My son's face was leaning into the open passenger window of my pickup. I was sitting in the driver's seat, my hands on the steering wheel, a pleasant smile plastered onto my face.
It was my court-scheduled visitation time. Her "harassment petition," wherein she had our three minor children file a "fiduciary" suit against me during the divorce litigation, had been thrown out the week before.
"Their" lawyer, Joseph Condo of McLean, and her lawyer, William Reichhardt of Fairfax, had conducted the hearing which had gotten their Mother sanctioned almost $10,000 for this "unconscionable" lawsuit. Those two lawyers also signed the briefs and argued the motions which got her assessed costs of almost $40,000 more for the "unjustified" appeal they filed. Little did I know it then, but no child of mine would ever again visit with me at my house, which was only two miles away. This was in early 2003. Do you suppose that's why it's against public policy to have children be parties in divorce litigation?
I couldn't get out of my car to talk to my son because that might be menacing to him since I'm bigger. Dad can't "touch" any child, utter a "hurtful" word, use any kind of "tone," give any kind of "look" or do anything that might "frighten" the children except grin and nod when his kids are alienated from him by the custodial parent in classic PAS. These are words that estranged children supposedly come up with when talking about the targeted parent.
I was a dumb, smiling and nodding fool now, just sitting in my car at the far curb across from her house, having just called for her to send my children out ready to go with me. I received no answer, but one child did come out, circle my car and thrust his head into the far window.
"Dad, do you remember me calling you last night?"
"Yes. Yes I do, son."
"Do you remember me telling you that I wasn't coming. Do you remember that?"
"I'm sorry son but just like I told you then, that's not your choice to make, or even mine. You need a paternal influence in your life just like you need a maternal influence, and wiser heads than mine have decided that we're going to have this time together. Let's start recovering our relationship this very day, and put the past behind us. Will you help me with this? I'll try to be the best Dad I can for you, starting right now. Please, get in and we'll work on it together." It was my stock answer. Sharon was nowhere in sight, as usual.
"Dad, dad, just answer me this one question, will you? Can you do that for me?" He leaned his head in real close to me.
"Uh, dad, tell me, what part of 'no' don't you understand?"
Yep, this old fool just drove away, still grinning, after receiving that insult from a child, smarting that his kid would dare to talk to any adult that way.