Weather forecasting

Mark Twain may or may not have said “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.” Regardless of the source, people say it all the time about all different places, and it has been especially true in Ohio the last few weeks. One minute it’s sunny and cloudless, and the next minute it’s a drenching deluge with violent lightning.

This is also how our life works dealing with Zack’s alienating mother, Missy.  (See early blog posts for background of 12 years of parental alienation. Good PA in a nutshell blog post here.)

A May court “action” stated that 13 year old Zack should be spending time with his dad, Sam, after a year of contact denial. The parenting times are every Wednesday night and every other Saturday PLUS a 7 day summer vacation. (See the previous “Play Ball” post for a partial look at this complicated tightrope walk of reunification attempts). Missy has pulled all her usual stunts to minimize and control any time Zack is supposed to spend with Sam. BUT we recently enjoyed 3 days together — playing golf, watching World Cup matches, playing board and card games, and enjoying a backyard 4th of July party with family. All sunshine, stars and stripes, and slushies.

Until Sam took Zack back to Missy’s house, and she came at Sam with all her usual tactics. (It’s also predictable that there WAS an attack after Zack spent 3 whole days with us — the most time since the summer of 2016.) There was an ugly argument about the upcoming Saturday which Missy wants with Zack even though it was originally planned as Zack’s time with Sam. Missy and Zack had clearly already discussed this change. (Excellent definition of “adultification” here.) She told Zack, as usual, to “speak for himself,” and tell his dad that he doesn’t want to be with him. And our sunny day turns immediately dark with clouds and thunder. As she’s done hundreds of times before, Missy quickly replaced Zack’s good experience and fresh positive memories with his dad with this nasty and stressful experience Zack will resent and blame Sam for. Who can’t sympathize with Zack for not wanting time with his dad if he has to worry about the potential for this turbulent storm at the end of it? Even when he KNOWS his life can be safe and good with his dad. It was just minutes ago. THIS is alienation.

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One year later…

We arrive at the one-year anniversary of the weekend the nightmare began of Zack refusing to be with his dad Sam (and Sam’s parents and me). It’s a year later and despite court involvement, nothing has changed. Sam is keeping track of the days and at last count, it’s been over 120 days of missed time together. (Scroll down to see the archive of posts beginning in May 2017.)

Brief recap: Memorial Day 2017 was DAD’s holiday on the custody order, but Zack’s Mom’s family, the Smithies, had a big party planned and 12 year old Zack chose, with his mother’s blessing, to reject Dad and stay with them. The yearlong pattern of contact denial begins.

LAST WEEK, 16 May 2018, there was finally an actual court appearance. Although called a “contempt trial,” there was no trial, no contempt decision or sentence, and the only action was a stern(?) reminder that Missy had better start complying with the guardian ad litem’s recommended schedule — Zack with Sam on Wednesday nights 5:30-8:30pm and every other Saturday 10am to 8pm. She starts complying or what? More of the court’s finger wagging and empty threats and attorney fees until Zack turns 18 in five years?

Since Zack’s baseball games are often on Wednesday nights, it is assumed that those days are forfeited as they fall right in the window of what would be Sam’s parenting time. There was no discussion about this. Zack just shows up at his game with the Smithie camp, barely acknowledges his dad and the Baker grandparents, and leaves with his Mom & Co.

Which brings us to Memorial Day weekend 2018, which will be the first Saturday since the recent court appearance that is “Dad’s Saturday” based on the standard weekend rotation, which has been ignored for months, but is now to be followed under the fresh threat of consequences.

Here’s where this story gets even crazier if you’ve stayed with me this far.

Months ago, Sam was selected to present at an international conference in Toronto this weekend. The trip was booked, but there was always the undercurrent of “Should I go if there are potential strides with Zack?” and “Will they use it against me if Zack claims he was willing to be with me, but I was out of the country?” (We know the answer to that. Missy has played that card before. Another story.) Sam decided early this week to cancel the trip and sacrifice his opportunity to make a professional impression with this conference appearance, since this is the first Saturday which falls under the new legal dictate, or let’s say realistically, guideline. In other words, Sam believed time with his son would FINALLY happen, and nothing else matters.

But.

Sam received word from Missy yesterday that she has no intention of Zack being with Sam this weekend because…

DRUM ROLL

According to the custody order that she’s been dismissing for a year…

Memorial Day 2018 is MOM’s holiday weekend.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is one glimpse of what successful parental alienation looks like.

