He breaks my stereotype.

He was a homeschooling father, a bookish type who threw the football in the yard and made cheesy eggs. That was on good days. On bad days he beat them for not getting their math problems right and berated me for not breathing right. We were never puritan enough for him.

But still…I am constantly amazed at how surprised I get when he fails to show up.

It was a fucked up year you know? Suicide attempts and police involvement and going into hiding and psycological evaluations. No contact for 8 months with his children and then only supervised. Very little child support, checks that bounce, and spotty appearance at that. And now phone calls that he fights vehemently to have and then fails to show up for, emails full of historical yammering and argument bait. He put so much effort into sounding right, into protecting his rights, into whatever ideal he thinks the world should support for him. And then, when an inch is granted, he backs completely away by a mile.

He’s brooding again and escalating. He’s goes on at length about what an excellent father he is and how he will soon be able to have daily involvement again. It’s a land of his own creation, this place where he spends his time; so far from reality it’s laughable sometimes only it’s not that funny. Our guard is back up, safety plans in place, because this is never a good sign.

Yesterday I high-tailed it to an unplanned therapy session. I needed some perspective on the barraging emails he’s been sending. It’s so freeing to hear, “refuse to read it. Scan it quickly and return it unread, with a statement that you need a succinct request”. It’s a good boundary to have. But it’s also the kind that infuriates him. I see how little he has moved on, how he is trying to “level”, how insecure he is. So pathetic.

I hate seeing this process play out on my children’s faces. One child has intestinal stress any time he has to speak to him. Another gets angry, the other aloof. And the baby gets hyper and says he misses Daddy over and over again.

It’s been good that I never fight with him anymore; he gets only the plainest replies specifying dates and times from me. For someone looking to interact over anything it must be frustrating. But my life is full and vibrant these days; I finished fighting him a long time ago. It’s not tempting to argue with him. It is, however, still very stressful knowing where he is in his cycle and knowing my kids are still vulnerable to it.

I wish there was an end in sight.