In May, I spoke about my last trip to court with Timile’s parents and our custody/visitation hearing in Virginia. In the fourth paragraph, I mentioned that Cydney’s grandparents had dropped their filing for custody and there were negotiations that had to take place that I was not yet at liberty to talk about. Well, now I can.
Since there was no way constitutionally that Timile’s parents could gain legal custody of Cydney and they dropped that, Timile’s father, his lawyer, my lawyer, and I were negotiating visitation. Like many states, Virginia’s laws indicate that grandparents do not have rights. However, if a parent is deceased a judge will determine whether or not they will grant visitation rights to grandparents contingent on their relationship with the child. At the time, I was going for the gusto: NO visitation. It wasn’t that I was trying to keep Cydney away from them; I just wanted her grandparents to have to work with me to see her and not be able to get by under some legal technicality. To me, that’s bullshit. My lawyer explained to me that the judge is going to grant them visitation because Cydney lived with them for five months, they will also grant it because she needs to know her mother’s side of the family. My response to my lawyer was “I have a relationship with just about all of Timile’s family. Just not them.” He said “Look, you can either negotiate the terms or the judge will do it for you. Reluctantly, I said okay and began to negotiate.
The terms that were hammered out were that Cydney’s grandparents get visitation every other Thanksgiving, December 26th-January 5th until she is enrolled in school and needs to be back earlier, a week in the spring, and four weeks in the summer with the summer of 2012 being split into two-two week blocks. Timile’s father asked in front of the judge if they could have Cydney until after January 4th, since that is Timile’s birthday. I wanted her back January 2nd because a week is more than reasonable and they’re just grandparents. I thought that was the dumbest shit ever. Why on earth would they want to keep a child to celebrate their dead mother’s birthday who won’t be young enough to know what that day even means? Stupid.
I thought the whole thing was dumb. The fact that I am negotiating visitation with and for Timile’s grandparents in a court like I was married to, conceived Cydney, and divorcing them from a standpoint of logic makes no sense. It still doesn’t. Why? Because they’re grandparents. If it were my parents in court I’d feel the same way. There’s no emotional bias to this. It’s just as a parent and the only parent, I think that I should have all say so in who my child is with and around. I told my lawyer I think this is incredibly stupid. He told me this: “In my experience this goes one of two ways. Either one party may start trying to comply but eventually won’t do it anymore or both parties work it out and its no longer needed.” I gave him a look and said “I don’t know with these people.” He then whispered in my ear “If you don’t like the terms of this agreement, then get it amended in New York.”
Lightbulb! My lawyer planted the right seed in my head at the right time. That’s when I completely gave in and just gave them whatever day they wanted. I knew at one point or another, I was getting visitation amended in New York. Fuck Virginia and it’s silly commonwealth laws. I’m going to home where people don’t play these silly games.
Two days later, I received a phone call from someone in my phone named “Daddy” with a 757 area code attached to it. I was confused because I’m not in the business of calling anyone daddy unless they are a long-legged spider in which their legs still move when you peel them off. Realizing who was calling, I thought to myself “I thought no one knew how to contact me!” I laughed in my head and picked up the phone. Timile’s father was asking if they could take Cydney down with them for a family reunion in Atlanta at one point during the summer. He said I could come along as well if I would like to. He asked the right way and then said that he’d rather do this the cordial/non-legal way but if I wanted him to he could do it through the courts with paperwork. I told him I’d get back to him and let him know.
The truth is I forgot. Hell no I wasn’t going to no family reunion with them and I still was skeptical as all hell with the idea of Cydney’s grandparents going to Atlanta with her and who knows if they’ll return. It wasn’t paranoia. It was being a good parent.
He called me again on Christmas Day wishing Cydney a Merry Christmas, that they had gifts that they wanted to send or deliver in person and etc. I was fine with that. I said just let me know when is a good time. I sent them Cydney’s picture with Santa Claus so that they would have it before Christmas as well. In March, he called again and said that they had been going through some health related issues is why they haven’t visited yet but they still had stuff for Cydney. I even let him speak to Cydney on the phone. She didn’t know who she was talking to, but I still was being nice. That was the last I heard from him.
On August 10 this year, my phone vibrated with a text message. From the top of the screen I could what the text said and I saw something about Satan in it. I thought it was an inspirational text message saying something along the lines of “Don’t let Satan hold you back or something.” I looked at the text message and the text was from someone I had named Satan in my phone. I laughed out loud when I remembered that while living in Virginia I saved Timile’s mother’s phone number as Satan. Yeah that may be harsh; but that’s how I felt. I have no regrets about that and I still think it’s kinda funny. Anywho, she said that they loved and missed Cydney, they still had stuff for her they wanted to give her and that she would call me later to see about coming up to visit or Cydney coming down there. The first thought was “Yall can come here!” I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to do so hastily and was still holding onto my strategic ace in the hole of getting the visitation agreement amended in New York.
I waited until she would send another call or text saying when they would like to come up or schedule a visit. I didn’t take any action until she texted me again in September 19th saying that they are coming to get Cydney. Not asking-but coming. That didn’t sit well with me at all. Sh said they would the day after Christmas and that if I’m not going to be home please make sure someone is home. I really didn’t appreciate that. That’s not love, that’s treating Cydney like a package. Hell. No. It took everything in me to not respond saying “You must be smoking crack if you think I’m just letting my daughter leave with someone she doesn’t even know anymore.” That would be bad parenting.
It had been more than a year and a half, so no was a good time to file to amend this agreement. I knew I could really get my way now.
Yesterday we went to court. I will discuss that tomorrow.