It is "Boxing Day," the day after Christmas. I am visiting my parents. The plan had been to have August and Douglas join us. The picture here is of August, taken by Douglas last summer. Of course, the plan didn't work out because August's mom decided that she was not going to bring him to the east coast for the holidays. She is, as specified by our divorce agreement, supposed to do that every other year. This is the second time running she has not complied with the agreement in this regard. The last time I let it pass without much comment here. She has now had two tries and so is batting 1000. So, it seems appropriate to start talking about this in public.
My parents are in their 80s; Doug is in school and plays a sport, so he does not have the opportunity to travel much. They didn't get to see August this Christmas, or last, or the one before that. It is unlikely that they will get to see him until next summer. (And, of course, the reverse is true too - August didn't get to see his brother, grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle ...) So, the Grinch is taking out her psycho-pathologies* on August, his brother, and his grandparents. Of course, the divorce agreement is explicit about that too - neither parent should knowingly disrupt August's chance to have a relationship with his family. Perhaps August's mom has lots of reasons to dislike me. Does that afford her any excuse for acting so cruelly to others who are wholly uninvolved?
If you know August's mom and the subject should come up (please feel free to raise it and see what fantastic tales she can spin), she surely will offer a list of self-serving excuses and rationalizations. Believe what you will; I am sick of deflating her tiresome claims. Maybe - despite the lesson we learned in kindergarten about there being multiple sides to any story - all of her complaints are true. But ask yourself, what possible inconvenience would suffice for you to keep a five year old boy from seeing his family at the holidays? Shouldn't the obligation be to bend over backwards to do what is best for your son? For most folks that is Parenting 101. Apparently not for August's mom.
* "Narcissism . . . describes a devastatingly vulnerable person, compensating for a deeply imprinted inadequacy with a desperate need for admiration, and a grandiose self-image." Benedict Carey. 2010. "Narcissism: The Malady of Me," The New York Times (4 December). I am more than happy to chat about this admittedly non-professional diagnosis any time.