Starbucks Father: The Way Court Ordered Visitation Should Look?
The other day, my mother told me a story about a wonderful scene she saw while buying a drink at a local Starbucks. She said there was this man with his eight year old son playing chess. They each had their specialty drinks and the man was patiently teaching his young son about the game of chess (and life lessons along the way). My mom told me that the barista had confirmed for her that this man came in each weekend with the child. He had told the barista that he only saw his son on the weekends; therefore, he was determined to pack the most quality time he could into the time he saw him. (This was a visitation scenario) My mother also mentioned that before she spoke to the barista she judged the man because he had scraggly looking dread locks and appeared very “non conventional”. (Note: That feeling had also been one of her initial reactions to Luc as he also has strange hair)
My mother didn’t draw many conclusions from this scene other than her surprise at what was actually happening with this man (from the barista who had seen them each week) compared to her initial reaction. After this discussion, I thought about fatherhood in the context of court ordered visitation. This man appeared to be doing it right. He recognizes that he only has a finite (and short) amount of time with his son and he chose to spend it in a way that the son clearly enjoyed and doing something that would positively impact that child’s life forever.
I distinctly remember being about six months pregnant and having a discussion with Luc in the car while going through a carwash. Luc was going through one of his typical rants about how terrible it was when women kept their children away from the father. I remember being confused as he appeared to have personal experience with this. It also appeared as if he was trying to threaten me at the same time. At the time, I couldn’t understand ever being in a situation where I would be concerned about the time that my child spent with their father. Looking back on this conversation, I believe Luc was both ranting about the other woman who had run away from him AND threatening me.
Before Luc, I wouldn’t have thought much about Starbucks father. I am not sure I would have even noticed him. Now, however, I have become painfully aware of good fathers because my son doesn’t have one. Here are some of the crazy things I thought of in response to Starbucks father:
1) Wow, I wish baby boy’s father wasn’t a criminal who chose to be a parasite and live off of women instead of get a job.
2) Even if Luc knew how to play chess (which he probably doesn’t), he couldn’t afford to buy that specialty drink from Starbucks because he refuses to get a job.
3) Instead of showing baby boy how to play chess, Luc would show baby boy how to exploit women.
4) Would Luc chose to spend his visitation time doing something for baby boy or would he chose to do something for himself? (I think you can all guess my answer for this one)
In the weeks that followed the night I left Luc, I would break into tears when I saw fathers in public with their children. Before I realized who Luc really was, I remember imagining my son following his father around and looking up to him. I imagined my sons father being the respectable man I believed he was.
Part of my journey recovering from this psychopath is accepting that Luc will never be Starbucks father. He will never put baby boy before his own selfish needs. He will never stop being a criminal. He will always be a psychopath. Instead of mourning who Luc will never be, I need to focus on showing my son what a good male role model looks like. If I am stuck having this parasite in my son’s life, I will have to make sure that someday my son is able to see him for who he really is – a sick parasite. I don’t want to have to tell my son this. I want him to see it in comparison to the good men in his life.
This is a very lovely article. I find it touching that you’re thinking about, and strategizing how to find, positive role models for your son. In our current politically correct climate that’s very rare, and extremely commendable.
This world needs a whole lot more mothers like you.
I saw your comment on the LF thread about ‘Andrew’. Very fair, and very reasonable. I just want to bang my head when I see so many women on LF go on and on and ON against men in general – even to the point where Donna feels a need to interrupt in frustration, has given her opinion that he isn’t a predator, and has stated that it’s an ugly and dangerous side to LF posters that they ‘see’ predators everywhere and are willing to label and condemn someone based on a few lines. Even then, Donna’s comment barely made a dent in many of the ‘bash Andrew’ comments, who seemed to be willing to jump to worst case conclusions, and had lost the notion of showing common decency to someone who posted there. ‘Andrew’, obviously, had flaws and shortcomings. However, even if he were a saint, I can only imagine the hurt, anger and possibly even rage that he may have been feeling based on his reception at LF.
I couldn’t help thinking that ‘Andrew’ was some mother’s son – and how would she feel about the reception he got?
As someone who has worked in a male profession for years, it also taught me that most women seem to have no clue as to how real decent (but flawed, as are we all) men think and sound. Sometimes really decent but not fully ‘socialized’ guys (for instance egg-head guys that I’ve known and been friends with for years) can sound a bit like Andrew.
I think that is a very dangerous combination for our next generation of men and boys: that they are all sooo easily labeled as potential predators and scum just for being men combined with being awkward in their attempts to connect with or nurture others.
As someone abused by a woman, in my attempts to try to get to the root of what I was dealing with (and after being treated like a monster in all the current ‘Victim’ services by insisting on sticking with my ‘story’ that my mother was violently sexually abusive), I went to a few men’s rights/father’s rights/groups to see if I could find any support there. I doubt most of the women posting on LF would believe it, but I saw there pretty much the mirror image of what I see on most places that cater to women as victims (but only the women as victims of men – the rest of us are on our own): in the main decent men who’ve been abused and taken advantage of by abusive (frequently psychopathic) women and corrupt and ‘unjust’ family court systems, but with the ever present (in groups of either gender) presence of a few instigators who HATE people of the opposite gender (or sexual orientation, btw).
I lament that we always seem to make this about gender, when the real story is this is (or at least should be) a battle between decent people trying to do the right thing for their children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/etc… vs. indecent people who try to use their family as pawns in their manipulative games – people who don’t have children’s well-being at heart.
This should be decent men and women against indecent/manipulative men and women. Based on my experience in the MR groups, your Starbuck’s father could just as easily be one of those fathers doing everything possible trying to counter the influence of a psychopathic mother who gamed the system. And one who has too many corrupting influences whispering in his ear that no woman can be trusted, and marriage is a trap for suckers.
What I see as being the most tragic is how the daughters of these ‘angry at all women’ men, and the sons of these ‘angry at all men’ women are growing up; being around constant messages that they are inherently bad/evil for no other reason than their gender. Actually, that’s not the most tragic, come to think of it. I think the sons of these ‘angry at all women’ men, and the daughters of these ‘angry at all men’ women have it just as bad. They’re being brainwashed that there is no such thing as loving decent people of the opposite gender, and no such thing as a loving, supportive, mix-gender family. In the first case, they’re being brought up to think of themselves as inherently flawed, evil, and less than worthless (inhuman almost). In the latter, those children are being brought up to think of themselves as superior and entitled. Neither is how you bring up healthy children, imo.
The father’s rights groups members, btw, who occassionally read female-focused sites/articles like LF, particularly at a time when the more centralist voices of reason aren’t speaking up, and the ‘male=psychopath; psychopath=male’ voices predominate, who may be doubting what they’ve been told (that it’s ALL women who are potentially abusive and they’d therefore better beware of all of them), come away from discussions like the ‘Andrew’ article with their worst fears confirmed; that all women secretly hate men and as men they will be pilloried for even trying to connect, so why bother?
I don’t know what ‘baby boy’s’ name is, but I hope for the sake of ALL the ‘baby boy’s like your son, that we women can all just stop with the ‘men are bad’ stuff (and men can put the same cork in the ‘women are bad’ messages as well).
When we concentrate on only ever seeing the worst in others we miss the opportunity to notice the good things. Thanks for a touching article that points out the decency in both fathers like Mr. Starbucks, and mothers like you who not only notice them, but make a point to celebrate them and hold them up as models for YOUR son.
Kudos to you.