I need to vent. I'm about to explain a lot of very personal shit and then I'm going to get extremely bitchy. This will also explain one of the two issues I was dealing with last week that I was not yet ready to talk about. If you have no interest in the drama, I don't blame you. Skip it if you like. But if you want to know some interesting stuff about my past, if you want to know me better, if you like my bitch sessions, or if you are Jennifer Kaul, please read on.
Um, I guess I'll do this chronologically. It'll make the most sense that way. I'm also going to give you the abbreviated version for the first half, which is still quite long. This is a hell of a long read - I hope you have the patience for it.
- March 1992 - I meet Jennifer Parnell. We proceed to date off and on, mostly on, for 3 1/2 years. She absolutely qualifies as my high school sweetheart.
- January 1995 - Jennifer gets pregnant just before the end of her senior year. She will probably deny it to her deathbed and I'm not shrugging off my part of the blame, but it was HER idea not to use a condom. (Yes, I went along with it... reluctantly.)
- August 1995 - We break up. It's a very foggy time in my mind - not clouded by substance or anything, I have a clear memory of the events, but not of my thought process or motivation. I was clouded by puberty, by fright, by not having found the right antidepressant yet (which for those of you who have no experience with clinical depression is a much bigger deal than you probably think it is)... clouded by a lot of things. I can see it a little more clearly now than I could then though - I was 19, I had not yet experienced life, and I was scared out of my mind of this kind of commitment. I ran, plain and simple. It's not respectable, it's not admirable, in fact it makes me a jackass, but that's what happened.
- October 29th, 1995 - Kayla is born. I am at the hospital. Jennifer is nice to me after she gets some drugs in her. Her mother is not.
- Late 1995 through early 1996 - I stop by Jennifer's house maybe twice or three times. Jennifer is understandably unhappy with me.
- April 9th, 1996 - I get arrested and go to jail. (If you don't know that story, go here. Be warned, that's quite a long entry on its own.) While in jail, I attempt to write no less than three letters to Jennifer. Two of them come back marked Return to Sender and the other disappears since I had written "If you read this I promise to stop writing" on it. It is never acknowledged.
- November 25th-ish, 1996 - I get out of jail.
- December 1st, 1996 - I go to Jennifer's house even though I'm terrified of what she might say to me. I go over there with the intention of trying to ask her forgiveness for being a stupid jackass, to let her know that I've changed as a person, and to find out about seeing Kayla and being a part of her life. Jennifer basically tells me that I've blown my chance, that she wants nothing to do with me, and to fuck off. Now please note that I have made myself vulnerable to her by asking this. I have humbled myself by making myself open to her after having just gotten out of jail - the most humiliated I've ever been in my life. I came to her in spite of this humiliation because I felt it was the right thing to do, and she utterly and completely took advantage of it to say mean, spiteful, hurtful, bitter things to me. She is the queen of cheap shots. Not knowing what else to do, having quite a lot else on my mind at the time (jail still being an uncomfortably fresh experience in my mind), I decide that the only thing I can do at the time is to try to respect her wishes. I fuck off. I also buy a blank diary type book and begin writing to Kayla in it.
- Seven to ten days later - I call her on the phone to once again try to talk her into letting me come around. She is even more bitter, angry, shitty and hurtful than she was before. I got off the phone and cried, hard, for a good half hour, until my tear ducts were dry and my head hurt and I literally couldn't cry anymore. (It was at that moment that I heard No Need To Argue for the first time. I posted about that a couple days ago, right here. It was a pivotal moment.)
- Fast forward to March of 2000 - I meet Tim working at Applebee's. Tim introduces me to beer. I show my gratitude by being his greatest road trip and drinking buddy for one hell of a partying summer. We were such close friends for a year or so that we were in that place where we knew what the other was thinking from just a glance. We knew and trusted one another thoroughly. Unforunately, as these things tend to do, this friendship was fast, he and I began to evolve and change, and after a while our friendship faded. We grew apart.
- Sometime in late summer 2002 - Tim calls me to inform me that he has met, thinks the world of, and would like to date Jennifer. Yes, that Jennifer. I express my discomfort at the idea, which he proceeds to ignore and dates her anyway. Cue anger and hurt on my part. We don't talk for quite a while.
