Sunday, November 1, 2009

Visiting Hours

The answer is no.

The last time MCF saw our daughter was in January of this year. Wisconsin winters get ridiculously cold, so he braved the weather and came over to our house (which was two minutes away walking) to come and see MIB. He spent about an hour with her playing and whatnot before he left. Since then, I have been trying to get him to see her but I have yet to be successful.

We have joint custody of MIB, but my house is considered to be her primary residence. Even though the judge gave us shared responsibility regarding her health and educational concerns, we agreed that it would be best that I took over all educational responsibilities. After our court date, we sat down and discussed when he would be able to see MIB.

I told him that he was welcome to my house at any (decent) time of the day, as long as I wasn't at work. My mother (despite the fact that she is nowhere near fond of him) said that her house is open to him while MIB stayed with her while I was working. I even offered to bring her to his house (weather permitting) so that they could spend quality time together.

Despite all of the offers and scenarios given to MCF, he hasn't come to see her since that brutally cold day in January. I'd call him and set up a visitation, he wouldn't show up. Or he wouldn't call to tell me that he wasn't able to come over. Or he'd call, but would have some sorry ass excuse as to why he couldn't see her. Eventually, after so many excuses, I stopped asking.

The need for my child to know her father, however, took over and made me rethink not calling him. We had our fathers in our lives; they watched us grow up, loved us, took care of us, and spent quality time with us. I couldn't understand why he was so resistant about seeing her and I wasn't going to let him deny her of what we both had.

About a month ago, I called him up to talk to him about visiting hours again. He said that he wanted to see her but he wanted to keep her over the weekend. Now, I have NEVER denied him visitation rights to his child. But after not seeing her for almost a year, I wasn't going to let her stay the night with him when all she knows is me and her Nana. I told him that he could spend the day with her or we could go somewhere (like the park or zoo), but she was going to bed under my roof. Then he got pissed.

"I have rights too."

Real talk; that is what he said. I had to look at the phone because now all of a sudden he wanted to invoke his parental rights when he's been nothing more than a sperm donor for the last ten months.

"Look, she's known nothing but me and Momma for all of her life. I put her to sleep, I know her cries, I know her needs. I'm not saying that you can't spend time with her, but until you show me that you can be more responsible (in regards to visitation) then you can keep her overnight. But until then, you'll either have to come here, I come there with her, or we meet up in a neutral spot."

After fussing about that for about ten minutes, he agreed to meet up in the park. Ain't seen his ass since.

I don't feel as if I was wrong telling him that he couldn't keep her overnight. She's only 16 months old. If something happened to her (not that he would do anything to her, but the company he keeps at this point is unknown) she doesn't have the ability to tell me.

Am I wrong? Should I push for him to show his responsibility as a parent or should I let him keep her overnight simply because he's her father?

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