Jonathan Taylor age twenty-six an engineer and father of a sweet four year old girl by the name of Sarah. He loved to play one of his parents’ favorite Hall and Oats classics “Sarah Smiles” for his young daughter; then they would harmonize it together. Sarah’s mother Becky held and appetite for destruction; destruction of her mind, body, relationships and soul. Becky carried allot of baggage from being molested at a young age. She was big on self medicating with drugs and alcohol. “Bad boys” was another of Becky’s many vices and all of her vices were more important to her than her daughter. She loved Sarah but not as much as her self detrimental behavior. Becky’s latest boyfriend was an ex-convict, two time felon drug abuser and dealer by the name of Rick. Jonathan met Becky at a Fraternity party during his junior year in college, had unprotected sex one night and a daughter nine months later. There was never a serious relationship between him and Becky but coming from a respectable Christian family he whole heartedly took on the responsibility of being a new father and tried to present the mother of his child with everything she would need during her pregnancy. Jonathan was now married to a wonderful young lady, Cindy, who truly loved Sarah, his two ladies held a loving bond of their own. Inside Jonathan hurt at the thought of the environment his daughter was exposed to daily. He reasoned with Becky to please keep the negative influences and people out of Sarah’s life. He didn’t understand why she had to have felons living with her, his child support paid most of her bills and if she wanted to date he would gladly keep Sarah while she was out. Becky wouldn’t cooperate; she often told Jonathan that he was worried about the wrong thing. He didn’t need to be worried about her social life; it was none of his business. He replied that she was right except when it involved his child. She rebutted that Sarah was her child because she was the one who had to carry her for nine months, not him.
Jonathan worked as and engineer for an irrigation company that molded and sold sprinkler parts as well as all types of irrigation products and had recently bought a new truck so that he and his older brother Tom could start a landscaping business. The money from the business, Jonathan was saving up to afford the retainer for a lawyer so that he could get custody of his daughter. Jonathan worked hard on both jobs supported by his good woman; she understood his sacrifice and was sympathetic to his plight. Cindy encouraged her man to do the right thing and prayed on his situation daily. Unfortunately this time victory would not be had. The Lord had answered every other prayer but this one would not be granted. Jonathan lost in court because he couldn’t prove Becky to be extremely abusive or completely unable to care for the child. Just because she used drugs, was sometimes neglectful to her daughter, kept company with felons always, rarely worked, kept a filthy house, never helped her daughter with her homework, was emotionally detached from her daughter, sometimes abused her mentally, physically and emotionally and often fought and cursed in her presence, she was still the mother and the chosen parent. Instead of there being a hearing or judgment; when a child is born the mother is automatically elected the custodial parent.
Jonathan’s argument fell of deaf ears and the judge even went as far as to raise his child support because of his increased income. He was told that if he could afford his lawyer’s fees then he could afford the increase in child support. Jonathan tried to explain that he had a truck payment he needed to cover now in addition to his normal bills. The judge’s response was for him to sell his truck and pay the money to his new debt to the state. Jonathan responded that without his truck, he would lose his business and the judge answered… “If you lose your business then you can come back in here and petition the court for a reduction. Court is adjourned!” She slammed her gavel down and crushed poor Jonathan’s spirits. That night he shed tears in private and prayed to the Lord asking him why? Why did the devil have to win this time? Jonathan’s story is sad but true.
There are many Jonathan’s, good hardworking men trying to do the right thing but constantly beat down by the system. The system is in place because of men (like my father) neglecting their duties and responsibilities to their children for generations. But, unfortunately the pendulum has swung too far to the other side causing the system to become unfair, unjust and often harmful to the children. It is a woman’s right to choose to or not to have a child, right? No man can tell a woman what to do with her body, right? Well what right does a man have to that child? The right to be at the mother’s mercy and the right to pay. Example, a man is married for five years and has two children with his wife. She cheats on him with his best friend, divorces him, moves out of state and puts him on child support. What rights does he truly have? None! No matter how much he loves his wife or children. The mother’s decisions, right or wrong, is what stands. He’s now got the right to shut up and pay, and he better not piss her off or he might not see the kids at all. He can go to court or get a mediation hearing if he has the time or money to do so to try and get visitation rights. But let him miss a few of those child support payments and they’ll drag him into a hearing, provide her with an attorney (state prosecutor), turn him upside down and shake every penny out of his pockets or incarcerate him. I speak on this because I have experienced every bit of nastiness the system has to dish out and I still better keep my mouth shut or she will take away my daughters. I have been dragged into court on fake battery charges and made to attend hearings everyday for a week while she never showed once. Warrants were put out for my arrest twice that week because I was out in the hallway and didn’t hear my name called. I was thankful that the judge was gracious enough to dismiss the warrant both times after learning that I had been in the courthouse the whole time. After a week of her not showing, I was finally free to go back to work and on with my life. At my greatest height of serving the Lord, my community and my family she filed an injunction against me out of jealousy for our daughters’ love for me, claiming that I had kidnapped my kids, had my friends trying to kill her, threatened her life and was a drug abuser. After serving my duties as Vice President of the PTA of my children’s school, organizing a book drive, then reading my daughters bible stories before saying prayers with them and tucking them in, the police knocked at the door. They served me papers and then snatched my children in the middle of the night. I didn’t see them for six months.
