Even 6 years later my divorce continues to impact me & my son. It is unfortunate that relationships still seem to be driven by old ghosts of the past. So much so that an innocent misunderstanding becomes an ugly argument. My son was picked up by his grandfather & his father to go to some kind of show with his aunt. That was great since he hasn't seen any of them since his Bar Mitzvah in early June. Even more pressing is the fact that his grandfather is in the process of moving away so that the only link to that side of the family that lives near-by is his aunt. Incidentally, his father has been in town for most, if not all of the summer & has made very little effort to see his son. So I have been most anxious for him to have any time with any of them.
It seemed like a good plan. They would go do their thing & then have him home by 10 PM. (Usually it wouldn't be an issue for my son to stay out later on the weekends but he had made plans with a school friend to go to Kings Dominion very early & needed to get some sleep). Around 9:45 I get a text from my child stating that he'd be home around 11. I respond telling him that wasn't very good planning as he has a very early morning. About an hour later he texts that it will be after midnight, at which point I become very concerned as no adult has yet to communicate with me about the fact that I was expecting him home by 10 & that he really needs to get sleep. Since I have no idea what he's doing or where he is, I call his cell. His aunt picks up & proceeds to tear me a new one about how I was constantly texting (um, twice???) & interrupting & how that's just like me to be upset that he's with them. Now wait a HUGE minute!! I could care less if he's with them--in fact I want him to be with them. What I'm upset about is that no one bothered to call to say that the show (I found out what it was at that point) was way longer than what I was told. If I knew ahead of time that he'd be later I would not have allowed him to accept the invitation to go to Kings Dominion. This is as a parent concerned for their child not because of who he's with. All this is lost on his aunt of course who is ranting about how typical this is of me, etc., etc. I interrupt her & say that I was happy that he was with them & that frankly I didn't believe that there'd be a next time (because she is conspicuously absent from his life, as is his father, & now seemingly his grandfather) so I doubted that an event like this would happen again. That was the absolute wrong thing to say as she quickly misinterpreted my meaning as a threat. She said, "Are you threatening to block access to my nephew? How dare you!!" At this point I'm blown away that she even had the nerve to say "How dare you!", as she rarely, if ever, tries to make arrangements to do anything with her nephew. So I explain what I meant by the statement that I didn't think there'd be a next time. I said that I was quite surprised that anyone was doing anything with my son since she, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't bother to try to see him (she wasn't even at his Bar Mitzvah), call him, or attempt to have a meaningful relationship with him. (Obviously I am quite upset at this point as she has been acting as quite the affronted one & my intent was purely concern for my son getting home at a decent hour) So I let her know how very disappointed I am in the entire lot of them & in particular her, as I have encouraged her to visit, make arrangements, call, etc., to ensure that he has ongoing connections with that side of the family. Her mother & I worked hard to do that & she knew how generous I was with them when she was still alive. She admits that she's dropped the ball & said that her mother was the one who made all the plans. OK, that's all well & good, but her mother is gone & someone needs to step up or my son will not have a relationship with any of them. And talking to me is the first way to continue that (even if they hate me & think I'm a witch--this of course based on my ex's views only & certainly not on the fact that I've made sure that my son has visited them as much as possible when his father was all but absent from his life--go figure!) That has all been pretty much lost & since no one from his grandfather to his father feels that they need to communicate plans with me, & instead make all their plans with my 13 yo son--hence where the problem lies. If they'd called me to tell me specifically when the show would probably end, I'd not allowed my son to go to the amusement park the next day. But since I heard the details from a child, well, need I say more? So of course the one who suffers the most here is my son--who would love to see his granddad & aunt but does not because no one wants to take responsibility as adults to make the time. I hope that this little incident lights a fire under his aunt--but I'm not holding my breath.