I had to take “personal” days to get time off for my grandmother’s funeral/the family circus. It’s not a big deal; I had the time. But the guild contract says bereavement pay is only for immediate family members, and is three days.
My brother and I discussed that when Eric (our father) dies, we’re using those three days for a big celebration.
When I was in the fifth grade, my sister, Monica, and brother, Adam, and I went to visit my father and stepmother in Loveland, Colo. We were staying for a week, I think, and had to be back in time for the Missouri State Fair where Monica was competing in a piano contest. Eric took us to Colorado, picking us up from his mother’s house in Trenton, Mo. The visit was … OK. I remember watching shooting stars one night from the front yard; riding a bike around the subdivision, mostly out of boredom; playing Super Mario Bros. (which was fun — we didn’t have a TV or video games at home); a trip to meet my stepmother’s relatives; a trip to Pike’s Peak; a trip to an aquatic center; and getting in trouble for telling my stepbrother than Eric had been investigated by the FDIC, which was true.
After all of that fun and games, it was time to go home. But Eric wouldn’t take us home.
Now that would be called kidnapping — he was a noncustodial parent and was refusing to return us to our custodial parent, and we wanted to go home. For some reason, it wasn’t seen that way then. Eric wasn’t even willing to meet my mother somewhere half-way. My grandmother met my mother in our hometown of Marshall, Mo., and they drove to Colorado — more than 700 miles one-way. They drove overnight, nonstop, picked us up, and drove back home. I’m sure we stopped on the way home, but I don’t really remember.
That was the last time I really spent any time with my father. He came to visit when I started college in Maryville (by then he lived in Omaha, Neb., about 100 miles away). My stepmother sent cookies. I don’t think we spoke more than five words at my sister’s wedding in 2005 (she is closer to Eric than Adam or I am, but still not very close). I’d be disappointed if he knew what city I live in now.
I’ll keep you posted on those party plans.