- Sometime in 2003 - I finally get okay with the idea that he and Jennifer are pretty serious and decide to quit being an asshole and to be his friend anyway. They get married.
So. Tandra and I have been mostly together for over two and a half years now. Living with her has drastically changed my perspective on life and the world. I've learned what it's like to have kids, the stresses and the happinesses and just how different life is. I've also heard her talk about growing up without a father and the pyschological impact that has had on her. I won't go into it here, but it's been quite bad and far-reaching. She is a strong girl indeed to have overcome it to the impressive degree that she has. Not many would be able to do so well.
Her perspective of not having a father has really made me think about Kayla, my (biological) daughter. Obviously there are differences - Kayla's in a much more stable setting than Tandra was, and Kayla has Tim, who, even though our days together were filled with beer and... well, more beer, is really one of the best guys I've ever met. He's left those days behind him, as have I, and I would much rather it be him in this situation than some random guy. So Kayla's situation is different, but I still have concern for her. I think that she at least deserves to know that I care, that I think about her, and that she has the option of talking to me if she chooses. So for a while I've been kicking around the idea of approaching Jennifer with this, but that idea scares the living shit out of me. That wound has scabbed over, but it is still there, and this could potentially tear it open again. I don't want that to happen. I don't want to make myself vulnerable to her again; I don't want to give her another opportunity to hurt me. So I've been trying to find the nerve and the words to approach her with this.
Last weekend, on the 6th or so, I get a phone call from Tim. He asks if I would be willing to sign some legal papers that would allow him to adopt Kayla as his daughter.
Yeah, that blindsided me. That thought, as obvious as it should have been, never occurred to me. It really wasn't much of a question in my mind - I was absolutely willing to do that. I have nothing to gain by refusing to do it - it's not like I'm in her life in any way, and if this will make her (and Tim) happy, then it's definitely in their best interest and I'll do anything I can to help. But as I was considering this, it occurred to me that if there was ever such a thing as "a sign", that this was it. This was the moment I had to approach them about seeing Kayla, and this was an opportunity to talk to Tim, an old and close friend, about it, instead of Jennifer, that mean, bitter bitch. So I asked Tim to come over, and I put my plans for the rest of the evening on hold.
I told him that regardless of what he had to say about anything else, I would sign the papers. Then the rest of our hour-long conversation was about me seeing Kayla. It was tense, it was stressful, I was uncomfortable and scared and nervous about the content of the conversation, but the conversation itself was extremely cordial, courteous, even friendly. I appreciate that Tim was able to do that. Another reason why I'm glad it was him and not some random guy. But in the end, his answer boiled down to "Kayla has a very good, stable situation right now, she has two loving parents. I don't want to confuse her or disrupt our current situation, so I don't think it's the best thing for her to meet you." That's not verbatim, but that's the gist of it. I was disappointed, and I didn't think he was making the right decision, but I felt better that at least I had asked. Very very much to Tim's credit, he volunteered to take this proposition to Jennifer, even in the face of the potential "real bad reaction" she would most likely have to it. I told him that I respected his position and therefore his decision and that I was not asking him to take it to Jennifer, but he volunteered to do it anyway. Big kudos to Tim for manning up and doing that. Plus, this took the load off me of having to talk to her about it myself. Tim and I have a trust relationship, Tim and Jennifer have a trust relationship. Also he knows her a lot better than I do at this point. For him to bring this to her was a much more diplomatic approach, I thought. I knew that Jennifer wouldn't believe that I had been considering this since before Tim came to me about the adoption. I knew her take would be "Oh, you never wanted anything to do with her before we asked you about the adoption, what's the difference now?" But, whatever, that's just something I knew I'd have to overcome. I hoped to use Tim's trust relationship with her to convince her that wasn't the case. So that's how Tim and I left it that night.
The next Tuesday, March 9th, at work, I got a voice mail from Jennifer asking me to call her so we could schedule a time for me to sign the papers. It was the first time I'd heard her voice since that phone call in 1996, and I was very nervous to call her back. But I did, and I spoke to her, and we agreed that I would come up to her workplace and sign the papers the next day at noon. It would be the first time I'd seen her in seven years and I was scared as hell. Tandra wanted to come with me, and I wanted her there with me for moral support. We went up there, and at the beginning, things seemed to be going smoothly. It made me feel a little better that Jennifer's hands and voice were obviously quaking. Then, as I was just about to leave, Jennifer said "Tim says you want to talk to me about something?"
