Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Phone Calls

The phone calls have stopped...

I believe I have touched on these calls before but for those of you who don't know or don't want to search back through my archives here is the readers digest version. When Zack was two and we were still DHS involved he started going to a counselor. This counselor suggested that perhaps to help strengthen their bond FoTB should try calling Zack once or twice between visits.

At that point he was never calling to check up on Zack or even texting me to see how he was doing and she thought that perhaps hearing his voice would help reinforce that he was still out there, even though Zack didn't see him, and it would make it easier for him to be happy going to visits.

FoTB, never the one to understand moderation, promptly set an alarm on his phone and has proceeded to call us, pretty much every night that he does not have Zack, for over a year now. We have tried to explain to him that perhaps every other day would be sufficient but it is all or nothing with him so he calls.

When he had his first girlfriend, about a year ago, if Zack told me he didn't want to talk, I didn't answer. Or I text and told FoTB he didn't want to talk. Apparently that made me a liar and a very large argument, one that may have helped with the demise of that relationship... oh darn... ensued. A compromise was reached in which when FoTB calls, I answer. If Zack doesn't want to talk he won't say anything or he says, Dad, I don't want to talk to you right now. (He has no problem saying this and actually says it more often than he actually talks to him.)

And so it has gone... pretty much every night for over a year. And then sometime in December a day got missed here or there. Then a couple days......

In January, he must have set the alarm on his phone again because the phone calls started getting more regular.... until this week. Last week he called Thursday and Friday and then the phone went silent....

No call on Saturday, no call on Sunday, no call on Monday and no call last night. I'm assuming he will pick Zack up from daycare this evening at 5:00 but I have no guarantees....

And to be quite honest with you, I'm not really sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, the phone calls are annoying. Zack rarely wants to talk and they are mostly a pointless validation that his son still loves him. The standard conversation goes something like this:

Hi buddy, how was your day?
Fine? (Or, Dad, I don't want to talk to you.)
What did you do today?
Just played.
Ok, well daddy just called to say I love you.
I love you too. (Or, I know or you say that every time or he ignores it all together)
(If he ignores him this is where he will either say it over again or ask if Zack loves him)
Ok, well daddy misses you.
I know. (or he ignores this part...)
(This is where he will sometimes ask do you miss daddy?)
Ok, well I will talk to you tomorrow. Goodbye.
Bye... hey mom... can I push the button?

That is it. All 60 - 90 seconds every night.

So again, on the one hand... stupid and pointless and not really necessary.

But on the other hand, he hasn't checked on his son in four days. No text to say how is he, how was his day at daycare, any issues I should know about... nothing. Just living as if he doesn't have a son for four straight days and that part angers me. If he doesn't care why continue the charade on Wednesday nights and every other weekend. Is it just because his new girlfriend tells him to? Because she has a seven year old so he figures he should try to show what a good dad he is too?

So... what are your thoughts? I can't fix it, I can't change it... I need to accept it, that part I get. The state of Iowa has told me he gets visits with Zack whether he is a good dad or not. I am curious though if any of you have had any similar experiences. If you think I should just be glad to not have the hassle of daily calls. (of course once I post this they will start again...) So... thoughts?


kbreints said...

I think that a phone call is acknowledgement... even as simple as hi I love you goodbye-- though it may not seem like much to you-- and Zack may not react like it is a big deal to him- it is. My sisters children have battled with this for ten years. It is harder when he does not call. It does not matter the length of the call or the content of which he talks to him about-- it is the fact that he remembered .... to set his alarm ... or whatever it may be... and remembered his son. No call is far worse then a short call that Zack can say I don't feel like talking today. It is not for Jake it is for Zack.

As of right now it is rejection.... and though you may not think that he realizes the phone calls have stopped. He does.

I wish for his sake it was all or nothing. It would be so much easier on his emotional state.

This upsets me so much because I have seen what a phone call means to my nieces and nephew. It is such a simple thing that means so much.

Kelly said...

I think it is a bit of a double edged sword. The actual calls are probably harder on you, but I agree with kbreints in that sometimes it's just those little things that can make a big difference in your kids.

If the calls stop all together or start being hap-hazard, who's to say that couldn't be a thing that sets off some of the negative behaviors in Zack?

Being a mom can be so hard sometimes.

Jessica said...

Honestly - Coming from a similar situation I don't know that he notices now the calls have stopped. With that said...He will eventually notice. If Jake is still in his life at the point he notices; he will be then old enough to reciprocate conversations.

Spike isn't missing anything in his life. He has a father at home with him every day. He is a very lucky boy to have two fathers that love him and three families that adore him despite how their actions explain their feelings.

If Jim weren't there filling those shoes, earning that roll...it would be different. But...he is there and that is wonderful for Spike!

Simply be thankful for what is and let time figure out the rest!

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

If this were FB I would "Like" Katie's post.