There is only one thing worse than seeing your little boy ill and watching him suffer; that is not being able to see him and be there for him at a time he needs you most.
Today, the father chose to inflict that agony.
The lady who supervises the handover texted me at 10.30, half an hour before my visit to say the father had messaged her last night to say Sammy was ill and ‘there is a chance only Benji will be able to come.’
Just 2 minutes later she sent another sms that Sammy had fever and would ‘unfortunately not be joining.’
I immediately called her and told her that I would take care of Sammy, he could stay in bed and we would stay at home all day, just let him be with his mummy when he’s poorly. Of course the answer she got back from the father was an adamant ‘no.’ I then asked if we could go together to pick Benji up from the apartment and be able to see Sammy at the same time, just for a few minutes to kiss him and see how he is. Again, I was denied.
The father brought Benji down to the supermarket where he decided the handovers must take place while one of the Filipinos stayed with Sammy. He dropped Benji off without a word and turned to walk away.
‘Michael, how is Sammy? What’s wrong with him? I asked. He heard the worry and anxiety in my voice but just walked away, without even saying goodbye to Benji.
I later sent him an email:
‘I would really like to know how Sammy is. Please could you email me your mobile number.
‘Er hat Fieber sonst geht’s ihm gut. aber wie es ihm wirklich geht werde ich dann sowieso im Internet lesen……
‘He has a temperature, otherwise he is well but if I really want to know how he is, I can read it on the internet….’
At 5pm I asked the handover lady if I could speak to Sammy on the phone – just to hear his voice and know how he is. I don’t have the father’s mobile number. She asked the father but said the answer she got was ‘a very firm NO’.
This was a man who was awarded custody on the basis of his ‘bindungstoleranz’ – his supposed willingness to cooperate with me, the mother. This word has been used perversely throughout the proceedings to ‘justify’ the flawed psychologist’s and judges’ decisions. After all, the father is quoted as saying just how ‘kind’ and cooperative he would be should he be awarded custody: