Tuesday, January 8, 2013
My Worst Fears: The Family that Stole Christmas
Warren and I shopped for weeks. We found the perfect gifts for his sisters. He often said: “maybe they’ll love you again if you buy them nice things.” We did buy them nice things. We talked about what they would like and their favorite colors. I sold my engagement/wedding ring to a jeweler in exchange for jewelry for them. Sentimental items that were unique to their personalities. I spent our time at a distance thinking and buying in anticipation of Christmas; our favorite family holiday. I thought this would be a way for me to connect with them and remind them of our relationship. Jason sat with me while I chose pictures from photo albums to put in their cards and special ornaments from their childhoods. [Every year I bought them a Hallmark Christmas ornament, which they unwrapped Christmas Eve, and hung for the next day.] I filled the gift boxes with ornaments before I wrapped them.
Jason has two boys and had them with him on this Christmas. His boys are one year and four years older than Warren; the three get along very well, even better than we had expected. All blonde haired and blue eyed; they could be brothers. The boys played while Jason and I prepared for Warren’s exchange to his Dad in the McDonald’s parking lot Christmas Eve. We were court ordered to exchange in a public location because of the domestic violence. We were going to drop Warren off then head directly to his family 6 hours away. We wanted to get back so it wasn’t too late for his boys to enjoy the evening and the next day. I could’ve spent time with Warren for part of Christmas day, but we didn’t want to split Jason’s time with his sons, having not seen them since the summer.The night before Christmas Eve Warren started to become unmanageable and emotional. After about an hour of trying to calm him down he revealed that Peter had told him I loved Jason and his sons more than him. I asked why he would think that and Warren said, bordering on hysterical, “Dad said the Judge let you have me on Christmas day and you said you didn’t want me.” I had revealed in court my plans and, yes, Peter had relayed the proceedings to little Warren with the additional comment that I had chosen Jason’s boys and not him. I reassured Warren of my love and his place in my heart. He was fine by the time we parted.
We all jumped in the car and drove to the exchange. I noticed that John Walton was sitting in the passenger seat and was somewhat relieved to have a “neutral” person to help with the bags of presents. Warren was concerned that he would not be able to carry them to his Dad’s car all by himself. I got out of the car and retrieved the bags of gifts that the boys were holding in the back seat and walked across the parking lot. I stopped on the passenger side of the car and held out the bags looking for John Walton to help with the exchange of gifts, prepared to be polite. He looked straight ahead with a stern look on this face; he did not even glance in my direction. This highly religious man, leader in the church, had known me for 25 years and could not even treat me like one of his employees; a grown man. Peter stepped out to help Warren and began to yell for me to get away from his car, to not step one step closer. Warren was crying. I panicked, and threw the gifts in the car saying goodbye to Warren whispering that it would be okay.They drove around to the back and we followed. Peter stopped the car at a dumpster and proceeded to throw the gifts away. I opened my car door and started to film what he was doing, with my smart phone, so he put the gifts in the trunk of the car. Talk about unnecessary drama! I texted my daughters: “I just gave your Dad hundreds of dollars worth of presents. I think he was going to throw them out. I wanted you to know, please let me know if you get them.” Twenty one minutes later I received a text from my oldest daughter: “Thanks anyway. Just returned them in front of the P Clubhouse.” And 13 minutes after that from my youngest daughter: “Thanks anyway, they’re at the clubhouse.” I quietly sobbed, tears running down my face, for the entire 6 hour trip to Jason’s family. Jason asked me what he could do and I said to just please hold my hand. He did.
Jason said it was heartbreaking to watch me excitedly wrap the gifts, talking about them opening them, writing in the cards, selecting pictures…he knew they would not accept the gifts, he had observed hostility toward me.When we arrived at his father and step mother’s house he took a call from his x wife. She had called dozens of times. He hadn’t wanted to answer with me being so distraught. She had left messages, obviously drunk, slurring her words, cursing and scolding. She proceeded to yell at him for about 30 minutes; that was one of the last times he would take a call from her.
Christmas day his stepmother made it very apparent I was not welcome, though I had told her what had happened with my daughters. I had to look at pictures of his x wife all over the house. I was sick about leaving Warren in so much suffering, was missing him, felt out of place and unwanted…. Six months later Warren was still talking about Christmas Eve with his therapist.
at 6:31 PM