Over the years of dealing with a hateful and clearly psychotic ex, Gary and I have heard the phrase “take the high road” so many times, I have to roll my eyes and gag when I hear it now. Ultimately, taking the high road when you are dealing with someone who blatantly abuses the children is not terribly difficult. Even if we held puppy-kicking parties and ran over little old ladies in the streets for fun, we would still be on the moral high road compared to the acts Crow has committed at the expense of the children.
We would have to make it a full-time, all-out effort to be more detestable and foul than Crow and her parents. Slitting the kids’ throats to please ourselves, however, is something neither Gary and I are capable of. I am thankful for that, of course, yet terrified that the children depend on and naively trust people who are willing to do just that and worse.
I freely admit my anger at what Crow and her parents do to the kids gets the best of me sometimes. No one with a heart could listen to the kids cry, hear the questions they ask, or watch them grasp their father’s shirt when it’s time to leave him, and not be furious about the way the kids are kicked around and beaten down by their mother and grandparents. We don’t subscribe to the notion that scoring a point is worth destroying the children, and we never will.
There are moments that I am immensely proud of Gary and feel quite humbled by the high road he takes, even when Crow least deserves it. Even after Crow and her parents have refused to answer the phone when Gary calls the kids, or followed the kids around while they are on the phone with him, or dictated to the kids what they are permitted and not permitted to say on the phone with him, Gary has never stooped to their level. In fact, when Crow calls and the kids don’t want to talk to her, Gary tells them, “At least tell your mother hello.” He encourages them, on holidays the kids are with us, to call their mother and wish her a happy holiday.
The kids listen to non-stop insults and filth about their father and me from their mother and their grandparents. It upsets them, hurts them. Yet they have also learned that joining in the put-downs will earn them praise…but only at one of their households. Gary is adamant that bad-mouthing will not happen in our house. I have wanted to leap up and applaud at some of the comments the kids have made about their mother or grandparents, but while I bite my tongue, Gary lets them know in no uncertain terms that we are better than that, better than name-calling and petty behind-the-back comments.
The kids could travel to the moon without Gary being told about it, and Crow tells the kids to lie to their father about their own events to make sure he can’t be a part of them. Yet every time we travel somewhere with the kids, Gary makes sure Crow gets the address where we will be, a phone number, where we will be, and when.
Crow has accomplished nothing over the years but showing her beastly ass and demonstrating to us and to the kids that she is incapable of loving anyone but herself, unwilling to be a parent, and too selfish and childish to take any high road, even if it means the kids suffer endlessly and needlessly for her choices. Gary, for his part, has impressed me more than once for being willing to extend to her the courtesy and kindness that has never been offered to him.
It’s called being a parent. It’s called being an adult. It’s called being a good person.
I am proud of Gary for being a father first, no matter what, for always putting the children ahead of himself. It is a lesson many other people in the kids’ lives could learn, should learn, if they only gave a damn about anyone besides themselves.