Saturday, April 16, 2011

L is for Losing -- Day 12 of the "A to Z Blogging Challenge"

My topic for today is losing. No, not losing weight, possessions, confidence, and control over your life. At some point in my life I've lost all of those and more. The following story is true, althhough the names are fictitious.
One of the most painful losses is a friend. I just found out that the person I thought of as my oldest and dearest friend betrayed my son who previously thought of her as a beloved aunt. I don't normally like to air my family's dirty laundry in public, but this time I think I'll make an exception. I cannot reconcile myself to this betrayal because of the hurt it caused to many people. I refuse to hate her, though.
First let me say that I wondered why Dee had suddenly stopped taking my calls and/or returning my emails, and now I know. I hope she feels guilty about her betrayal of at least two people who would have done anything in the world for her. The betrayal was in the form of a denial about an incident that happened many years ago. The worst of it is that it destroyed my son's marriage and tore his three small children away from him.
Many, many years ago, my (ex) husband and I were living with our friends, Dee and Rob. Our son was about 8 and their older daughter, Jenny, was around 13. We adults were watching the movie "Private Lessons" on TV and the kids were supposed to be asleep. Our friends fell asleep and Jenny brazenly came into the living room and sat down to watch the rest of the movie. We asked her to leave the room, but did not feel comfortable trying to enforce it while her parents were in the room, even though they were sleeping through the whole scene. Part of the reason we were reluctant was because of her tendency to blow everything out of proportion if we tried to tell her what to do. We turned off the TV and went to our room, but she turned the TV back on. We tried to wake her parents but they were both out like lights.
As the movie was ending, Dee woke up and became angry at us for allowing her to watch the movie. When we finally convinced Dee that we tried to stop Jenny from watching the show, she turned her wrath on the child. She said many cruel and unnecessary things to her daughter and ended it by saying, "I suppose now you think you will try to teach (our son) about sex the same way she did a young boy."
One day during the next week or so, my husband and Rob were both at work and Dee was sleeping because she had worked overnight. I looked around to do my usual head count and realize that my son and Jenny were missing, so I went looking for them. I won't go into details of the "compromising position" in which I found them. I shrieked their names when I saw them and they dove under the bed. I dragged them out into the living room, lecturing them for all I was worth. That afternoon I told Dee and that evening we told our husbands. Dee and Rob insisted that it was our son's fault because he was male. My husband, whose temper was monumental, wanted to "spank" (for most people it would be called a beating) our son, but I wouldn't let him because I felt the whole situation was orchestrated by Jenny (by her own admission) and indirectly Dee's fault due to her handling of the movie situation.
Back then I guess I thought of that type of thing as falling into the "kids will be kids" category. I probably also thought that any authoities would side with Dee and Rob because it was their house, although in my opinion he was the victim. I also dreaded any contact with Child Protective Services in our town because I knew too much about them and their tactics, but that's another story. I feel badly now that I allowed it to be swept under the rug, but I honestly thought I handled it in the best manner possible.
Fast forward nearly 30 years. My son and his wife were living near Dee and Rob. My son had explained to his wife about the incident, but told her he didn't really blame anyone. Unfortunately, when my daughter-in-law mentioned it, Dee denied that it happened and started making accusations against my son. The next thing we knew, Child Protective Services was in the picture saying that they had a report that my was doing all manner of things to his children. He was able to give enough proof to show that he had done nothing wrong, but the damage was done. Within weeks my daughter-in-law went on a "vacation" with the kids to visit her parents, over 1000 miles away, and never came back. The state she is in awarded her child support based on their "average income" rather than the average income where my son lives, or the income he actually has. Because of the unfounded accusations she made in court during the custody hearing, the same allegations he had already proven to be untrue in another state, he only gets supervised visitation, which is irrelevant because the amount of child support being taken out of his checks leaves him with barely enough money to live on and travel is impossible because of finances. Not only that, but his ex-wife's mother is allowed to "supervise" any telephone contact he makes with them, which means she refuses to answer his calls.

1 comment:

  1. Goodness, Cleta...this is a sad situation for all concerned! How awful that a seemingly small incident can get blown out of proportion and have such dreadful reprecussions so many years later. If these are your grandchildren, my heart breaks for you as well, that you don't get to have them be a full part of the family. So sad when people let ill feelings and imagined wrongs be taken out on children.

    I do hope writing this out has helped ease the pain a little. You sound like you are a wonderful friend...clearly Dee is not.