Uhh... shit. I was not expecting this. I thought that Tim was going to be our go-between. Evidently Jennifer wanted to hear it from me or something. I was completely unprepared for it and I said "Um, now's bad." "Now's bad, huh," she said. "Well now's probably going to be about your only chance." So I took a deep breath, looked at Tandra, and said "Okay. Let's go somewhere and talk." Jennifer led us to an office with a door, and we entered. When Tandra came in with me, Jennifer looked at her... no introduction, no pleasant hi, how are you.. she said "I'm sorry, do I know you?"
Yeah. So Jennifer just immediately started this thing off on quite the shitty note, and her being rude to Tandra REALLY pissed me off. Not what I needed at that moment.
Since I was unprepared for this whole deal, I just got right to the point. I asked if there was any chance that Kayla and I might be able to meet and maybe get to know each other a little bit. Jennifer's reaction was rude and amounted to "What would be the point of that?" At this point Tandra tried to explain to Jennifer how growing up without a father had made her feel and that affected her, and that we didn't want Kayla to have to feel that way. Fucking Jennifer said "I'm sorry, but I really don't see how this is your issue." Fucking bitch. Tandra said "Fine, I'll butt out," got up and left, slamming the door behind her. I knew that she was leaving so that she didn't haul off and beat the hell out of Jennifer, which someone needs to do. I got up to follow her out and Jennifer stopped me, wanting to know whether or not I had something to say. The door to the office was still ajar from me almost leaving, and I whirled around and glared at Jennifer. I said "Listen, I will talk to you if you will stop being such a fucking bitch. There was no need for you to treat Tandra like that. You pissed her off, and that pisses me off. Knock it the fuck off." Jennifer said "Would you mind closing the door? We are in a place of business." So I slammed the door and said "I don't give a damn where we are, you had no right to be such a bitch to Tandra and you have no right to be such a bitch to me. Now if you can chill the fuck out, drop the cheap shots and bullshit and discuss this like mature adults, the way I tried to start it out, I will talk to you." Jennifer really had the stupidity to say that she wasn't being a bitch to Tandra. What a fat fucking cunt. Oh yeah, did I mention that she'd put on at least 60 pounds in the time since I'd seen her? Yeah, made me even happier that I managed to get away from her.
Anyway, Jennifer continued to claim that she felt that Kayla and I had no business talking to one another. I said something like "all I want is for her to know that the option is open to her. That's all I'm asking." She said "and you think this is in her best interest?" I said "absolutely." She said "I don't think so." She continued to be rude and just shut me down at every turn until finally I was just sick of her shit. I said "You're obviously not interested in actually listening to anything I have to say. Are we done here?" I stood up and opened the door and she said "like you were done being a parent?" Queen of cheap shots, I told you. I didn't answer and I didn't look back. I walked out.
You know, as I said in an earlier post, I had hoped that her method of thinking might have evolved in the last seven years. I'd hoped that maybe she'd learned to look past her own hurt and think of what might be best for Kayla, but evidently that's not happened, which makes me think it will never happen. It's too bad for her, really, that she can't move on from this. I'll get over being fucking pissed off at her - she'll be stuck here in this for the rest of her life.
(What I wrote here will make a lot more sense now.)
Well, what can I do. I fucking tried. Again. It's not my fault that selfish fucking snatch can't see past her own ill-advised pride to do the right thing. I'm writing to Kayla in that book. I know that she will come to find me someday, and although my answers may not be complete or satisfactory, at least she'll know that I tried, and that I was thinking of her. And I won't give Kayla the book until she's old enough to prevent Jennifer from getting her hands on it. I only have one copy of it and I'll be damned if I'll let Jennifer's punk ass get ahold of it and keep it from Kayla. As for Jennifer, I'm finished dealing with her. Done. I have nothing to say to her again, ever. It's obvious that there is no point, no possibility for advancing her way of thinking, no opening for me to try to actually speak to her. My time is too valuable to waste any more of it on her. So fuck her.