Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Passport to Europe

My ex contacted me two days after Christmas. I have had no contact with him for a year and a half. He texted that our daughter was going to Europe in February and, "she needs you to sign the form for her passport. Please choose a notary that is convenient for you so I can drop it off for you to sign." Just that. No, "Hi, how are you? The kids are well." No, "Gee, we'd really like you to do this."

He needed me to sign the form because she is a minor and I still have legal custody. That's all the text was. No explanation about the trip to Europe. No aside about how the kids were doing. Nothing. My first thought was now he needed something from me. Never has he responded when I've asked about the kids...except on the rare occasion I've mentioned going back to court over custody issues. Then he's responded to threaten me. In a year and a half all I get is this one text. An order. Do this now. On his command. My next thought was, if he wants something from me can't he at least ask nice? I texted back, "We will probably need to discuss this trip." I'm thinking, if I am going to sign for my daughter to get a passport to go to Europe, I would like to know something about the conditions under which she is going. I am her mother after all.

My ex has always made commands. He texted, "This is the only thing your daughter has ever asked of you." I responded that it wasn't her asking it of me, it was him asking it of me.

I then received a text from a different number, "This is the least you can do. I do not wish to speak to you. And I would appreciate it if you would sign the form for my passport so I can even go. So please give me the name and address of a place I can take the form to." I texted back to ask if it was my ex-husband. I got a text back from the new number, "No."

I called the number to make sure the message had come from her phone. I haven't had the kids' numbers for a long time. I really hoped she would answer, but I was very nervous. What do you say in all that time? There is uneasiness, hostility, ugliness. She has written, "I do not wish to speak to you." It was her voice on the message. I still recognized her voice, mannerisms in her speech. She sounded sweet, and a little flippant. I left a message saying, "Hi, this is your mom. It is nice to get to hear your voice. I am excited for you to go to Europe, and I am happy to sign the form for you to get your passport. I would just like to know a little more about the trip. I love you and I miss you very much." She soon texted, "Are you going to help me or continue to hold it over my head?"

This is my child. The daughter I have not spoken to in four and a half years. She has gone from a child to a young woman. The daughter who has grown over a foot since I've laid eyes on her. My child.

Because I am her mother and I share legal custody they needed my signature for her to get a passport. I would've have liked to have used that signature to my advantage. I said we could meet in person and I could sign it. I wrote that to both her and her dad. She said she would take that as a no, and my ex said never mind. I wrote that I had never said I wouldn't sign it. I said I was happy to. My ex wrote, "Great. I think this'll be a big step in getting you two back together. I'll even set up reunification therapy when she gets back from Europe." My stomach flipped, a surge of joy ran through me. And my head said, "Don't believe it." How often had he dangled that carrot before? He dangled carrots all through our divorce, pretending to be reasonable, agreeing to do things he never did, or that he did the exact opposite of, signed court orders he then defied. He'd actually dangled carrots in front of me our entire marriage, and then snatched them away as soon as I got close enough to take a bite.

I ended up asking him to send me the information of where to to go to sign the paper. I would do it for my daughter. I did not want to give her father any more ammunition to use to poison her against me. I hope she is safe. I hope she has a wonderful time.

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