I would say today was bittersweet, but I like dark chocolate, so I can’t. It was more like being handed a giant box of grief as a reward for over two years of round the clock volunteer work.
The guardianship was granted.
In the same breath the court informed us that we would have to drive the girls to and from their father’s house for visitation. He literally lives 500 miles away, and we have now been ordered to drive to and from the filthy city he moved to so he can see them.
It felt like, “Congratulations on being a stellar human being. You’ll need to step that up about 50 notches now.”
Of course the first and most obvious argument is why, if he’s so interested in being part of their lives, do we have to go to him? But you can’t ask the judge that question when the opposition has stretched the court’s patience to the breaking point.
In 30 minutes we said a sum total of about 10 sentences. The rest of the time was monopolized by completely useless bantering between the father and the judge about the fact that his opposition was not enough to keep the judge from granting our petition for guardianship.
It was an emotional morning, but I waited until the courtroom cleared to burst into tears. Spike held me and said it was going to be alright. I held him and told him it was going to be alright. We only ate half our lunch. How could the court make us do this?
We thought having the petition granted would quell the issues, but now we’re responsible for getting the father to compromise with us about visitation. Why won’t the court just decide? Why put us all through this? He won’t negotiate with us. He’s placed the blame for his whole damn life at our door. He can’t see anything past his rage.
We had the bailiff join us in the hall while we were trying to work out visitation, since the father was literally raising his angry, shaking fist in fury over the fact that we had to discuss it at all. He wouldn’t talk about anything except his anger.
Thankfully the bailiff turned out to be part-chaplain (seemed like) and talked the father down from the enraged ledge he was teetering on.
This is why people give up. Dealing with this kind of pure insanity is the reason people lose faith in humanity. If we were dealing with anything else I’ve ever been given to take care of – a pet, a home, every last dime in my bank accounts – I would have given it up today.
But it isn’t just money or a dog I like. It’s the lives of two girls whose father is more concerned about righting all his past mistakes than about what’s truly best for the kids.