It is my ex’s weekend to have our younger daughter. So far, he bailed on her Friday night and left her stranded at her dance studio. My older daughter told me he started drinking at the office before he went downtown for dinner (as is the Friday afternoon custom at their office) so he couldn’t have picked her up anyways.
On Saturday afternoon, my 2 daughters and my younger daughter’s friend and me drove up to Nanaimo. My younger daughter is in a dance festival competition. We have already drove up to Nanaimo twice this week for her performances. She didn’t place in her jazz solo but came in first in her musical theatre trio number. The festival is during the week so I am sure her dad would say he couldn’t be there because he had to work. Experience is that my ex can skip work for any reason he wants. He chooses what activities or situations he would like to use to not be available to work. This was not a worthy-in-his-eyes reason to not use work as an excuse to miss an important event for his daughter.
On Sunday she has to be there for 8:30 a.m. It is an hour and a half drive, rainy weather forecast, so we opt to get a hotel and go up the day before. We have a lot of fun. We stop and pick up treat-type food for the trip. The hotel has a pool so we swim, have dinner out, go bowling and go swimming again before bed.
My younger daughter tells me that her dad mentions that he wants to come up and see her and asks when she performs. She tells me she doesn’t want him there but she gave him all the information. I am not sure if it is because she thinks he’ll bring his girlfriend, the fact that he left her stranded on Friday or the fact that she doesn’t want to hope he’ll show up because he disappoints her time and time again.
He didn’t show up.
She placed 3rd out of 12 amazing tappers. I am so happy for her I cried. It was a very emotional experience for me. When we went shopping afterwards and for lunch, I would tell people who asked if she was part of the festival (hair and makeup gave it away) that they were talking to a 3rd place tapper.
She texted her dad to tell him the great news. I am sure he said lots of nice things to her but I can’t help but be so angry at him for not being there for his daughter to celebrate her success or to be there for encouragement if she didn’t place.
I know that I cannot control his actions. I can only control my response to his actions and this weekend was over-shadowed by my intense hatred for his behaviour. He is missing out on his kids’ life. I am the lucky one and the blessed one to be able to share in their experiences. This week was really a week of celebration and learning and growth for my younger daughter in performing and adjudication.
A theme of the adjudicator this week was this: It is only her opinion at this particular moment in time and it is so difficult to judge based on all the unique talent and routines that one is better than the other. However, it is a competition and she has to reward placements or not (some categories may have only received “participation” certificates if she didn’t award them a score deserving of any placement.) Authenticity is important. She does not like fake facial expressions and can see in the eyes if those expressions aren’t genuine. The piece of paper awarding you a placement is not the most important aspect of the experience. The adjudication sheet listing comments on how you can improve and the pointed out areas of strengths and weaknesses is the most important information to focus on.
My adjudication to my ex is similar. I have no dance experience or background. Yet, I was able to call the “first place” winner. Some things are just obvious. You, my ex, are a first place loser. Anyone who is aware of your priorities and lack of consciousness over your choices can call that one. You can say all the nice and supportive sounding things you want but authenticity is revealed by your actions. You don’t pay a dime towards her dance classes, her costumes, her festival fees, even though you signed a mediation agreement saying you would be paying for 50% of these fees until our house sells then it goes up to 70%; you don’t show up at her performances; you tell her she has to miss dance classes if it interferes with your schedule of hockey on days you are suppose to pick her up or drop her off and you don’t help with any fundraising or volunteering for her financial benefit. Just my opinion from my direct experience and witnessing over the past 2 1/2 years. But the most important opinion is that of your daughters.