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My slice of life!
Monday I had a child support court date. Although this saga has been an ongoing one for almost 3 decades, fortunately, I haven't had to attend a court date in many, many years.  You see, when my children were young their father felt he had no financial or moral obligation to them after we got divorced.  Many times I tried to reason with him by telling him any unpaid child support wasn't a debt that simply vanished like the proverbial rabbit in the magician's hat and I also tried countless times to encourage him to have a relationship with his children. Both pleas fell on deaf ears!  Due solely to his bad choices he learned the hard way and now he pays back child support on a debt that was at one time over $70,000.  The current balance is just over $14,000, so I'm sure he finally sees the light of day, but the real damage he did goes far deeper than what can be seen in dollars and cents.  The real damage can be measured by his two sons (both in their 30's) who refer to him not as their father, but as "the sperm donor".  

This snippet wasn't intended to be about him or the debt he incurred during his deadbeat era, but rather about the large cesspool in which many divorced parents drown...the child support system.  I was truly amazed at how unprepared the hearing officer was regarding the information in each case presented.  The judge was clearly annoyed at her, but bureaucracy seems to always have so much red tape that prevents one hand from ever knowing what the other is doing. Nothing runs smoothly or quickly and it's the children who ultimately suffer!  

As I left the courtroom, I breathed a huge sigh of relief knowing that my days struggling to stay afloat in that system were all, but over.  My children are grown and no longer have to hear me tell them that delayed gratification builds character each time they had to wait to get something they wanted. I worked hard throughout their childhood and provided for all their needs.  It was their wants that sometimes suffered due to lack of funds, but I'm sure they're stronger, more understanding men for having gone through that.  

As I watched my ex walk across the parking lot I tried to remember why I ever loved him and what I ever saw in him. All I saw now as I took one last look at him was a cold, bitter middle-aged man and truthfully, what I saw didn't appeal to me on any level. As I sat there and reveled in my indifference, all of a sudden it made sense to me why it felt good to tell the judge I had no objection to him having his driver's license reinstated.  Harboring no ill will or resentment towards him gave me a sudden rush of good feelings, but not for him...they were for me. I was proud of myself for rising above and moving forward. It felt so liberating knowing I really was on the other side looking back and not the over way around.

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