Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Skype-ing to reach you... not.

Last week was the first proper week we'd spent together all year. You were in hospital for half of the other one, in Exeter.

Just to underline that I am a reasonable man, and that I am keen for you to know where you stand with all your family, I decided to honour the court order for 'indirect contact' (telephone and video conferencing) in reverse, even though it doesn't apply to me.

In fact, your Step-Mum and I are working on the principle that where practicable, we will let you talk to any of your family, any time you ask, when you're with us. Grandma and Big Grandpa spoke to you about eight times on Friday...

Last time we went to court, in September, the Judge said that whilst it had been reasonable for me to have had to travel 800 miles plus, every other weekend, for the past six months, to spend time with you, that it was unreasonable for Mummy to have to let you see me every fortnight if she had to share the travelling 50:50.

So, as a sop to me, since I was now only going to see you three-weekly (the least contact ever since you were born) I was awarded an order guaranteeing me at least two telephone calls or video conferences a week. When I asked what I was to do when Mummy failed to comply, I was told she wouldn't. Any Daddy who has been in the family courts knows this is tosh.

Mummy, having told the court she had a webcam, then told me she couldn't afford one. She must have blown her budget on the i-phone, new laptop, new wardrobe, regular changes of hair colour... Sorry. Party games and a long silence from Mummy's solicitor naturally ensued, oh, along with the threat of a non-molestation order to shut me up. What telephone calls I did get with you were brief and often at unsociable hours - 0720 on a weekday and 2140 on a weeknight as examples.

Anyway, at long last, we had our first video conference last Thursday - to allow you to talk to Mummy whilst with me. It lasted forty minutes, and I taped it all. For much of it, we left you to play, first in the lounge, then in your room, so you could play with your kitchen with Mummy, without distraction. It worked a treat.

I offered Mummy a repeat on Saturday. She said she was too busy and would wait til you got back to her. I got that on tape, too.

Anyway, why the rant?

Well, I have had a long day at work, I've been into London on a strike day, to Doncaster and back for a meeting, and rushed home to be ready to talk to you on the webcam for the first time, two months late. That was the light at the end of my tunnel.

I got home, I got your model railway out for you to see on the screen, and waited.

Mummy never called. When I rang her phone just before eight, she didn't answer.

It gives me no pleasure to have to start pursuing your Mum for contempt of court. I gave her every opportunity to sort herself out. I warned her solicitor a fortnight ago that she needed to get her to comply or face the consequences. I even showed Mummy how it can work for you, by letting her speak to you at length during your first proper week with me all year - and I will do so again happily if ever you ask, or on special occasions, in the same way that she got telephone calls from you on her birthday, on mother's day, at Christmas...

The point is, you are two. You can't ring anyone unaided.

On Saturday night, your Mummy was too busy to talk to you. She turned down my offer of a call.

Tonight, I am left feeling the void of another night spent praying I would get to speak to you - and you probably won't know I even tried.

Not yet, anyway. One day.

Love from Daddy.

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