A friend texted to get contact information for another friend. Very surface interaction, but I adore this kick ass Mama! It is very easy to lose touch when you are in the middle of living. I wrote her to catch her up that my son has moved in with me full time as of Christmas. Just a simple catch up text session an then I wrote, "I don't think I have allowed myself to really feel how much I have missed my kids when they are gone."
Tears flowed for a good long time for me that night.
There hasn't been time for me to fall apart over the past 6 years and allow myself to feel the depth of sadness of missing half of my children's week. The missed chances for conversation and connection. The waiting until they were settled under my roof again to breathe.
This post is is not intended to belittle their Dad's importance or role in their lives, at all. I just need to honor that for 11 years they were my whole life. Every day, all day.
Then everything changed. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like had I packed them up and left for my sister's house in VA like the Judge approved. Other times I wonder what life would have been like had I stopped fighting up stream and just enrolled them in public school down here in the Springs.
Most nights I answer myself that I am where I am supposed to be. Exactly where I am supposed to be, as are my children.
I remember the drive down from Cripple Creek Courthouse with Theresa by my side. I was defeated. I was overwhelmed with grief. Once we arrived in town, I had to go pick up my son from Cub Scouts. My Co-leader had run the meeting without me as I feared I might be late.
I remember crying and picking up my son and heading back to Theresa's to tell my daughter. I had to tell my daughter who had slept next to me since she was born that I had lost at court and she would have to sleep without me.
To to be fair, and I don't have to be, my ex slept with her for a while, but in the end he deemed her too difficult to sleep with. Me, well I slept with her every night she would let me. I kept my boyfriend at arms length when he wanted to stay over, because that was her spot in my bed. There was never a question that I would sleep with her until she left for college, if that is what she wanted. That being said, I have always known it is my job to prepare them for life on their own. The day did finally come and it was a glorious and bittersweet. I missed hearing her sleep more than I imagined I would.
Back on that fateful court day, I hurt so deeply, but couldn't allow myself to be consumed by that pain. I had to quickly bury my pain, put on a brave face and make everything look and sound exciting for my children.
Six years later, and the pain is making itself known and refusing to be held in. Both of my kids are teenagers now. While I do not want to scare them or worry them, I don't have to hide how I feel anymore. I am choosing not to try and fix their relationship with their Dad. I am not going to spend one more moment trying to help them make sense of who their Dad is or why he is so angry. I have let them know I do not understand why he makes the choices he does.
I have spent the last year and a half forcing my son to stay on our 50/50 schedule with his dad. Forcing him to try to work on things with his dad. Then I woke up one night asking myself why? I know what living in the constant battle with his dad is like. The drills, the non stop questions to explain your self and the pain of knowing that he would never understand my thoughts, needs or who I am.
Every time my son would call, defeated, overwhelmed, and hurt I would relive my own pain of similar battles and I would want to run up and protect him and defend him. Then my own personal battle would begin. I regret that my choice to leave my marriage means I don't get to provide a buffer for my children. My freedom is at their expense. This ugly cycle would churn in my head and heart for days, until I would be faced with no other option than to drop down to my knees and surrender and pray.
I cannot change what I have done. I cannot change that I could not make their father happy. I cannot change that his heart was never mine. I cannot change that we could not find a middle ground.
As part of my brokeness, I still revisit what might have happened if I had stayed. I could have taken on and blocked some of the hurt for them. This is the spiral that plays in my head many nights.
Six years removed and I have not put down this pain.
This year my desire is to stay in this place of emotion. To quit running from it and pushing it down. I want to feel all of the regret and fear, and worry and anger and helplessness of having escaped my marriage, knowing I couldn't take them with me. I need to come to terms with I did what I felt was the best thing to save me. I had to save me.
This year I am watching my son figure out boundaries with people he loves. He has moved home with me full time, for now. I am trying to keep the channels open so he can go back and forth as he needs. I know it has to be his decision and that he may want to try to go back to his dad's to see if he can keep the boundaries in place.
I missed him so much every night I didn't get to tell him I loved him before bed.
I am so glad my son is home.