Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I'm Dreading March 4

It's strange knowing the exact date that could mean a big moment in your life.

There are weddings, funerals, that first day at a new job and the births of children and grandchildren.

I knew when my son, Gabriel, would be born. He arrived via a C-section and his birth was like a routine doctor's appointment. No surprises. Just a blessing.

That was in 2001. Never would I have guessed a little more than 11 years later he would be growing up as my ex-wife raises him in Lidingo, Sweden. Nor would I have believed that in 2013 I would have to fight in a South Dakota courtroom to see him.

That's what will happen on March 4. I am pursuing regular visitation to see Gabriel, even though he lives 4,500 miles away.

Finances, schedules and work are obstacles. But, to me, they aren't obstacles that are insurmountable.

Neither are the irreconcilable differences that led to our divorce.

I am pursuing time with my son in the summer and during Christmas. It's time I deserve as his father.

I'm sure it will get ugly in court. I'll get slammed over my struggle with depression, my ability to handle my finances then and my lifelong struggle with diabetes. Reasons, I guess, that could be taken as ways to write a boy's father out of his life. And, to leave.

I'm not leaving. I've changed for the better. I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm not the man I was when Gabriel was a baby. I've changed for the better because I had to -- for him.

But a civil court in Sioux Falls will decide that on March 4. The worst that can happen is that things will continue as they are and have been, and that's not good. The best that can happen is that my ex-wife will be forced to work with me so that I can see our son.

It'll be a benchmark in my life. A ruling to say that more must be done on my ex-wife's part to see him. And I will be thankful and grateful for that ruling. Or, the court could disregard who I am and what I have done for myself and leave me out of the picture.

That's why I am dreading March 4. But what I would dread more is knowing I didn't do anything to make things better. Either way, I will walk out of court that day knowing I did try. It's a date that I will recount with my son when he's grown up and anticipating a big date in his life.