This week has been a time of adjustment, of integrating the experience of having AJ’s dad here into my world view, re-structuring my assumptions, opening to more possibility and complexity.
And then it got real.
Friday morning, I opened my email box and saw a message from Adam. He is meant to be out on assignment for some weeks, so communication will happen when it can. I smiled, thinking he would have perhaps looked at the link to a video message from AJ that I had sent him the day before.
The message began.
I dont think you know who I am. My name is _________. Adam _____ is my fiancee and we live in ______ together in an apartment. Adam and I have been together for 12 years this March just gone. It is an incredible shock to hear that he has had a baby with you. I have only found out about this today, however can not speak to him about it as he is away with work. I checked his email when some strange transactions in Texas came up on our credit card. I do not know what your plans are, however we are still together at this time and he has not said a word to me yet. I am writing to you now because I want you to know the truth, in case he has been lying to you also. You have a beautiful boy and I am so sorry that this has happened. Adam is the love of my life. We have been together since I was 14 and he was 15. I am planning our wedding right now. I do not know what kind of relationship you have had with him. I imagine it was a something short on one of his trips overseas. I would like you to respond to this. My email is__________________
My heart sank. For her, for me, for AJ. This was the same ‘ex-fiancee’ who turned out not to be so much an “ex” back in 2007, a fact I discovered when I was already four months pregnant.
I can see him carrying on the lie with her. If he loves her and doesn’t want to lose her, he may not have been able to come clean about the adorable two-year-old clone in America that he was only now getting to know. Still, I just don’t understand his lying to me about this now. When he first contacted me to see what might be possible in terms of a relationship with Addison, I actually assumed that they were still together and commented as much. He said, no, that they had split up after things came out about our relationship in 2007. We have had a few conversations about this. We have had more conversations about my misgivings about him and his trustworthiness and the importance of having an honest and respectful relationship if I am going to facilitate his access to Addison. He seemed totally on board with that, open and honest, answering my questions with ease.
Theories abound as to his motivations, what is really going on with her, what I should do. As far as I am concerned, that all remains to be seen, or not, and will evolve with time and more information.
More potent for me is the challenge this brings to my practices around love, good intention, and faith in possibility. I have, for the past three years, acted in good faith (with sometimes protracted moments of existential tantruming mixed in for sure), been honest and forthright, and stood against the forces that would have had me act out of anger and fear to cut Adam off from AJ forever. I have prayed with my son every night since he was an infant for his father’s safety and happiness, honestly upheld his well-being in my heart with compassion and hope.
When he indicated he was ready, I opened my mind, our lives, to him. I gave him the opportunity to step up, to treat me with respect, to build a connection with Addison. It seemed like he was doing just that.
I was deceived. Again.
Over the past couple of days, I have gone through self-recrimination (I should have seen this coming, should have asked more questions, should have…), rationalization (maybe there is an explanation that will make this all make sense), anger, and sadness.
Past all that, though, I have found an emptiness, a lack of anything meaningful to make of it all. A loss of belief in and hope for decency and goodness.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there is decency and goodness aplenty in the world. Right now, though, my personal connection to these things seems pretty frail. I want to rage, to indict, to seek and find THE TRUTH so that it can be very, very clear how wrong he has been and how in the right I am.
So, I believe that the real test in this may be the degree to which I allow acts of betrayal and cynicism to draw me over to the dark side where I can hide my hurt and shame in self-righteous indignation and harsh judgment. Certainly he deserves it, doesn’t he?
He may. I have a posse of people to back me up in that, too. But, my friends, this is just not the kind of person I want to be. More importantly, it is not the example I want to be for AJ. I still want my son “to learn that, no matter what another person does, he can choose what he brings to the table. I want him to know in his bones that he can be mad at someone, and protect himself, and be strong, and still choose to act out of compassion.”
It’s just really hard to hold on to that right now.