Miami Heat star, Chris Bosh, and his daughter’s mother, Allison Matthis, recently had some court drama over whether Bosh could take their daughter to London to watch him compete in the Olympics this summer. According to The Miami Herald, Matthis’ reason for not wanting baby-girl to go is that “terrorism poses a real threat to their daughter’s safety.” To that, I must say, “W-T-F?”
As the father of four children, two with a woman to whom I am no longer married, this issue struck close to my heart. But surely I couldn’t be this dumbfounded over something that seemed to have merit in court. So, I asked a female friend what she thought.
My friend said she would not “let” her daughter go with her father to Europe either, that it’s too far for a child to travel without her mother. It’s worth noting that my friend doesn’t have any children, but she still had some strong feelings about it.
Then I asked, “Suppose he wanted to take her to Seattle (which is about five hours away) or Alaska (11 hours away). They’re both in the U.S. Would that be OK?” Nope, not according to my friend – not unless the father paid for her to go as well.
“So, what is an acceptable distance for him to take their daughter?” I asked. “One hundred miles from Mom? Two hundred? When is she simply with Dad? And what about the child having the opportunity to build relationships with her step-mother and her brother while Dad is working?”
My friend had no answer to that. Instead, she asked, “Are you saying I should not be concerned about where my child is?”
“No,” as involved parents, we are always going to be concerned about our children’s safety, even when they are at school. But it is not the concern that is the issue; it is what you do with the concern. Do you keep your children home from school to protect them? Do you act as though you need to be the sole decision-maker or the only person who wants to keep them safe? Or do you recognize and respect the fact that your children have another parent whose opinions on what is best may conflict with yours? Furthermore, would you like to be prevented from taking your child with you when you travel for a special occasion, or would you expect more leniency than you are willing to give?
She concluded the conversation with, “That is exactly why I am on the pill.”
And that is exactly why this is worth discussing. I am a huge proponent of staying in your lane as a co-parent. I hear so many stories of former partners attempting to control and/or interfere with their co-parents’ lives by controlling their children. But at some point, it becomes important to stay in your lane, because you want your co-parent to stay in his/hers. For example, if you demand, “I don’t want our children around your new boy or girlfriend,” your ex might have the same complaint when you meet someone special.
Hey, at some point, you thought enough of this person to do what it took to conceive a child. Have enough compassion for yourself, if no one else, to appreciate your decision-making then, and defer to it now. And have enough concern for your children to avoid interrupting their share of a relationship with their co-creator. Sure, there are exceptions (such as in cases of abuse, drug use or other dangerous behavior), but this is my foundation.
Finally, I must respond to the “terrorism” issue. None of the 9-11 flights were international, so clearly doo-doo can happen no matter where you’re traveling. Does Matthis fly with her child … even if it is strictly state-side? And if her concern is with security at the Olympics, it is worth noting that the last terrorist attack on the Olympics happened in 1996 … on U.S. soil, when American Eric Rudolph bombed Centennial Park in Atlanta. Would she be afraid to take her child to Georgia? Probably not.
I did not hear the final arguments in the case, and apparently she won. Bosh can’t take baby-girl to Europe. But when I look at the foundation of the argument against taking her, I am dumbfounded. Terrorism? Sheesh.
PS: To become a Frank Love sponsor you can make a one-time contribution or contribute monthly by clicking on the amount you’d like to donate each month: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $35, $50, $75, $100, $200 or $500.