I was married for 17 years, together 19. Left him in 2015, divorced 2016. I lived with him in a very remote place in rural coastal Alaska, to a small town southwest of here. I left because his job is the health care worker in a small native village no way I could stay in that community full of flying monkeys, but more importantly, my son needed a healthy community and a good school, and I needed more opportunities of every stripe.
We split custody. I have my son from Christmas (we switch holiday years) to July. Part of the 50/50 custody agreement is that I let my X have the kid for spring break so I can have an equal amount of time in the fall when he is with his father. Along comes COVID-19.
My X decided that for spring break this year he is going to take our son to Texas to an private exotic game ranch to hunt. As the epidemic begins ramping up, I express concern about these travel plans. I am ignored, blown off, told not to worry. I ask that he stay in state instead of traveling Outside (as we say here in AK). Nope, not a chance. He did agree to not take the kid Costco’ing, Wallmarting, etc. but I have no way of knowing how faithful he was to that agreement (he’s a shopper!). I hesitate to ask the kid as I don’t want to put him in the middle and I know for a fact the X tells his son not to tell me anything.
My X’s need to not change his plans, take our son through 3 airports, twice, including Seattle and Dallas-Ft. Worth, so he can go on a Bucket List hunt — risking our individual health as well as our communities, is a perfect example of why we are no longer married. Asshole X tells me that he has all sorts of disinfectants and medical supplies with him, they will be fine. I ask “Do you have a thermometer?” Crickets. Did I mention he is a health aide???
I work for the Forest Service. I run the front reception desk at our small district office. We aren’t getting clear decision making from above. Some people in the office are teleworking, some aren’t. Some are social distancing, some aren’t. I have to report to work. I am disinfecting everything I that stands still and some things that won’t!!
When my son returns to my custody on Sunday (please God let that happen smoothly) I will have to quarantine us for at least 2 weeks. Luckily my supervisor is fully supportive and encouraging of that plan and I will be able to work from home, even though I am not in a position that teleworks. Our small city is shutting down and preparing for worse case scenario and our small hospital gets overrun. We aren’t on the road system. If weather comes in, planes aren’t flying. People will die in this community.
Tracy, is it wrong of me to wish my X to come down with a very very severe case of crud? (It doesn’t even have to be Coronovirus, a really bad stomach flu will do.) After my son is back with me safe of course. I don’t want the X to die, I just want him to wish he was dead. Just a little. For like a solid week or two.
My story is a classic example of entitlement, selfishness and disregard for his son’s (and everyone else’s) safety. I’ve kept my attorney appraised of these happenings in case I ever have the ability to take him back to court, she’s made a file for it “Covid-19 X”.
I’m sorry. If ever the pain of co-parenting with fuckwits was put into starker relief, it’s this crisis.
Ignoring experts because Fuckwit Knows Better? Check.
Swanning off in flamboyant disregard of everyone’s wishes because You’re Not the Boss of Me? Check.
Minimizing your REASONABLE concerns for safety? Check.
Doing whatever the fuck they want to, who cares who it hurts, because hey! shiny thing!? Check.
Letting you play the part of Mean, Mean Mommy to his Disney Parent? Check.
Sticking you with the clean-up and consequences? Check again.
My god, Kate, we’ve all been there. Substitute some other horror — driving drunk, locking your kid in the car alone, dumping kids off with distant relatives/passing acquaintance/hobo they once tripped over — we get it.
The world assumes good intent of parents. That they have the primal impulse to care about their offspring and guard them from all harm. That they’re selfless instead of selfish. That there is a reason to appeal to. A better self.
No. What this crisis is demonstrating is what we chumps have known all along — there are narcissistic fuckwits out there who don’t give a flip for anyone’s health and well-being. They’d trade their own mothers for a magic jelly bean. Hell, they’d trade their mothers for a licorice jellybean.
(Or they’d dump all their stock and profit from your misery… Forgive me, I’ve been reading the news headlines.)
Kate, I can’t give you any advice, as you’ve done exactly what I would’ve suggested — you documented this for your lawyer. I’d write to your ex and spell out EXACTLY what damages his spring break lark has cost you and your son. You’re much nicer than me wishing ex the stomach flu. I was hoping one of his Texas safari animals might gore him, or he falls backwards into a manure lagoon. Is eaten by armadillos. Beset upon by fire ants. I can think of a hundred Texas tortures. (Traffic… I-35…)
Suffice it to say, I despise him for you.
I hate the feelings of powerlessness we are all feeling right now. I hate that he took a difficult situation and made it that much harder.
Let me offer my validation that he sucks, and that you are the Sane and Mighty Parent.
Big hugs to all the parents who care. To the single parents who are juggling this homeschool-while-teleworking nightmare. Hold your babies close.
And a pox on fuckwits.