Monday, June 18, 2007

Yesterday was Father's Day

On Father's Day, June 25, 2003, my phone rang. It was my three children calling, from where they live with their Mother two miles away. She apparently was standing by listening.

I answered, "Hello, this is Peter."

"Hello Dad, this is Johnny."

"Hello Johnny, how are you?"

"Happy Father's Day."


"Here's Jimmy."

[Oldest son comes onto the phone.] "Ditto."

[Youngest son comes onto the phone.] "Ditto."

Click. Danny hung up the phone in my ear. I sat there, mouth agape.

That phone call lasted about twenty seconds. Even so, it was twenty seconds longer than any communication I have received from any offspring of mine on any subsequent Father's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday.

My three children were all minors then. They are all adults now.

There is a body of people, mostly male and substantially made up of a growing number of estranged fathers of minor children in divorce situations, who absolutely believe that Parental Alienation Syndrome ("PAS") is child abuse. I am sorry for these children.


Jim Hueglin said...

This is the same experience that my son had with his three children.

It surely makes one sad.

Just12Finish said...

Sorry to hear that Peter. We all know you're a good man.

Mia said...

I've been thinking about this melancholy post for a while. And I'm so sorry to hear that you feel estranged from your boys.

I always use Anna as the ultimate person that I want to answer to. I want to be able to say honestly that I did everything that I could to champion her person.

jeanne said...

peter that is truly horrible. obviously meant (it seems) to hurt you.

i'm really sorry. Richie is quite right. We all DO know that you are a good man.

julietcaesar said...

I don't like the notion that PAS is a syndrome. Superficially, I appear to have PAS myself. My mother was (and I assume is) a severely mentally ill woman who beat me and threatened to kill me. When my father discovered what was happening, he divorced her and gained sole custody of me.

Despite that, the court gave HER child support payments on top of her alimony, which plunged us into poverty. It's been over ten years since that happened and I haven't spoken a word to her in over six years. Some would say that I have PAS, but that's not the case. My mother is just a monster.

That said, women frequently wield their children as weapons. I'm a staunch advocate for paternal rights. I hope that in time your sons might come around.