• Michael Crossland

#ManMoments: How Do I Raise My Children From Prison?

The day my first child was born, I was in another state. The evening my second child was born, I was at the hospital, but I was in the other room eating some really tasty soup. The afternoon my third child was born, I was right there and the first one to hold him. I guess you could say that I got progressively better as time went on. That is what I see myself as, a father in progress.

I would have never thought being a father would be so difficult. I knew it would be hard at times, but it is hard all the time! I have made so many mistakes since becoming a father the first time almost 13 years ago. My daughter's mother used to call and yell at me and force me to spend time with my kid; now I have to call and beg just to talk to my kids. I have been in prison for five years now. When I left, I had 3 beautiful children who loved their father and believed him to be the greatest in the world.

Two years ago, on December 6th, 2016 around 6pm, my oldest child told me that her future stepfather was her daddy now. She told me that he had spent more time with her in that past year than I had in her whole life. 2 years before that, My son's mother told me that I had abandoned my son, and that I would not be allowed any contact with him ever again. Not just while I was in prison, but FOREVER! None of these things made any sense to me. I did what I thought was enough. From the time my kids could remember, I have been a father to them. I will admit I was a terrible father to start out. My oldest lived in another state so I saw her as much as I could. I wasn't ready for kids, I was still a kid myself. I played games and I was irresponsible. I was irresponsible with my own life so I knew I wouldn't be responsible in theirs. I didn't have any lessons on being a father. I refuse to blame my shortcomings on anyone else, but I didn't even meet my own father until I was 12, then shortly after that he was imprisoned until I was 17. I was raised by my grandmother, whose husband had cheated on her, and left her. In a strange twist of fate, he had a stroke and she ended up caring for him every single day until his death. Every one of my uncles have multiple children in multiple households, and all of my brothers, except for one, have multiple children in multiple households. I even have an aunt who is about 5 years younger than me because my grandfather still cheats on his wife.

I have 3 children. 2 girls, 12 & 10 and a younger son who will be 6 this month. They all have different mothers and my oldest lives about 5 states away from the other two. Although my second and third children live about 10 minutes from each other, they only see one another if they happen to be in the same grocery store. I hate that. I want my children to know each other and I want them to be able to build strong relationships. I just don't know how to handle the logistics. I don't know how to convince their mothers that it is important. It probably didn't help that I chose one over the other, and even chose one, while with the other, numerous times in the past. They have threatened each other, spit on each other and almost fought on a few occasions. But all of those disagreements happened many years ago. I hope I can find a way to bring my children together.

It would be a lie to tell you all that I began selling drugs to make my children's lives better. I began selling drugs so that I could create the appearance of a man who cared about his kids. When my girls were young a lot of the issues I had with their mothers were due to finances. They always seemed to need, and I never seemed to have. I was a sophomore in college when my first child was born and I was on a strict ramen noodle and dollar cheeseburger diet. I wanted to help and support my kid, but I didn't have a job and I wanted to finish school. I ended up leaving school to move back home and help. Her mother, who is older than I am, graduated college and walked the stage when our daughter was just a month old. Moving back home to help didn't quite work out. All I did was fight with her mother, cheat on her mother, and then fight with her mother about the cheating. It was unhealthy for everyone involved. My daughter's mother was able to recognize that and so she moved herself and my daughter to another state. One very, very far away. I was so upset. I was just getting used to my daughter and I felt like she was stealing her from me.

At this point, I just want to figure out how to merge into the lives of my children in a positive way and be there for them without the arguing and fighting. I am swallowing my pride and asking for help on how to do this. I want to be an active father and I want to have a healthy co -parenting relationship with their mothers. I am very open to positive feedback and I guess I'm open to a little criticism as well. I own my past mistakes and I will use them as fuel to push through the difficult times ahead. My ears are open.

*If you would like to write Michael, his info is below:

Michael Crossland 58687-060 P.O. BOX 800 Herlong, CA 96113

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