The other day, my mother told me a story about a wonderful scene she saw while buying a drink at a local Starbucks. She said there was this man with his eight year old son playing chess. They each had their specialty drinks and the man was patiently teaching his young son about the game of chess (and life lessons along the way). My mom told me that the barista had confirmed for her that this man came in each weekend with the child. He had told the barista that he only saw his son on the weekends; therefore, he was determined to pack the most quality time he could into the time he saw him. (This was a visitation scenario) My mother also mentioned that before she spoke to the barista she judged the man because he had scraggly looking dread locks and appeared very “non conventional”. (Note: That feeling had also been one of her initial reactions to Luc as he also has strange hair)
My mother didn’t draw many conclusions from this scene other than her surprise at what was actually happening with this man (from the barista who had seen them each week) compared to her initial reaction. After this discussion, I thought about fatherhood in the context of court ordered visitation. This man appeared to be doing it right. He recognizes that he only has a finite (and short) amount of time with his son and he chose to spend it in a way that the son clearly enjoyed and doing something that would positively impact that child’s life forever.
I distinctly remember being about six months pregnant and having a discussion with Luc in the car while going through a carwash. Luc was going through one of his typical rants about how terrible it was when women kept their children away from the father. I remember being confused as he appeared to have personal experience with this. It also appeared as if he was trying to threaten me at the same time. At the time, I couldn’t understand ever being in a situation where I would be concerned about the time that my child spent with their father. Looking back on this conversation, I believe Luc was both ranting about the other woman who had run away from him AND threatening me.
Before Luc, I wouldn’t have thought much about Starbucks father. I am not sure I would have even noticed him. Now, however, I have become painfully aware of good fathers because my son doesn’t have one. Here are some of the crazy things I thought of in response to Starbucks father:
1) Wow, I wish baby boy’s father wasn’t a criminal who chose to be a parasite and live off of women instead of get a job.
2) Even if Luc knew how to play chess (which he probably doesn’t), he couldn’t afford to buy that specialty drink from Starbucks because he refuses to get a job.
3) Instead of showing baby boy how to play chess, Luc would show baby boy how to exploit women.
4) Would Luc chose to spend his visitation time doing something for baby boy or would he chose to do something for himself? (I think you can all guess my answer for this one)
In the weeks that followed the night I left Luc, I would break into tears when I saw fathers in public with their children. Before I realized who Luc really was, I remember imagining my son following his father around and looking up to him. I imagined my sons father being the respectable man I believed he was.
Part of my journey recovering from this psychopath is accepting that Luc will never be Starbucks father. He will never put baby boy before his own selfish needs. He will never stop being a criminal. He will always be a psychopath. Instead of mourning who Luc will never be, I need to focus on showing my son what a good male role model looks like. If I am stuck having this parasite in my son’s life, I will have to make sure that someday my son is able to see him for who he really is – a sick parasite. I don’t want to have to tell my son this. I want him to see it in comparison to the good men in his life.