This was the letter that I wrote to Andrew at 4 am the morning after the Great Chucky Cheese Disaster.
This cannot continue.
Why in the world your mother, or anyone really, expect a five year old to value familial relationships above shiny new possessions is above my knowledge. The ability to appreciate family comes with TIME and AGE, no one is born with it.
Your mother thinks we have turned Kale against her. It's sooooooo not true. I completely understand, and don't really care, that you will never believe me about that. But still, it's not true.
The fact that you blame Dakota for poisoning Kale and making him afraid of your side of the family is laughable to the point of hysteria.
Sure, I believe Kale told you it was so. But he also told us, and the social worker at his school, that you beat him with a belt.
Could it be true? Maybe. But I'm not prepared to take a five year old's word for it. He also thinks Ghost Rider is his best friend and lives under his bed. Kale has a big imagination and he uses it constantly.
It's called childhood!
When I was a child I hated going to my father's house because while I was there he would tell me how my behavior was wrong and what a worthless piece of shit my mother was. And yet he never caught on that, as a child, I didn't enjoy that kind of treatment.
Telling a kid that the way they think and feel is wrong isn't going to sway them to your way of thinking. All it does is create an uncomfortable environment for them and at such a young age all they know is it's not fun, so they don't like it.
I still, to this day, refuse to speak to my father. Is that what you and your mother want? Do you really think telling Kale he's wrong and bad is the way to get him to want to spend more time with you? Because I have over twenty years of experience being the child between two parents that live in different families and I know what will work. What you guys are doing will only make it worse.
Sparky... All she had to do was get through one family gathering without slinging insults at anyone, and she couldn't even do it for his birthday.
Do you know what the definition of insanity is?
Literally it is repeating the same behavior over and over, yet expecting different results every time. Your mother thinks that she is always right, that what comes out of her mouth is law. Then when Kale doesn't respond positively to what she's saying she labels him as wrong and bad. And yet she cannot fathom why he doesn't want to be near her. If I acted that way toward Addie what would you do? No one other than you and your wife has the right to reprimand your daughter, because you understand her behavior better than anyone.
If Addie got a bunch of presents and was at Chucky Cheese would you expect her to want to stay at the boring table to socialize with people she barely knows anymore? Of course she would want to play with her toys and all the games. She's a child and to expect more of her is unfair and insanely unrealistic.
Does your mother really think arguing with Kale, pointing out his character flaws, is the way to his heart? If she wanted to be around him so much she should have kept it light and fun for him. Now the only thing he's going to remember is his grandma yelling at him and Mommy and Daddy arguing.
Kids don't like uncomfortable situations. I would think, after raising as many children as Sparky has, she would have known that.
And I would never try turning Kale against any of you.
Do you know why?
Because it only drives the child toward whatever you're trying to warn them away from.
It's basic human behavior: Tell a kid not to touch the fire and they will stick their hand in it. You warned them but they went for it anyway. The thing is, they wouldn't have even thought of touching the fire if you hadn't mentioned it.
If you want to spend time with Kale all you have to do is call me. If he's not in school and we don't have anything planned you may come over to play with him. Hell, I'll even meet you somewhere if you don't want to be at my house.
But I'm warning you, if you bring Sparky I will leave with Kale, or ask you to leave if we are at my house.
All she does is make Kale feel like shit for being himself and I will no longer tolerate that poisonous behavior near my son. It's not good for him and personally, I'm sick to death of it. I simply will not stand for it anymore.
And I will also not tolerate anymore badmouthing of Dakota. He never did anything to you, or Kale, and placing the blame on him is just a way for Sparky to feel like she did nothing wrong when, in fact, she did. And she knows it.
I would love for Kale to have a relationship with you and his siblings, I think it would be good for him. But Sparky is out. She is not good for him and I'm sick of allowing her bullshit near my son just because she's his family.
Being a parent will teach you some very hard lessons and one of the most important ones is this: Your children are more important than what anyone else wants.
What Sparky wants is not worth the emotional damage Kale sustains every time he's around her. So I'm sorry, I truly am, but she is no longer welcome around my family.
If she ever wants to see Kale again she needs to take a look at herself and realize that yes, she did do something wrong with him and perhaps try behaving a little better toward her only grandson.
He's growing up so fast and she's going to miss even more of it because she couldn't keep her hateful comments to herself.
It's sad really.
So, if you want a relationship with Kale then step up. The only person stopping you is yourself.
Oh, and could you tell Sparky not to send him Popcorn Factory stuff anymore? He doesn't like it very much and it's not going to buy his affection.
I won't send this letter to him but it felt good to get it out.