fatherhood: December 2008 Archives

Many have suggested Evelyn, as a movie I should watch. It's based on a true story, and stars Pierce Brosnan (ex-007) as a father who (in Ireland in the 50's) was ordered by the court to place his 3 children in Catholic-run orphanages .. after his wife ran off with another man (to Australia).

Evelyn, starring Pierce Brosnan as Desmond DolyeEvelyn is the name of the oldest child (pictured holding her on the cover), whose testimony before the Irish Supreme Court proves decisive.

Normally I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than watch something like this. But I was feeling my oats last night. (Irish oats, that is.)

In the end, Pierce (who plays Desmond Doyle and sports a fine Irish accent) along with his band of rag-tag lawyers take their case to the Irish Supreme Court, where they challenge the constitution itself (something about it being 'repugnant').

I had to pause the DVD a few times, to take a breather, such as when one of the nuns beats little Evelyn so hard her face turns black and blue. (Almost couldn't finish watching.)

The New York Times seems to agree, by saying » "There's little that's quite so shocking as seeing a child beaten in a movie."

But backing up a bit, I must be missing something basic about the story. To be specific, I can't understand why the state/courts seem to conspire with the Catholic church to keep the kids in the orphanages, away from their dad, even after he satisfies all their requests (gets a good job, gives up beer for lemonade, etc.).

Here's the legal glitch » the law contains a stipulation that says BOTH parents must consent before the kids can be removed from the orphanage. But the wife has run off to Australia (the day after Christmas), and not even her parents can find her.

But here's what I don't get » If the wife is MIA, that (alone) shouldn't stop the court and the Church from returning the kids to their dad. I mean, I'm just using basic common sense here. Yet it does (stop them).

Nor can I see any reason why the church and state wouldn't want to do everything within their (considerable) power to reunite the kids with their dad .. especially when they all want to live together.

Thumbs up. (Which means the Bug doesn't lose his dad.) Portions of yesterday's entry were presented in court today. I must assume anything I write here will appear before a judge, and be used against me. (It's not the first time this has happened.)

Best dad in the whole worldI like the way the judge focused on the "best interests of the child." I can deal with any ugliness they might direct toward me, long as I feel the court has the Bug's interests at heart.

Still exhausting, tho .. cuz this stuff (which deals with parenting) taps into one of our most basic instincts, which is a powerful motivator.

Maybe you've heard the stories of ladies lifting busses off their kids. It's not easy to handle when extremely important decisions are taken away and put in the hands of another.

Friends have said, "I don't know how you do it. I would've given up long ago."

To which I reply, "It's not a conscious decision. Rather, it's something that seems to be hard-wired inside. So it's not like I have a choice. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do whatever it took. And I'll keep at it for however long it takes. Or die trying."

Court tomorrow (exactly 1 week from Christmas). The idea of doing battle in court used to stress me .. since so much is at stake .. and lawyers whip me with their legal jiu-jitsu and years of experience.

Supreme Court

But I've been there so many times now that it no longer phases me .. at least not the way it once did.

Sure, I still do my best .. to present my case and tell my side. I'll take a shower, shave, dress nice, even wear a tie. But I've come to realize (over the years) that judges have an idea how they're going to rule before you even say a word. (At least in my case, as they've likely already seen it all before.)

If the judge likes you, and sympathizes with your position, you can say nothing wrong. If not, your most elegant argument goes nowhere (in a hurry). So altho the stakes are high, it does little good to stress.

Stilll, it's not a very pleasant feeling to have so much of your life in the hands of another. Goes against all my training.

Wandered into the coffee shop one morning this weekend. While searching for a place to plop down and wake up, I noticed a book sitting askew on one of the occupied tables. (I'm always curious to see what others are reading.)

St. John of the Cross

The title jumped out at me » Dark Night of the Soul .. written by a 16th century mystic named St. John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz).

Having recent experiences of my own that could be characterized as "dark nightish," I struck up a conversation with this monkish fellow, before asking to join him (.. since there was no place else to sit this busy morning).

He said he'd learned of the book from classmates in college, roomies who had majored in Philosophy. They recommended it after he started to experience "growing pains" a few years into his marriage.

I apologized for chuckling when he told me it was (basically) a woman who drove him into his dark night. But I couldn't help it.

I pressed with questions, seeking a Cliffs Notes style rendering of his book. He said the 'dark night' is actually "a good thing" (another idea which made me chuckle).

During the 'dark night experience' (the theory goes), God removes everything we used to rely on (depend on, trust in) .. "until only He Himself is left." Elements of this explanation rang true with some of my recent experiences.

Sheriff TJ Drops By (Again)

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Sheriff badgeGot served *more* legal papers today. I've been served so many times now that the local sheriff and I are on a first-name basis.

Seems like this stuff never ends. I will be busy for a while. So if you don't hear from me, you know I'm working on fighting this.

The Bug is asleep .. looking more beautiful than ever. Every day we spend together is one more small victory.

Today's Key Word » 'Tragic'

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Spent all day in court today. I hate that place. Been there so many times. Have wasted so much of my life (and money) there.

Tragedy Mask

I want to say I won, but reality is I merely didn't lose .. again. (Well, sorta.) I lost nearly a month with the Bug. Or maybe I should say, he lost a month with his dad. (Not the first time this has happened.)

There is a "system" in place, which appears to be begging to be abused/manipulated. And of course, some unscrupulous people are only too eager to oblige .. time & time & time again. And all the while, it's the little ones who suffer.

The key word that stuck out today was » "tragic". That's the word which resonated with me .. and still resonates. Because it *is* tragic. Woefully tragic.

I get the Bug tomorrow morning. I have promised him I'll "always come back" .. no matter what.

But something definitely shifted today. Serious cracks have appeared in the opposition. The spotlight has turned toward these cracks. And now we have a pattern. A history. Doncha know I wanted to say, "I tried to tell ya," .. (but I didn't).

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the fatherhood category from December 2008.

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