When my first husband walked out on us, my oldest took it the hardest. Days and weeks passed and he adapted. On the way home from school on day, he told me that if I didn't cheer up he was going to drop me off at a bar and leave me there till I found someone and cheered up. Over a few months, my boys and I grew very close.
I should have realized that when I started dating the man who finally became his stepfather, my son would refuse to accept him or even be nice to him. The arguments and defiance escalated when my "boyfriend" moved in. Within a year and a half, my son began telling me that he was going to move in with his father and stepmother. Then, he began packing his stuff into boxes. As I look back, I realize that he got the rise and attention from me that he wanted.
His father had told me that they didn't have time or space for our oldest to move in with him. But, when the defiance and arguments and fight became unbearable and my son retorted that if he moved in with his father and stepmother, his father wouldn't have to pay any more of the damn child support. At that point, I demanded he get in the car. I'm not sure what I had planned: drive around or take him to his father. We found ourselves in his father's driveway. After a three hour argument and discussion that included more of my ex's lies, it was agreed that our oldest would move in, even though the child now said that he could and would behave.
My oldest claimed for a long time, and at school, that I had just dumped him on his dad's doorstep. It wasn't long, however, before I got a phone call. No one had woken him for school, and no one was home to get him to school; could I please come get him. A few weeks later, he called again. He had a mandatory choir rehearsal, but his father and stepmother were in another city about 90 minutes away. Both times I came to his rescue; however, he was still angry and insisted that I had just dumped him on his dad's doorstep, and that we had bought a dog to replace him.
My son's senior year of school saw some changes in our relationship. I stood behind him on many issues: driver's license, parental taxi service, even calling him in the morning to make sure he was up and ready for the bus.
I think the turning point was my son's birthday. It fell on prom weekend; actually the Sunday after the Saturday dance. He went to prom with a group of people. His father drove him over to my house so I could take pictures and I made sure I knew what the "game plan" was for the weekend and who was responsible for picking up and driving. This way I knew that both his father and I actually heard the same story. I called my son, as usual, on his birthday and asked him to go to dinner. He said his father and stepmother were taking him out to dinner but that we could take him for dessert. When I called him later, I could hear the tears in his voice as he told me his dad and stepmother weren't home and had changed their plans about his birthday because they didn't know where he was. Mom came to his rescue.
Now, I talk to him regularly and see him regularly. His relationship with his father, however, is strained. I'll never regain those years that he lived with his father, but I relish in the thought that he now chooses me and his stepfather over his dad and stepmother.