Question: Dear Louise: You seem so kind and, so wise, in your lovely photo. Otherwise, I would not have dared to open up! I would appreciate knowing what you think of my father. My father ignores my son. For instance yesterday, it was my son’s 17th birthday. As my father lives in Miami, I asked him to please send a Facebook greeting to my son, to no avail. Yet, my father regularly e-mails me photos of himself taken with his arms lovingly around my cousins and all their children. Everyone says how lovely my father is. I find this intolerable and, given your wisdom, I would like to know what you think of this. Prior to this, I’ve spent 11 years trying to contact my son (who lives in England). My ‘ex’ never allowed me any contact (all my phone calls were hung up on, not one of my letters were given to my son and his father did not allow me to visit when I was there. I was never told anything about my son. By the way, I remarried 10 years and live in Spain. A year and a half ago, my wonderful husband found my son on Facebook. He was 16 years and, he had run away from home. It was devastating to me to find out about all this trouble. The social workers put him back with his father but, he ran away again and he lives with foster carers. We went to see him immediately and have visited him several times since, for his birthday and on school holidays. You could tell that he liked our visit but, he does not want to commit, ie. he does not want to live with us or, visit us here. He just wants to be with his friends. I found this terribly upsetting, after all the hopes I had, but now I am coming to terms with the fact that he has grown up very fast and wants his freedom and, this is what his foster carers are saying also. I phone him each week and he knows he can come and live with us. I am beginning to feel like a fool, begging my father to throw my son a bone, especially as he puts on the charm with HIS side of the family. And, how! They are Cubans and they call him, Tio, Papy, and so forth. It’s sickening! Thank you for your time and for your consideration. Yours sincerely, S.
Answer: Dear S. One thing we can never do is to have any say in another person’s reaction. Your father is doing what makes sense to him and his behavior is probably never going to make sense to you. You are finding it callous, unkind and uncalled for but that doesn’t change anything. I agree with you…still it is your job to accept it.
The cousins have all probably been in your father’s life since birth. Your son, unfortunately, hasn’t. You father may feel uncomfortable about trying to start from scratch to relate to a troubled teen. You just can’t change any of that.
The circumstances are sad but they are also joyous. You have your son back in your life to some degree and he has connected with his mom. Do you best to focus on the positive because that’s where peace lies. Blessings, Luise