Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Dark Mark

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the early days with my son. He was for all intents and purposes ripped away from me when he was only 2. His recent visit stirred a lot of memories and emotions that surrounded that parting. I was digging through my funny file for a new blog when I came across a letter I had sent (of all things) as a Christmas letter to my family and friends that year.

This was probably the worst day of my entire life.

Hi everybody, I wanted to tell everyone about what went on with taking Jimmy to California. I waited awhile to get some distance from it all. As Hamlet said, (paraphrasing) "Somewhere along the way here, I seem to have lost all my mirth." This has been a very difficult row to hoe, and the ground is a lot like that at Mom and Dads house... full of rocks.

I have found that when I am at work and just bury myself in it that my personality begins to surface again. When I am around family I kind of loosen up too. Overall though I find myself walking around with a scowl and pursed lips and clenched jaw most of the time. I was talking with one of the VPs at work the other day and he was asking me to do something and apologizing for bothering me with it. I told him that he apologizes too much. He replied that lately I have had "a lot of 'go away' written all over my face".

So anyway... here's the tale:

The week before I took Jimmy to California, I took the week off to spend with him. I let him decide what we would do, offering some suggestions of things I know he likes to do. We went to the mall a couple of times to have "rice and chicken". He loves to eat at the food court at the mall, and he always wants rice and chicken. We had a "beeg samwich" one day though (Blimpies). He wanted to ride on my shoulders a lot. It was always interesting going through doors with him up there. He would bend over which made him lean way forward which made me do the same thing.

On Thursday his Grandma took him for half of the day at her request. When I went to get him he kept saying something like "peedo". I had no clue what he was saying... Grandma finally figured out that he was saying "Play Dough"... he had been playing with some when I showed up. We played games on the computer and watched shows and played football, basketball, volleyball, etc.

Friday evening was when we flew to California. I did my best to get him to be excited about the airplane ride. He loves to fly, so I didn't want this to be bad for him. I personally had absolutely NO desire to go to California. We left my car at Park-n-Jet and rode the shuttle over to the airport. I didn't check any bags, I only had a carry-on for each of us. While we were waiting in line and sitting waiting for the flight, Jimmy was running around playing imaginary basketball and entertaining everybody there. He even dribbles.

Mom let me borrow the Etch-a-Sketch she has in her toybox for Jimmy, I had that out on the plane for him to keep himself busy. He calls it his "draw-er". He was excited to be on the plane because he knew the flight attendant was going to bring "pretzos" (pretzels). He decided he had to go potty right in the middle of the drink service, so we couldn't get to the restroom because the cart was blocking the aisle. He managed to hold on.

Sandra (my ex) and Eric (her new husband and future ex) met us at the airport... Jimmy saw Sandra and started crying, Sandra told him that he didn't have to go with her now, that he got to stay with me still, and that calmed him down.

I went and rented a car, and Eric went to get their car and was supposed to meet us to give me the car seat for Jimmy. We went and got in my car and drove around to meet Eric, and saw him drive back around the other side. We hurried after him, but couldn't find him... We drove around several more times and waited for awhile and he never showed up. I had my cell phone so Sandra was calling his cell phone and pager trying to find him. He didn't respond. So we eventually just decided to go to their new house which I wanted to do just to see what Jimmy will be living in. On the way there Sandra called the home number and Eric was there. I had to drive for almost an hour with Jimmy not in a car seat... I was not very happy about that.

I decided to stay in a motel that night instead of going to Keith and Belindas (my brother and his wife), because that would be an additional hour or so drive. As it was, I got to the motel at about 11:00pm. The motel didn't have a phone, and didn't even supply shampoo. I had some of my own though. Jimmy wanted to play golf... we brought his set from his new house to the motel with us. I finally managed to get him to bed. We had a king sized bed, but I got to sleep on the space about the size of a quarter because Jimmy is a major wiggle worm when he sleeps. I kept pushing him back over to the other side but several times during the night I got smacked in the face by a leg or arm as he was rolling around.

We slept in and didn't leave the motel until about 10:00 and drove out to Azusa. We stopped in San Bernardino at McDonalds to eat. Jimmy was being a big t-rex and taking dinosaur bites out of his food, it was pretty funny. It took a couple hours to get to Keith and Belinda's because there was an accident on the freeway. Jimmy fell asleep on the way.

When I got there, neither Keith or Belinda were home, but the kids were. Keith and Belinda were at their church helping get ready for the Christmas party that night. Jimmy didn't take long to join in with the toys, he had them spread from here to there quite quickly. We stayed in the guest house out back, and Jimmy found those toys which got spread from here to there. We went over to the church and help a little with the party setup. I think I flipped a switch to turn on a light and helped move the ladder a couple times... oooooo ever so helpful.

