My Wish: For My Son to Have a Baby Brother All His Own

My 24/7 morning sickness varies in intensity, but today it’s been rough.  I’ve literally spent the day in bed, playing Star Wars games directed by my 4-year-old son, who has a wild and wonderful imagination.  And, all day I told him that at 4 p.m., we would get to pick up his 13-year-old brother, for today is Monday, and, in addition to our every-other-weekend visitation, we have Monday-night overnights.  (His 15-year-old brother is away at school, so starting this Fall, we have Monday nights only with his 13-year-old brother.) 

I changed from my sweats into presentable clothes and left home at 3:40 p.m., with my vomit bag in hand, just in case.  My son and I arrived five minutes early, so we sat in the driveway, but I could sense right away that no one was home.  No activity was visible through the front picture window.  No car was in the driveway, but my husband’s ex-wife does sometimes park in her garage.

So, we waited.  At 4:05 p.m., I called my stepson’s cell phone, but the call went immediately into voicemail, which happens when the phone is turned off, or its battery is dead.   I left a message, saying I was waiting outside his mother’s house, I would wait a few more minutes, and that I guessed his mother could drop him off later.

I didn’t go up to ring the doorbell.  I’ve only gone up to the door once, four months ago, and I’ll just say that I will never go the door again.

So, I called my husband, told him there was no sign of life at the house, and I had waited 15 minutes.  He said he was sorry that this had happened again, and he told me to go home.

I’ve given up trying to consider what his ex-wife’s motivations might be, wondering why she couldn’t just send an e-mail or have my stepson call us to tell us of a change in plans.  I do know that notifying us would eliminate the inconvenience, the irritation, the last-minute loss tied to the anticipation of seeing him. 

Of course, it hurts my husband to miss out on time with his son.  Of course, it was inconvenient for me to drive over to her house, sick because of my pregnancy, to no avail. 

But, it hurts our children the most.  Her 13-year-old son, my stepson, has asked for years to spend more time with his father, has said, even in front of both of his parents, that he wants to live with us half-time.  And, our 4-year-old had been looking forward to seeing his brother all day and said, when we got home late this afternoon, “I’m so sad that I don’t get to see him today.”

We know that my husband’s ex doesn’t consider our 4-year-old to be her sons’ sibling.  My stepsons have told us that, because their brother was conceived by me via insemination with donor sperm, then adopted by my husband after our marriage, she tells them that he’s “not their family,” he’s “not their blood.”

But, my husband is family and blood, based on her definition.  He’s their biological father.   And, today’s and the other days’ visitation interference reduces the already limited time they have with their father, their family, their blood.

And, her rigid definition of family—that an adoptive brother isn’t family—only serves to hurt her sons, to make them feel conflicted about loving their younger brother, whom they’ve known since his birth.  Trying to reduce the number of people who are their family members isn’t in their best interest, and their best interest should be paramount. 

My husband just told me that he had left his ex a message, asking why our 13-year-old wasn’t there for the pick-up.  She left him a message back that it was because it is Yom Kippur. 

No, they’re not Jewish. 

And, yes, she had asked that, if they were out-of-town for a school-holiday weekend, my husband give up his Monday night.  But, they weren’t out-of-town, and, if she wanted to change the visitation schedule regardless, all she had to do was let us know. 

She had sent an e-mail this weekend about medical issues, and my husband had responded that he’d send some paperwork back with our son tomorrow morning.   In her weekend e-mail, she mentioned nothing about the Monday-night overnight, and she didn’t respond to my husband’s e-mail to say that our son wouldn’t be here tonight, so we couldn’t send him home with insurance paperwork. 

And, this hurts everyone but her, especially our collective children.

I told my son on our drive home, brotherless, “This is why I wanted to have another baby, so you could have a brother or sister who will never have to leave our house.”

And, God willing, in less than seven months, he will have a baby brother, a baby brother whose time with him will not be limited, a baby brother who can love him without repercussion, a baby brother who will never question whether he’s family.

A baby brother all his own…

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