You’ve read other posts where I’ve discussed difficulties with the ex-wife of my husband, Atticus. He is a kind and patient man, which his ex perceives as weakness. Her idea of discussion and compromise is, “I’m doing this and you have to accept and like it. Conversation over.” It’s hard to raise the kids with a united parental front when you have to deal with someone like that — she’s the proverbial bull in the china shop, running roughshod over everyone else and believing that intimidating people is the only way to get favorable results. Then she wonders why people don’t like her.
From the first time I met her, I’ve heard her disparaging comments about Atticus. When Artie had to be hospitalized for his seizures, Atticus was at work and his children were visiting me on their spring break. Their mother actually told me if I needed my kids to stay somewhere, I should bring them to her because Atticus was inept with children and a really bad parent. I was floored.
I’ve watched Atticus for years. He gives up everything for his children. He desires nothing more than to be with them. He knows them. I love how he watches carefully to learn the strengths of his children, then helps them to learn how to develop those strengths. When he realized his oldest son had a proficiency for chess when he was 6, Atticus taught him how to play a serious game, and Tour took off with it. In no time he was competing in tournaments and even became our state’s champion during elementary school.
Now that he isn’t with them every day, it’s harder to encourage the kids in their interests. He sees potential for growth, but knows his ex never will see those things. She stays wrapped in herself and what she wants. It makes me sad that he’s such an incredible dad and can’t be a father to his children except on weekends. How could she not have seen how completely dedicated he was and still is to his family? It was the first thing I noticed about Atticus when I met him: he is the ultimate family man.
Artie and I were talking recently about the situation with the ex-wife. It pains him greatly that his step-siblings hear negative comments about their father. You see, Artie knows first hand what a bad father is. He said to me, “If she wants to see a crappy father, I can show her one. She has no idea.” And Artie is right on the money. “I’ve learned what a real man and dad is over the last three years watching Atticus,” he explained with great passion.
My children came out of horror and into joy by accepting a gentle, loving, ingenuous, principled man as their step-father. His children had love, safety, and stability. Their mother tells them all of that was bad parenting by dad. So what is she teaching them if they are hearing that the good and positive life they had was bad? It’s scary to think about, isn’t it?