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What I Need

When people find out I am getting divorced I get the normal sympathies. When they find out my boys are living with their dad, they often are overcome with shock and wonder. I get everything from ‘how did that happen’ which my brain translates into “what kind of mother looses her kids” to “OMG, how are you doing?”

I’m fine…I’m one of the lucky ones. Yes, I’m very lucky. I know my boys are only 20 miles away. I know my boys are healthy, I know my boys love their dad, I know that their dad loves them, I know that the boys and I love each other.

I spent enough time beating myself up when the judge granted him temporary custody in March. I don’t have a need to continue that. I don’t need to be depressed because my boys are at their other home.

In some ways…and I mean this as no offence to parents who have lost a child, I am only trying to put a face on it for others who may not understand. In some ways it is like the first time you laugh after the death of a loved one…you catch yourself, you beat yourself up. How dare you move on, how dare my body betray me by allowing me to feel joy and happiness. I am supposed to be drowning in depression. I did that. My first weeks without the boys were absolute hell. I missed them, my heart ached, my body screamed for them in my arms.

Then I took a breath. I knew that if I was going to be able to enjoy what limited time we do have together I was going to have to learn to enjoy life without them as well. When you live in misery, you cannot just turn it off at 6pm every other Friday…it follows you, it embraces you, it drowns you.

I couldn’t focus on the look on Bubba’s face when he realized I couldn’t tell him when I would see him again the day I moved out. I couldn’t focus on Bum calling me two days later telling me he wanted things “back in order.”

What I could focus on were the positive things. The fact that this is a huge learning experience for all of us. Bubba and Bum are great kids. They needed the mom who had been lost for a long time in a miserable marriage. They needed the awesome mom that Bug and my step kids experienced when they were younger. The fun mom, the playful mom, the mom who runs through the sprinkler with them, plays Frisbee, teaches them to cook, digs for worms, and plants flowers. The mom who isn’t afraid to shout, “WE DON’T SHOOT UNARMED PEOPLE IN OUR FAMILY” out the front door not caring what the neighbors think (a rule with water guns and Nerf guns…it’s only fair).

Over the last couple of months, I’ve found that mom. I wish we had a sprinkler at our apartment but we make due. We enjoy (almost) every minute we have together…c’mon, they are real live boys they still get in trouble some times.

There are still times when I am overcome with a loneliness I cannot explain, the physical ache of my empty arms…but for the most part I am okay.

What I don’t need is people trying to tell me ‘dirt’ on their father. I don’t need people to try and tell me how the kids act or look when they see them with their other parent. That is his time. I know we don’t always look like the Cleaver family either, nor would I want to.

I need people to understand that the boys’ father’s personal life is just that…HIS personal life. It is no longer mine. Just as I don’t wish for people to ‘report to him’ on my comings and goings, I really have no desire to hear about his.

Yes we are still in the middle of an extremely nasty, dirty, mean divorce…why try to add fuel to the fire. It is the hands of the courts at this time. If you want to help, pray for the judge who is charged with determining the lives of two very unique children he has never met.

If you see my kids and they are with their other parent, please PLEASE treat them the same as you would if they were with me. Acknowledge them, hug them, talk to them…if you joke around with them when they are with me, continue that. You don’t have to like their father to love my kids, you don’t even have to like me. Nothing hurts more than your child wondering why they are invisible all of a sudden to certain people.

As the divorce is not yet final, we are still finding our new normal…we don’t even know what that might look like at this time. We are loving each other, we are loving other people, we are loving ourselves.

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4 thoughts on “What I Need

    • Thanks. If even ONE person is helped by showing my perspective, I have done more than I could ever imagine. My kids lives are at stake, their futures are being shaped as we speak, it is my choice to let them be little while helping them to learn and think for themselves.

  1. I was so happy to come across this blog. My children also live with their father. He didn’t work due to health reasons for a few years before our divorce, then he just realized he could play the system and live off of it. That was the main reason I decided to leave. But anyway, because he had not worked for years, I had to be the “breadwinner” and he was the “stay-at-home-dad”. So when I moved out, I left on my own. I wanted my kids to stay in their home, in their neighborhood, keep going to their school, and be with their dad like they always were. I felt the same way. They are his children too, and he loves them and takes good care of them. But I was made to feel like a horrible parent/woman/mother/person. Mostly from my own family. I was constantly hearing the words “how does a mother leave her children” and things like that. It killed me. It ripped out my heart and soul and the depression became so severe for me. I missed them always being with me, but I also had to work. Someone had to be responsible financially, and that’s what I tried to get my family to understand. The kids lived 10 mins away and I saw them whenever I wanted. In the past year, my ex-husband remarried and they now live an hour away and that is very hard on me. I cannot always be at every school function etc., even though I try like hell. I finally went to counseling and was put on some antidepressant, and as I got my own life together and settled down, I became a stronger woman. I told my family that it is not a subject that is up for discussion. That I made the decisions I made in the best interest of my children and I will not apologize for it. No one has walked in my shoes. My mother divorced my real father and she always reminds me that she made sure her children stayed with her. And I remind her that my real father was a drunk that beat her and my brother, and that I would hope she would not leave us there. But my kids father is not an abusive drunk. Every persons circumstances are different.
    I do still have those pangs of guilt and wonder what people think when I say my kids live in another state, or they live an hour away, or live with their dad, or that I pay child support. I’m sure there will always be some part of me that feels like society will form their own opinion and wonder what kind of bad person I am, but I’m not. I’m just a woman and mom that is trying to do the best for my kids. We value the time we have together and are closer now.
    Anyway, sorry for rambling my whole story but this is something I’ve had a hard time dealing with for the last 3 years or so and has taken me a long time to get over the hurtful things people say and the feelings I had. You are not alone.
    Thank you,
    Tawnya

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