Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Second Chances

Things change. And people do. And I believe in second chances.

My son’s Grandmother (his biological Mother’s Mother) is Russian and lives in Russia. After his Mother died, we tried our hardest to make it work so that she could see him and he could see her. That was, of course, until she threatened to take me to court for full custody. She was advised by her own legal team her chances would be limited, given the fact he had lived with me full time before his Mother’s death, was in  happy, loving and secure home environment and has expressed his wish to remain in it. So, instead she embarked upon a plan to effectively kidnap him.

Since this plan was discovered, my son has not seen his Grandmother.

Last week, we received a letter from his Babushka. It was full of apologies. She misses her Grandson and she needs him back in her life. “Please call me,” she asked at the end and included new contact details.

I agonised over it for a day or two, spoke to my wife and agonised some more. But I realised that I forgive her. She tried to take the most precious thing in my life from me, but I hold no further grudges. It all worked out well – he is here with me and he is happy.

She wrote in her letter about her behaviour being the result of losing her daughter. She told me it was an irrational reaction to a painful situation she never believes any parent should face.

I believed her letter. It has an air of the genuine about it. I don’t think she’s up to anything unsavoury.

But it wasn’t just my forgiveness she needed. For a young boy, my son is mighty in tune with what’s going on. He knows why he doesn’t see Babushka anymore. He accepts it. So I showed him the letter.

“What do you think, kiddo?” I asked him

“What do you think, Dad?” he replied.

“I think that we have two choices. We either believe her or we don’t. If we believe her, we call her. And if we don’t believe her, then we don’t call her. We forget all about it.”

I didn’t want to share with him my opinion. I wanted him to decide free of any influence.

“Let me think about it,” he said and he took the letter from my hands and went off to his room.

He emerged an hour or so later.

“I believe her, Dad,” he told me. “But we both need to believe her don’t we? Do you believe her?”


So we called her. I spoke to her first and as soon as I said, “It’s Adam,” she burst into tears.

“I’m so relieved to hear from you.”

Her English is improved from the last time we met. She tells me she’s been to classes in the hope she will see her Grandson again one day and just in case his Russian is rusty after so long in the UK without any native Russian speakers in his life.

I heard genuine relief, I heard an overwhelming sense of apology and self-accountability for what happened. And that was enough for me.

“Would you like to speak to him?”

It didn’t need an answer. They spoke for 10 or 15 minutes. We agreed we would call her back again this week and we said we would talk about her coming here to see him.

I don’t trust her enough yet not to be with them when these meetings happen. Forgiveness? Yes. But trust is hard won. And that will take more time. But my son is willing to give it a try and I owe it to the memory of his beautiful hearted Mother to do my best to make it work.

So we’ll arrange a visit. After all, this broken hearted ageing lady has already lost a daughter. She shouldn’t lose a Grandson as well.