Wednesday, June 5, 2013

An Open Letter to DK

On Monday, June 3, I was assaulted by my grandson's father.  He and my daughter (who is living with me) were having a custody dispute over their son.  Baby daddy (known from now on as DK), understandably, missed his son and wanted to take him.  The downside though, is that DK is currently "in between residences" and without transportation.  DK suggested taking the baby to his parents' house.  My daughter refused this option, for reasons that will become clear during my open letter to DK.  I backed my daughter up, and for my efforts, I was thanked by a headbutt to the face, breaking my nose.  I'm not going to get into a vitriolic diatribe here, but I do have some things that I'd like to express.  I highly doubt that DK will ever read these words, but I'm going to speak my peace, nonetheless.  Here goes...

Well there DK, congratulations on putting the "beat-down" on a middle-aged man.  I suspect that you feel pretty macho right now.  There are a lot of things you don't realize though.  So, let me tell you a few things.  Most of this will be difficult to hear, but you've always known that I'm a straight shooter.  That's why you've come to me for advice on more than one occasion...

-I've known since you and my daughter first started dating that you'd eventually end up hitting someone in my family.  I'm just glad it was me, and not my daughter or grandson.  When you and my daughter first started dating, I remember you crying to me about getting kicked out of your parents' house, and then telling me a couple of weeks later about getting kicked out of two friends' houses in rapid succession.  In each instance, you freely admitted that it was because you couldn't control your temper.  So yeah, I knew this day was coming.  In fact, I had a pretty clear idea that Monday would be the day, because you were definitely unhinged.

-I'm glad that I managed to steer your rage away from my daughter and grandson, toward me.  You may think being a man is the willingness to fight for what's yours.  Well, you're half right. The TRUE measure of a man is the willingness to shield your family from harm.  When you started coming unglued, I directed your violence toward me.  You may think that you were in control, but my words directed your rage toward me, thus protecting my family.  Being a man is more than just fighting for what's yours... it's also being willing to suffer to protect what's yours.  I willingly took that headbutt, and would do it again 1000 times to protect my family.

-Do not mistake my non-violent reaction for weakness.  You may not have noticed, but that hit didn't faze me.  I've tolerated pain a lot more intense than what you delivered.  My non-violent reaction allowed me to enlist the help of law enforcement, and to establish that you have a pattern of violence.  I'm smart enough to know that it's only a matter of time before you would have turned that violence toward my daughter or grandson... despite your self-righteous cries to the contrary.  I could have fought back;  I chose not to.  Indeed, I was able to keep a clear head and make a tactical decision that will help me more in the long run, as opposed to losing my cool and giving in to blind rage.

-When I came out to the garage on Monday, my intention was not to interfere with your parental rights.  In fact, I was trying to formulate a solution that would meet everyone's needs... yours, my daughter's, and your son's.  But there was no way I could tolerate your suggestion that you take the baby to your parents' house.  You yourself have freely admitted that your mother is trying to undermine your role as a parent.  You know that she has made false claims to DHS in an attempt to take your son as her own.  You also have admitted that your mother is an unfit parent, yet you still wanted to take your child into that poisonous environment.  As you said this, you tried to play the "A baby needs his father" card.  But this wasn't about what was best for your son.  This was about your own selfish desires.  And yes, if you try to take a child, with no transportation and no home, and offer up a poison environment as your solution, then it's not about the kid, it's about you.  THIS is what I was trying to prevent... nothing more, nothing less.

-You argued that you couldn't see your son.  Well that's not exactly true.  While it is true that I won't allow you into my home when I'm not there, I was more than willing to welcome you in while I'm here.  The fact is, you made a choice.  You chose to avoid your son, as opposed to being slightly uncomfortable around me.  For clarification, I didn't allow you in my home during my absence for a couple of reasons.  When you started dating my daughter, you knew that I didn't allow males in my home unless there was an adult present.  Yet you and my daughter chose to violate that rule.  Furthermore, you had been charged with burglary (and were recently charged with theft).  Whether or not you LIKE my rules, you must concede that allowing you into my house AT ALL with this knowledge in mind, is rather magnanimous on my part.

-You seem to forget that I, too, am a father.  As a father, I am keenly aware that we are relegated to the role of second-class parents by a large part of society and by the legal system.  During my daughter's pregnancy and after your son's birth, I fought diligently to make sure that you had reasonable access to your son.  Many people who know my daughter argued that she should take the baby away from you.  We may not see eye to eye, but I fought FOR you in this arena.  I chose not to tell you any of this because it wouldn't have benefited you at the time.

-You must know that I've always had your interest more in mind than your own parents.  After all, you came to me for advice on more than one occasion.  I, in return, told you the truth as I saw it.  I plainly pointed out areas of your life where you needed to improve, and expressed that I believed you were trying.  Well, I think it's time for more brutal honesty...  You claim to want what's best for your child, but in practice, this is only as long as it's not uncomfortable for you.  If you really wanted to see your son, you'd do it.  You wouldn't go weeks on end without seeing him.  You wouldn't let your uneasiness around me prevent you from seeing your kid.  If you really want to do what's right by your boy, you will stop breaking the law, get (and keep) a job, find a place to live, stop self-medicating, get some serious counseling, and grow the fuck up!  I sincerely hope that you can (and will) do this, but in practice, I doubt that you have the discipline and self-awareness to do what's necessary to get yourself on the right track.  In short, I think you're damaged goods.

-Oh, for the record, you are no longer welcome in my home... at all... ever.  If I see you on my property, I will immediately call the authorities.

-I think that's about all I've got to say to you.  Once again, congratulations on your major milestone of hitting an old man... in front of his daughter, no less.  You may think that you put me in my place.  I on the other hand, have hopefully demonstrated what my daughter can look forward to if she keeps associating with you.   Like I said, I hope you can get your shit together, but I'm not going to hold my breath.