The party was pretty interesting, the gym was transformed into Bethlehem by a guy in Keiths ward that works for Hollywood. It was pretty cool. Everybody had to dress up in clothes for the time (or some facsimile anyway). I went as the Greek who wore tennis shoes. Jimmy was excited to go to the party because he got to run around when we were helping... he thought he got to run around again. The plan was to keep him around me, but he was here, there, and everywhere in Bethlehem that night. Keith introduced me to a guy there that works for Disney and we talked for awhile about getting me into animation, etc. He is going to get me some stuff on drawing Winnie the Pooh correctly. I got the impression that he was going to bring it to church, but he didn't. (This was the Pooh movie with the Skull-a-saurus I think)

The next day was Sunday and since their church didn't start until 12:30, I played with Jimmy. Jimmy was pretty good for church, but we spent the last 15 minutes of Priesthood meeting in the hall. I didn't put him in the nursery, because I wanted to spend all the time I could with Him... he didn't want to go in there anyway.

I didn't have much time after church before leaving. When it came time to leave I started getting emotional. I held on pretty good while I had Jimmy saying goodbye to everybody. Keith walked me out to the car, and once I said bye and walked to the car, I sort of lost it. That is a really horrible feeling to put your child in a car and drive off knowing that you are going to leave him and go away.

Jimmy fell asleep again on the way back to the airport. So when I dropped off the car I had to wake him up. He wasn't very happy about that. I needed to get the car seat out of the car, so I sat him down on my bag. He wasn't quite awake yet so he toppled right over and smacked his head on the ground. As I was calming him down a girl that worked in the car rental place walked up, and I had her hold him while I collected all my stuff. I got the car all taken care of then headed over toward the terminal. I had two big gym bags, a car seat and Jimmy to lug around. Eric and Sandra were just outside the rental place though. They informed me that I had already missed my flight. It was a half hour earlier than I thought it was. So we figured out what to do and Eric ended up buying me a ticket on another airline to get me home.

While he was gone doing that I was holding Jimmy and he still wasn't very happy. Sandra kept doing a peek-a-boo kind of thing to him and he kept saying "NO" and turning away. Then she started in on me saying that I was making it hard on him too because I wouldn't let him see her. I had no idea what I had even done, and she was ragging on me. So she told me that I was turning him away so that he couldn't see her. Like I am going to force him to look at her when he doesn't want too. She was mad because she said that I was teaching him that its okay to do that, and that I was brain washing him. I said several times lets please not fight, but she kept it up. I finally just said, "I am losing my son tonight, can we please not fight"... and that finally shut her up.

Eric came back with the ticket and said that we could negotiate how I would pay them back. Sandra piped right in and said that we aren't negotiating anything, that I was going to pay them back rag rag rag. Jimmy had to go potty, so Sandra went away. Eric said again that we could negotiate... I told him that she was just being hateful. She didn't say much from then on...

We decided to say goodbye there on the curb, since I had an hour and a half wait for my flight. So I took Jimmy and walked away for awhile and had to compose myself to talk to him. I told him that I loved him no matter what even though I wouldn't be able to see him very often. I really think he understood what was happening, because when I said will you come see me at Christmas he replied with a sad little, "yeah". After about 5 minutes I went and handed him to Sandra and turned and walked away. That was a very difficult thing to do.

I had a whole lot of "go away" written on my face through the rest of the trip home. The flight didn't leave Ontario until 9:30, and I had a stopover in Las Vegas for another hour and a half. Mom lent me her gameboy so I was playing that in the airport with all of the slot machines and whatever clanging and bleeping all around me. I got to Salt Lake airport at 3 AM, and got home at almost 4:00. I called and left a message on my managers voicemail informing him that I would be late and went to bed.

The next day at work was not fun... I archived myself in my office and did my best to be left alone.

I am doing okay all things considered, but I think it is going to take me awhile to get back to where I am enjoying life again. I went bowling Friday and sent my average into the hoinker. I haven't bowled that bad in a long time.

I want to thank all of you for your support and well wishes through this, it is very much appreciated. Even though its hard to know what to do or say in a situation like this, just being there usually does the most good.

Keith and Belinda, thank you for letting me stay there with you. That meant a lot to have some moral support there during the hard part.

Have a Merry Christmas everybody... I'll talk to you later.

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At January 13, 2006 2:43 PM, Blogger Jillian said...

I'm in tears, David....


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