My Christian behavior subsided as I fell back into the habits of this world in an attempt to ease my pain. Angry because I disagreed with her making the children miss school, practices and games because of her personal activities; she sent a certified letter to their private school that I paid for stating that no one in my family was to pick up the girls from school, not even my dear grandmother. A mediation hearing, four months and $2,000.00 in attorney’s fees later I was granted the right to have my children again, of course until the injunction fourteen months later. My children lived with me during a very difficult time for me. I was caring for my grandmother the last days of her life. Home health care aids, Nurses, case workers, vitas hospice, doctor appointments, bills, meals, cleaning, hair appointments, laundry, church, therapy and then eventually funeral arrangements were my life during the traumatic summer. I took care of the girls during a time of being a full time care giver and coordinator for my entire family to make it down south for my dear grandmother’s final arrangements. Afterwards I became employed and was summoned to the child support office. I got behind during my time caring for my loved one. I made an agreement to pay an additional two-hundred and fifty dollars a month for six months. They didn’t want to hear any excuses about my dying loved one. I kept the agreement and paid although it caused me great hardship. I was summoned into court two months later and chastised by the prosecutor and judge. I sat alone trying to explain that I made an agreement and had stuck to it. The judge whispered over to the prosecutor that it must have been one of those secret agreements to which I responded… “I received a letter in the mail to report to the child support office which I complied with, I made an agreement that I can barely afford, to keep them from suspending my driver’s license and I stuck to it. I don’t see what’s so secretive about that.” The judge slammed his gavel silencing me and amended the agreement to state that I would pay that amount until the all of the balance was paid off. I tried to explain my delinquency in payment and the mother of my children lied and said I didn’t care for the children or my deceased grandmother. Three months later I was pulled over coming home from work and had my car impounded. Apparently my license was still suspended. They took my tag and my driver’s license. Upon investigation I learned that my hunting license, fishing license, business license and driver’s license were all suspended. I didn’t have all of those licenses but if I did, I wouldn’t be able to use them without being incarcerated. Eventually I was arrested twice stemming from this incident. Once because in desperation to make it to work, I drove a friend’s car that was totally legal with no defects. I was still pulled over although I was driving the speed limit, had my seat belt on and obeyed all of the traffic laws, racial profiling. Apparently the officer couldn’t read the tag on the car from a hundred yards although the tag light worked fine. The next time I was incarcerated was after I had already been to court, paid hundreds of dollars in fines and fees pertaining to me getting back my tag and driver’s license. I held all of the proper information showing that I was completely legal but the officers stated that I missed a court date in between the nine that I attended so they locked me up. It may seem that I have been a tad bit long winded in expressing my own troubles within the system but unfortunately that’s not a third of what I’ve been through pertaining to my beautiful little girls.
They were conceived because it was God’s will and her right to choose. I accepted my responsibility and we agreed as a couple that we didn’t believe in abortion; if ever we were to become pregnant again we would have all of our children. Five months after the birth of our first daughter she had an abortion, without my knowledge, because she didn’t have a ring on her finger and she didn’t want to ruin her figure. I guess the birth of our first child was her will and not God’s, but to kill them is her right! Whatever fits her needs or wants. We only had our second daughter because she told me that she “needed space” and I gladly obliged. After my first heart attack, I allowed her back in my life because of my love for my daughter and an odd feeling of mortality in my young life. She only had our second daughter so that she could keep me, same as the first child. In all she had upwards of five abortions during our time together without my knowledge. I always wanted a son; I guess that it wasn’t my right to decide to have one or not.
Focus on your children men. I know sometimes it’s allot easier just to run but love those babies because no matter what they will always love you unconditionally. Hang in there, believe me I know it’s not easy and I’m not done yet. Just keep loving, pray, try to be non confrontational and don’t address her life or behavior. When she wants conflict turn from her and to your children. They’re what it’s all about; they’ll be grown one day and they will appreciate your struggle and persistence in trying to be a good father to them. Do right, make sure everything you’re doing, you’re doing for the right reasons. Save the slick comments because you will loose in any confrontation with her. The law is on her side, she can go into court and lie and it will throw your life into disarray. Appreciate her for what she does do right and only focus on those things that you can control or change for the better, try to be accepting of the things you can’t. Before you act or say, analyze. Why are you doing this? Why are you saying this? If it’s for good then move forward, if not, save it. Vent to your friends and family not to your kids; take the high road on that one. Children don’t want to hear people talking bad about their parents not even their parents. They don’t care who is right or wrong, they just want to love and be loved by their family. Push on Good Daddy and good luck; remember I’m right here in the struggle with you. I am writing a novel on the subject called
CONJURING COURAGE TO
CONVEY COMPATION FOR
Based on actual events
Maybe reading it will give you some comfort in your situation and efforts at being the Good Daddy, always… for the babies.