’d rather stay home than go with his dad.  Lately though, 2 things have been happening:

  1. he hasn’t been saying no.  I suspect his dad is pressuring him to show up, although I have no evidence for this.
  2. He stays with his dad Sunday & Monday, and comes home Tuesday after school.  Every single Monday night I get this text:  “mom, I’m really sick.  Can I stay home from school tomorrow?”.   Then Wednesday morning he’s begging to stay home.  By Thursday he’s back on track.

Of course there is a chance that he is sick every Monday and Tuesday, and today I will take him to the Dr after work (yes, the 1 day a week I work) but come on.

So what do I do with this?  It has to be hard for my son to navigate this.  He loves the freedom and money he gets from his dad, so it’s hard to turn that down.  Yet every time he’s with him, he has to be acutely aware that he is nothing more than a prop.  Is that what the texts are?  Are they his way of asking if I am there for him?

I wish I understood that his children are props before I married him.  If I knew that his toddler son, who I was raising, was a toy, a reason to rope me into his web, maybe when I stood at the top of the aisle in the church, the voice in my head screaming “don’t walk down that aisle” I would have listened.





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