Grandpa’s letter

2017 will be remembered as the year of the lost summer as Zackary’s mother did not allow the Baker family the opportunity for meaningful time with him. No trips together. There was only one meal I had with Zack during the early summer. [Father’s Day when Zack agreed to see Sam and Grandpa Baker but later texted Sam that he wouldn’t have seen them if he wasn’t forced to.] No conversations. No opportunities to listen, teach and to discuss life.

This obstruction could only seem deliberate as his mother had set up the summer visitation schedule but did not require Zack to follow the schedule for even one day. The schedule had been mutually agreed upon months before. Is she immune from having to keep her word? If so, then what is she teaching Zack about the importance of following through on your commitments?

Continuous indulgent acquiescence by a parent prevents a child from developing admirable character traits such as responsibility, commitment, compassion, and empathy. The result is extended adolescence that leads to dependency. By making a child dependent, the parent is falsely assuming she will be able to control the child’s life. With control, the parent will be able to use the child as a vehicle for manifesting her hate rather than accepting that she didn’t get her way and move on. The inability to forgive allows hate to motivate her actions.

Hatred is an acid that eats away at the core of a human being. Hatred spawns a pursuit for vengeance that narrows one’s perspective to the point where truth and reason are cast aside.

Zackary’s father has invested as much time and energy into raising a son with character traits that will serve Zack well in adulthood, as he does with teaching and inspiring his students. A good parent works hard to do what is right for their child. A parent who believes they are good because they are a friend to their child, or because they provide the child with things, or simply because they gave birth, thinks these behaviors make them an excellent parent. That is delusional thinking.

Zackary is my only grandchild, so it is only natural that I resent his mother and her family for turning Zack away from 50% of his heritage. I feel like the poor man with just one lamb which was taken and slaughtered by a rich man who had many sheep and cattle to prepare a meal. The rich man took the lamb because he could, and he had no compassion or empathy for anyone who might be permanently disadvantaged by this loss.

Practice, practice, practice

In a recent text exchange between Sam and his 12 year old son Zack who has chosen, with his mother’s blessing, to refuse time with his Dad this summer, Sam asked how Zack’s baseball practice was.

Zack’s reply, “You’d know if you had been there.”

First of all, this snide response sounds nothing like Zack and everything like his mother, Missy. Zack’s typical reply to a text question like this would be, like many 12 year olds who text at lightning speed, a one-word answer like, “Fine,” or “OK,” or “Good.”

Zack has been playing sports since he was four years old. Missy originally denied Sam any information about Zack’s sports practices and games. Sam had to contact the coaches or the leagues (some of whom had been “warned” about Zack’s Dad by Missy), and he often encountered obstacles when asking for information about his son’s participation. Eventually, along with an order to share medical and school information, the court required Missy to share Zack’s sports league information with Sam. She began obediently providing information, but usually not until the week or the day Zack’s practices or games began, and she has NEVER communicated with Sam when she signs Zack up for activities. When Zack was younger and Sam was still fighting to receive information about his sports’ schedules, Sam would attend Zack’s practices as soon as he heard about them. Missy resented Sam’s presence at these practices if they fell on “her day,” and she told him he was not welcome there. Zack often ignored Sam altogether at these practices, and Missy would go on the field or court to help Zack pack up gear and would hustle him to her car to avoid any contact with Sam. On the flip side, when Sam took Zack to practices on “his day,” Missy, and sometimes the Smith grandparents, would attend and would go so far as to go on the field of play to greet and hug Zack ensuring that the Smith family, unlike the Baker family, could not be ignored. (See “Do the Math,” Story #10)

This recurring kind of situation, created by Missy and the Smith family, is exactly why her behavior is harmful to her own son — a fact she cannot recognize as its creator. Eventually Sam attended few, if any, sports practices on Missy’s days.

So, not only is Zack’s sneering response to Sam’s inquiry out of character, he and Missy have made it perfectly clear in the past that Sam is not wanted at Zack’s practices. (Also keep in mind that coaches and other players’ families witness this dynamic and see Sam and his family put firmly in their place as fringe characters.)

The conversation between Sam, Melanie (Zack’s stepmom), and Grandma Baker (Sam’s mother/Zack’s Grandma) after Sam told them about Zack’s spiteful text and his upcoming first regular season game was this:

Melanie:  If you had called Zack this morning and asked if he’d like you to be at his practice, there is absolutely no doubt that he would have said No.

Grandma Baker:  Does this mean we won’t be welcome at his game next weekend?

Sam:  Mom, we’ve never been welcome.