Dec. 13, 2011
I am writing to you in relation to the arrangements for my access to Alicia. I would, in fact, appreciate if we could agree to disagree on several issues associated with access and guardianship to our daughter.
First of all I want to express my appreciation and thankfulness to you for giving me the opportunity to use your house to see Alicia all those years; I want you to know that I did and still do consider the possibility I have had to play with Alicia in her own room, a privilege; at the same time I do also appreciate the chance I have had to have lunches and dinners with her, a most precious one, which definitely contributed in a positive way to the good relationship I have with her. I also think that Alicia is happy when she can dine with me and you at the same table; it sort of gives her the idea of family. Or at least that is what I like to imagine. From the point of view of one who has no memory of his parents being able to have had a normal, peaceful, non-aggressive behaviour toward each other, both at table and elsewhere, I do consider the opportunities we have had to be together with her without arguing or having rows a success, given the circumstances. I know we haven’t always, but nobody’s perfect or is it?
I do realise how in the last couple of years you’ve been unwilling to talk to me and, although I don’t quite understand the reasons for it, I do respect that. I am also aware that we don’t necessarily have to be friends, but I still think that communication between two parents is necessary for the child’s welfare. I have barely received few information in the last two years about my daughter’s health or education, and all I know I know it from Alicia or out of guessing on signs or on other people’s discourses. I do feel uncomfortable about this. As I have told you – and showed through fact over the years – I am willing to take my responsibilities towards Alicia and those responsibilities include financial contribution (which I already give in relation to my financial abilities), and the possibility of decision taking on crucial issues. Health and education are, in my own view, crucial issues in which I am willing to partake, also in order not to leave on your shoulders only the burden of such responsibility.
In the six years of Alicia’s life I have been visiting her regularly since she was 7 weeks old (I know I was not there on her birth and this is a regret that’s going to stay with me all my life); since the moment we could agree on it I have been contributing to expenses, compatibly with my own financial possibilities and considering I am visiting her every two or three months. All I’m trying to do is keeping my relationship with Alicia alive and well, and I must say I’m quite happy with what me and her were able to build up, despite all the difficulties distance brings about.
In the last two visits, I have had very little time to spend with Alicia, due to her tight agenda made of mainly Irish dancing rehearsals, classes, and competitions. I am glad she is positively engaging such a healthy and energetic activity, but I want to underline how, in my opinion, my role and my presence are undermined too much: spending time with her father seems to be the last thing, to be done after every other, and this is not a correct message you’re sending her. At the same time I am presently feeling the need to develop my relationship with Alicia according to the developments her age demands and I know this is a desire felt by Alicia too. She is growing up and demands different things and times than what it used to be,
The first of the issues I would like to address here concerns the possibility of using Skype video calls to communicate with her when I am in Italy, in addition to telephone as it already happens now. She is familiar now with supervised use of computers and internet and I’m sure she will appreciate the opportunity of talking to her father while seeing him.
Another issue, as I already mentioned, concerns Alicia’s health and education. I would like to receive the necessary information about those subjects; it would suffice that you dropped a few lines by email, you don’t need to physically talk to me if you don’t want to.
I do not want to be only the kind of father who plays with his daughter, as taking responsibilities also means, to me, participating into the various steps of her education, talk to the teachers, correcting her spelling mistakes, spotting learning problems (as I told you last year I was diagnosed with a slight form of dyslexia and dysgraphia and those are male transmitted disorders, but I did not have any feedback about that either). Being the situation as it is now I am not even allowed to wait for her to come out of school, and also about this issue, I do not understand the reason.
Developing my relationship with Alicia also means to have the possibility to bring her out for a walk somewhere, to the park, to the cinema, and eventually for a short holiday. I do know she would like that too and it is part of her rights and mine too.
She has part of her family (my family) in Italy she’s never seen; part of her family is my father who will be 87 next March, and in precrious health cannot travel as he has done in the first four summers when he visited Alicia. Whatever moral opinion you or I can have on him, I think it would be fair that he could see her, and she him, at least once a year. She is grown and perfectly able to come to Italy for short vacations.
In this relation, I would appreciate if you gave me the opportunity to spend a few days holiday with Alicia (initially I was thinking to a nearby seaside place like Westport or the like of it, for three days) in order to get her used to spend time and travel with me alone.
Again I’m repeating to you my will of assuming full responsibilities about Alicia and in doing so I’m communicating you my intention of formally asking for guardianship. The reason I haven’t taken such a step before is I was afraid you would have taken it as an act of intrusion; moreover, in the past, we were able to talk and I was allowed to spend much more quality time than I can now, be present at hospital visits, and so on. This is not happening anymore now and I feel the need to be more present in Alicia’s life, compatibly with the amount of time I can spend in Ireland with her. Asking for guardianship is by no means an act of intrusion, please try to see that, it is on the contrary in my view an act of sharing responsibilities; I know I’m taking mine, I want to do it in front of the law too and be sure Alicia’s rights to enjoy the active presence of both parents be respected in full.
Please think carefully and sensibly over the issues I am addressing to you in this letter and write me back your opinions and issues.
On the other hand I do need to inform you that if you will not answer to this letter in a week’s time I will go ahead with the legal procedure and ask for the guardianship.
Dec. 18, 2011
i just re-read your email and it is obvious what this is all about. you are afraid that your father will disinherit you like he threatened to do if you don’t get alicia in italy. you want guardianship because you think you will be able to bring her there. it has nothing to do with being of benefit to Alicia, it is all about you being afraid of being cut out of his will like
you told me he would do because alicia wasn’t in italy.
Dec. 21, 2011
I am very saddened by the fact that you cannot see the interest of our daughter in my attempt to develop an independent and therefore more mature relationship with Alicia. It has become obvious in the last visits that I cannot do it without claiming my rights as a father. It is not correct to pass her the message that her father cannot decide anything about her, not even bringing her for a simple walk. It would give her the wrong idea of a relationship between people in general and men and women in particular. I do not want to be an absentee father, I never wanted to. But seeing her only a few minutes a day (me and her alone I mean) will not help to develop any relationship and it would make me an inconsistent father figure. I do not want that, I never did. I want to talk to my daughter using all the means a modern technology can give, I want to be able to collect her from school, bring her out to nice restaurants, bring her to the cinema, to the park, and yes eventually to meet and visit the Italian side of her family. This has very little to do with my father, who never ever declared the things you said concerning his will, and who has a right to see her and her to see him but has to do with normality. Non-married or separated fathers have their rights, in Ireland as well as elsewhere in Europe. And children of separated or unmarried fathers have their own right as well. You’d better think about it very carefully.
I would, therefore, appreciate if you communicated with me via email in the future, avoiding telephone calls such as last Friday night’s. I will continue to call Alicia on your mobile phone, as I have done in the past, because the line has better quality than (surprisingly) the landline. Please keep answering the phone passing directly Alicia to me as you have done in the past four years or so.