any time i begin to doubt whether or not we are truly in charge in the creation of our individual realities, i have only to look at my ex-husband. at first glance, he seems like an upstanding enough sort - former eagle scout, member of various local, state and federal bars, devout church goer and choir singer. to look at him, you wouldn't know he'd (almost) rather go to jail than pay child support.
yesterday, i received a love-note, in the form of a court notice, informing me that mister ex has filed to have the amount of child support he's ordered to pay reduced to "the minimum the Court will allow." it's the song he's been singing every year since we split up - times are hard, business is bad, the law practice is dying. now, apparently, he's closing it.
in the long run, it means that if mister ex has to get a Real Job- which i believe the reverend ms. vicky must be advocating for - his wages will be garnished, a Good Thing for libby who's the beneficiary of the support. (i will simply have to remember to tell myself not to expect him to hold the job long.)
last time we did this, two years ago, they knocked off one child (which they were going to do anyway since meg graduated high school) and reduced the total by twenty-five dollars. i wondered then if twenty five dollars a month was worth all the time and hassle.
for mister ex, i guess it had to be, since for him, it's "the principle that matters."
what's really sad is that he doesn't understand the REAL principle behind it all - the one that says parents shall be responsible for their children's survival. but what's even sadder is that he doesn't see the court-determined amount to be a challenge, a bar to jump, to overcome, to possibly be able to do better than.... he sees it as an inescapable burden. and because he sees it this way, his entire world vision is shackled by it. mister ex will never be a success not because he's so burdened by this horrible thing that keeps him from achieving, but because he won't allow himself to be. if he were a success, he'd have to share it.
with his children.
mister ex is not alone. i believe the psycho-social influences that combined to produce this pathology in mister ex and all the other men around the world who don't believe they are responsible for their children are the root causes of all the evils in this world.
i used to think i'd done my children a disservice by choosing such a lousy father for them, but now im not so sure. it's harder to point out the lessons when the example is a shining star. the light of accomplishment blots out the failures, the second chances, the lucky guesses, the eleventh hour saves. when the loser stands before you unveiled and naked in all his shameful glory, it's a lot easier to see where and how and what he did that went wrong.
one of the biggest mistakes i see mister ex make, over and over and over again, is to fail... because he thinks he mustn't dare succeed.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.