Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's been a hard nights day

As I am typing this the local time is 04:57. I feel like $#it and probably look it, too. My sleep cycle has gone off the deep end and it's keeping me up all night (like this).

Making things doubly difficult, my son is with his mother and her whole family on a cruise through the Caribbean. I don't begrudge him this. I'm quite happy he's going. If I were able we'd be visiting the old country and wandering throughout Germany & Italy (and likely other countries I've previously been to in Europe. I feel strongly that my experience growing up in Europe and moving every 4 or 5 years was a great benefit for me and my siblings. It's almost unthinkable that I've lived here in the Northern VA area for 19 years) It's a wonder I ever came back from my trip to Thailand in Feb 2002. Well, not that much of a wonder. If I didn't have my son I could have easily just stayed. But if it's a choice of my son or anything else I'll pick him.

So he's going to be gone for a little over a week. This could be a good time to see what it's like without him. See, he's been living with me since he started grade 1 but for grade 5 he'll live with his mother and I'll see him every other weekend. It will be very hard but much good can come out of it. I hope. It will all depend on his mother. She's never had to bare the cost of having a child. Nor the time involved with having one under foot 24/7. I'm certainly not the greatest dad in the world, largely due to my physical condition, but I think I'm doing ok. There's really only two negative things that could happen with this switch; she can't handle it and sends him back to me or he can't deal with not having other kids around to play with. A number of people think that the former is likely to happen.

As for me, I see this as a good thing. She is his mother and has spend nearly 5 years having him for only three months in the summer and on every other weekend. I know she loves him very much so I'm not worried about anything happening between them (if we had had a girl then I would be worried; you should see what my two nieces put their parents through). Right now the plan is for him to come back here for 6th grade but we'll evaluate that when the time comes.

I better get to bed now. I'm falling asleep at the wheel, here. Don't need to be conking my head on the furniture again,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing.

I don't know how to start this post. I don't even know if I should write about this. But I need to get it out of my head. If my rambling seems semi coherent please forgive me.

My son, who is ten years old, was sexually molested by another child in the neighborhood who is eight.

It happened this past April but I didn't find out until late in May. This has been a trying time for the family... Ok, that's an understatement, but you get the gist. There have been some interesting things I've learned from this ordeal, though. It seems that, at least in this State/County, child services does not deal with minor-on-minor abuse. I got absolutely zero help from them. The police were a bit better. They at least investigated the issue. They talked to my son once at school and the other boy twice; first alone then with his father. They never actually talked to me other than getting names and addresses. After about three days they closed the case saying that it was a mutual act. Seems they don't believe a younger child could manipulate an older child into doing anything so it must have been mutual. If they could have heard the agony and pain my son was in when he broke down and told me I think they would have given this a little more effort. Not much, but a little more. It took me nearly 45 minutes to get him to calm down enough to tell me. He was so afraid I'd hate him. I held him and reassured him that I would never hate him.

The incident really trashed my son with regards to school. While the other kid was in a different grade they both rode the school bus together. The two of them were best friends for almost two years before this happened. The first semester of the school year my son was getting A's and B's but the second semester he got C's and D's, even getting an F on one of his tests. Initially we couldn't figure out why his grades dropped so drastically. Now we know.

The ironic thing is that many of the adults in the neighborhood were discussing calling Child Services for this kid because of the neglect he was suffering. He lived with his grandmother, aunt and teen cousin. His dad lives about 20 miles south and his mom is in jail. During the winter he'd come over dressed in shorts and a tee shirt. We'd often give him one of my sons coats or hats. The child often didn't have enough food and no one seemed to care where he was when he was outside. His grandma works but his aunt just lies in bed all day and sleeps or talks on the phone or eats. It's true that this kid was quite obnoxious and, even though he was smaller and younger than most of the other kids, he was quite the bully. But that still didn't mean he should be treated like a stray dog.

The kid moved after school ended. I'm not sure where. I've heard the other kids say Mexico but nothing definitive. I don't really care about it other than the fact he's not here anymore. My son has been seeing a therapist for a little while and he does seem to be coping well. I'm a wreck. I was already half qualified for an asylum anyway. Large doses of meds have helped hold me together for now. Lately I just feel so numb. The world is falling apart and all I can do is sit in a wheel chair and watch it happen.

But no matter what happens I am here for my son. I've been able to go to the pool with him a few times (it's easier for me to do things in the water; buoyancy and all that) and we've been watching Godzilla movies and the History Channel (the show Dogfights is fantastic!). Also some of the Disney (Hanna Montana, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, etc.) & Nickelodeon (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ned's Declassified, etc.) shows. It's been rainy here this summer so he's had to be indoors a lot. This usually means he's on the PS/2 for a few hours. He still loves cars but is now finding airplanes from WW I and WW II worth learning more about. Seeing the recreated Dogfights has been very enjoyable for us.

When the summer is over he will be going to spend the school year with his mother. We made a swap of physical custody for one year. It's going to be very hard without him here but he'll be getting more time with his mother, which will be good. There are a few people who don't think she will be able to manage having him around all the time but I'm not commenting one way or other. I know it'll be alright, though. No matter what his mother is like WRT me she loves him and would never knowingly do anything bad for him.

The real question is will I survive until fall of 2008 when I get him back? Physically, there's a real good chance. But emotionally? Mentally? Well, that's a horse of a different color.