I walked into the courthouse and the security guard smiled, warmly, and said, "You're dressed for success!"
If only it were that easy.
Dad didn't show up to our visit on Friday. He didn't show up in court, today.
No one that I tell is surprised, but I'm shocked.
I think it's because I believe in him - or want to - yet, I was relieved.
This love is complicated. Very complicated.
Something turned in my heart on Friday, when he didn't show. I was angry. Angry that he gave up, didn't care, or simply forgot.
I was up, this morning, at five. I soaked in the tub and for the first time begged God to let me keep my daughter. I know she belongs to Him, but she feels like mine. And I don't want her to leave.
When dad didn't show up, today, I felt indifferent.
Not only wasn't he there, but I heard a whole slew of activity that was news to me. He missed a drug test in January, resetting his "clean" clock to 30ish days; he is, routinely, disengaged during visitation; and has had multiple counts of disciplinary action in his rehabilitation program.
His attorney had very little to add and, simply, threw her hands in the air and said she hadn't heard from her client since our last hearing, three months ago. Our attorneys (Missy's and the agency's) requested another hearing in ninety days and wanted it on record that they plan on requesting a goal change at that time (from reunification back to termination).
I walked out with the attorneys (Missy's, agency's, mom's, and dad's). They share a dysfunctional camaraderie that will never make me comfortable in their presence. Their fight can switch on and off in seconds, but outside the courtroom they tend to be on the same team - which makes me wonder why we're required to do this ridiculous dance.
As one attorney pushed the door open, I overheard, "Well, we should all be out of this mess, by this time next year."
I wanted to throw up. I know the "mess" they referred to is only a small part of their day every few months...but it's my life.
There are people and feelings (so many feelings) and deep family bonds balled up in it.
This is what our mess looked like, this morning, at wake-up time.
Of all the things I experienced, today, learning that dad was disengaged at visits was the hardest. I am writing this of my own accord, with no spiritual revelations - my prayers have turned selfish. I still want dad to win. I want him to win the battle he's, currently, losing against the enemy. I want him to be clean and healthy and sober. And I want him to have contact with his daughter - under our supervision.
I am praying that he will have a change of heart and end this madness by signing over his rights, voluntarily. Right or wrong, it's what I'm praying, today.
I just want this to be over.