I decided to create this blog on Father’s Day 2017 as a gift to my daughters, Kaitlyn Ostien (at the time, age 12) and Skylar Ostien (at the time, age 10). As the title to this blog suggests, my daughters’ childhood with me and my fatherhood with them has been interrupted. The featured image (above) is the last picture of the three of us taken together in my Jeep on our way to Frankie’s Fun Park for a day of go-carting and other fun on July 1, 2016. July 1, 2016 will be the topic of a future post….
The purpose of this blog is to provide Kaitlyn and Skylar with memories of their childhood from my experience as their father, a role I cherish to this day, and, hopefully, an understanding of how much their father loves them as well as my perspective on what the three of us have endured…. should they one day stumble upon it or, even better, I have the opportunity to share it with them myself. Also, maybe this blog can provide comfort and assistance to other parents unfortunately experiencing custody problems and alienation from their children.
Life has its ups and downs. I have had my share of successes as well as some setbacks and a failure or two along the way. Leading up to Labor Day weekend 2013, during a 13-month separation and since the divorce was final in October 2014, the girls’ and my relationship had its share of good, bad and ugly experiences. The ugly has been two-fold. First, divorce is simply tough on everyone, the parents, the children, extended family, friends and others. Second, and even uglier than divorce itself, has been the continual and worsening alienating behavior by my girls’ mother, which is the topic of my first blog post and will be the topic at times of future posts. As for this second ugliness, if you were to ask my ex-wife, she would undoubtedly say that she has been supportive, claim she has done nothing wrong and counter with the claim that the deterioration (or outright destruction at this point) of my relationship with our children has been all my own doing.
(Full disclosure: As I have said, divorce is tough on everyone involved. Both husband and wife contribute to the breakdown of the marriage. As my mom always said, “It takes two to tango.” None of us is perfect. Marriage is not perfect. Families are not perfect. Life sometimes throws you a bone and other times a curveball. None of us bat 1.000 and get it right 100% of the time. This blog is not about the divorce, though, but about my children and me having our relationship sabotaged by others rather than by our own choosing.)
This blog is the opportunity for me to have a voice, to speak the truth, to relive fatherhood with all its blessings and to set forth the facts as objectively as I can so that one day my daughters have the opportunity to: read my posts; remember memories lost or partially forgotten; and, decide for themselves whether or not their father gave up on them and whether things told to them were the truth or not.
Kaitlyn and Skylar, if I had given up on you, abandoned you and did not love you, I would have moved on with my life by now without you. I did no such thing. Rather, I tried everything I could to be in your lives as best I could, stop the alienation and get our relationship back on track. However, I, alone, was not able to do so when other people in our lives had different plans for you and me….
….Kaitlyn and Skylar, none of this is your fault. You have done nothing wrong. After what I have been through, the pain I have endured and the realization of how much more difficult this ordeal has been for each of you, I want you both to know that you have always been and will always be “my shining stars, my shooting stars, my superstars, my amazing stars, my rock stars.” The two of you are my everything. I love you “to the end of the universe and back, and then some,” always.
For those of you that do not know me, you are probably wondering about my background. I have a BS in Mathematics and was a Distinguished Military Graduate (Army ROTC) in college. I also have a JD and an LLM in Taxation. My military career began as a US Army Officer (3 years) and then a US Army Reserve Officer (7 years). After I left active duty and graduated from law school, my legal career began with 7 years in private practice as a corporate and commercial lawyer and then 2+ years as a consultant & 7 years as in-house counsel.
I realize just how difficult parental alienation can be to combat let alone effectively address for alienated parents because even I could not prevent it from happening to me and my children or mitigate its effects.