I'd run off to Brazil, Paris, Timbucktoo.
There is very little I wouldn't do for my children. That's because they are mine. I live with them, I see them every day. My 13 year old daughter has several pictures of me up on her bedroom wall among the dozens. My boy dresses in matching clothes. My 11 year old daughter jumps into my arms every night. They obey me, they love me, they need me, they ask me questions, they critique my belly. We always hug, we like each other as people. They show me their homework, they tell me their jokes, we cook for each other (them more than me), we shop together. Right about now they are closer to me than ever.
If I didn't live with them, they would disappear.
The hardest thing about being a parent is your inability to treat children like adults. You need to tell them shit that they don't want to hear, that adults don't want to hear. The real deal. But you know they can't understand it. And so you repeat somewhat watered down platitudes until they can repeat it in their sleep. And they still don't get it. Kids are just accidents waiting to happen - innocents who can't do the math and have only a vague idea what danger is. So you shelter them and grow their virtue and give them every reason to believe that their virtues will be as respected in the real world as they are at home. And then you heal them when reality smashes their little virtuous worlds and show them that their tears are the pain of understanding when virtues get dissed. You need to be the grownup, the virtuous grownup when the shit goes down, and it tries your patience. But you do it so that in this dirty nasty world there can be at least these few you can trust with your life and you with theirs. My kids are the best people I know, that's because I raised them.
But if I didn't have that control? Phss. I wouldn't invest in that commodity.
I have no faith whatsoever in child support. There is nothing the state can do to come anywhere close to what I've been describing, and there is no way they can compel it. A man's relationship to his children is entirely his to decide. There is nothing anybody or anyone can do to change what that is. And if a man decides to write off his offspring, it's over. Done. Finito. Ask somebody with a distant father if child support made a difference. Oh I didn't have a father but at least I got the bastard's money. A fine substitute. I've never heard that.
When a man takes to a child, the greatest thing he gives him is his time and the benefit of his wisdom. A man allows a child to see how the man works, which is about the greatest privilege a man can give. He shares the secret recipe, he allows the child to see the man behind the curtain, all the while being a full man to the world. 'This is how I do it, and I know you can too' is the gift. 'This is what you've got, that I don't have'. That's the bonus. 'This is how you can do better than me', that's the whole enchilada. 'Here's some money, now leave me alone'. That's a bribe.
Anybody who pretends any different doesn't know jack.
I'm the primary custodial parent of Boy, and I don't get child support. I could demand it but I don't. I have been in all the chambers of child custody Hell except the lowest which is the one at which all hope is abandoned. But I know that's an exit to the other side at which all care is abandoned and a chunk of money is sent instead. I couldn't do it, and I know it's because I have it good, that I can say all this. I am in possession of my children and I am selfish and greedy about it. They belong to me, unquestionably. And so I belong to them equally so.
You can feel my passion in this, and I believe every man has it. And I believe that's why they say fuck the law when they do. Because when a man loses possession of a child, he asks why he even bothered to give life in the first place. I know the feeling of being a man when it seems that the only thing the world cares about your value is how much money you can send them - especially when you could be giving those great gifts. I feel for every man who has been there and must live with that, because I also know deeply that what every man wishes most to provide is security. That feeling when you wrap your arms around a woman or a child who places their head on your chest and thus are finally put at complete and total ease. The man who erases fear is the great man, and it's what we all wish to be. It's definitely a man thing.
You can't buy that.