On how to miss your children.

May 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

I miss them.

Whenever I come to this empty white box to write, those are the words swirling around in my head.

Sometimes it is this straightforward, gut-wrenching, I miss their smiles and I cry if I think about it too long kind-of missing and other times it’s a quieter, ongoing longing, missing knowing how they’re doing and missing their sweet little voices. But I miss them all the same. It’s this pack I carry with me everywhere, the missing them.

We are exactly two years into this journey of long-distance parenting. I can’t even explain the pangs in my heart typing that out. Two years. There are so many things that I have missed in those two years.

It has got easier, I will admit. But it has taken work. AJ and I had to make a conscious effort to take things out of that Missing Them pack that had no business being there, to make it lighter, to make it through. Guilt [did we do enough? are we doing enough? will it BE enough?], regret [if only we had known, if only we had done more while we had the chance, if only…], anger [she manipulated the situation, she is manipulating the situation, she will continue to manipulate the situation]. But unpacking these things, the guilt, regret, anger, and so on, it makes room for other things. Things like hope, faith, preparation. Happiness even.

I feel like I have figured out the right way to miss them, finally. Looking at old pictures and smiling, telling stories with AJ and laughing, sometimes choosing to let the grief in and to feel the void. There is no right way to live across the country from your child, of course, but it’s that whole thing about letting something go so it can return to you. When I stopped focusing my grip so tightly onto what I had lost, something more precious, more beautiful has returned.

I don’t want to live my life in and around the spaces the kids leave behind, walking in sadness with the ghosts of their laughter. I want my life with AJ without the kids to be this incredible, abundant, breathakingly beautiful thing so that every time they walk back into our lives, we open our arms wide to welcome them back into the fold.

I was worried it was selfishness, letting go of my sadness. But it’s not. It’s just another way to love them with my whole heart.

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My hill

February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

I am so terrified of what comes next.

If you follow me on twitter, you know the last few weeks have been incredibly stressful and trying. There is some crazy ass shit going on with Andy and it is so much bigger than me.

I have been keeping this blind faith that the missing pieces will come together and we’ll have a clear path of how to proceed. But honestly? I have been waiting for something external of myself to force my hand. I didn’t realize how foolish that blind faith that everything would become clear was until tonight when I heard these Mumford & Son lyrics (“get over your hill & see what you find there”) and realized the thing obscuring my vision is myself.

No one is going to help us navigate this mess. No one is going to do it for us. We cannot allow ourselves to be victims of the circumstance, we have to champion our cause.

Every bone in my body is fighting me on this. I do not want to sink away every penny, I do not want to go back to writing document upon legal document only to realizing we’re combating lies and psychosis. I had made my peace with the hand we were dealt and have worked so hard to let go of all my expectations and just accept our life for what it is.

Do I want to open that door again? Risk everything? Change EVERYTHING?

Yes, of course I do.

It’s just a matter of how.

 

Thankful.

November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Two days ago marked five and half years since my first date with my husband. We have been on such an incredible, vexing, heartbreaking, life-changing journey in that short time.

I caught myself in a moment on Monday. Somehow, this is the first time in the span of that journey that I feel like we are on solid footing. Things with the kids are relatively stable, we live where we want to live, we are in a place where we can start to have real plans and real dreams and real goals.

The skids came out for Thanksgiving and I could weep with joy (and have, in fact) at the success of the visit. There was no testing of boundaries, no struggles with learning how to be in eachother’s space again, no “I’m missing out on Thanksgiving with my mom” tantrums, no pain. It was just this celebration of our love for one another and pure happiness at being together. I don’t know to what, precisely, I should attribute the change. Was it the kids responding to the visible changes in AJ’s & my emotional expression after months of therapy, was it that they are getting older and better able to cope with the transition, was it that they truly missed us?

I wish I could have done a Right Click–>Save As to so many moments over the span of the 5 days they were with us. Like the moment we picked them up at the airport and how we were able to watch them warm to our repeated hugs and smiles until they were hanging all over us and laughing. Or sitting on barstools having coffee (steamers) at the fancy cafe with Olivia and hearing her pour her little heart out to me. Or Andy putting his head on my shoulder, picking up my hand, lacing his fingers through mine, and telling me “I really DO love you.” My heart could not be more full and I’m worried it will spill over and I will forget some of the smaller moments and stop being as completely grateful as I am in this moment.

This may be fleeting. Everything could change tomorrow or next week or next month. But today, I am so thankful for my life.

holidays and long-distance parenting

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Halloween came and went with it’s usual muted pangs of detachment and exclusion.

It’s such a shit holiday. I’ve always hated it, long before any s-kids were in the picture. It’s only fun until you’re 10 years old, and from that point on it becomes this long string of slutty nurses and awkward home decor. There was this tiny bright moment before everything went to shit where we actually got to celebrate the holiday with the kids, complete with costumes, candy, standing in the cold, the whole nine. It was kind-of fantastic, actually, to see such joy on their faces and to be the home base they ran to after every door, eager to show each and every score. What’s not to like about that?

Part of me wishes we had never had that moment. Now that they’re gone, I know exactly what we’re missing. Exactly what we’ll never get to be a part of. Oh sure, we got to buy some pieces of each kid’s costume, but it was a press the Checkout button online kind of participation. Really, the only kind of participation their mom will allow us. But there is no return on the investment. No pictures of their faces, of how they looked in their costumes, no phone call after. I wonder if they missed us at all or if we’re such a small part of their lives anymore that they forget we’d like to have those moments with them.

And, oh, you’d like to think, you’ll get yours, don’t worry. They’re coming for Thanksgiving. But do you know what the shitty part of it is? We’ll be so glad to see them, but they will spend the entire time feeling like they are missing out on their “real” family and on all the traditions she’s built with them. I don’t fault them for that; of course the house you live in 80% of the year feels like their “real” home.

Who is winning at what here, exactly?

I will try my damndest to make it special and happy for them, but I know they will feel those pangs of regret. I just can’t help but wonder if she doesn’t help those pangs along, feeding them little poisonous lines that sow discontent in their minds. It’s not enough to have them all of the time, she has to make sure that she knows when they’re not with her, they’re miserable.

Holidays are so hard. Nothing ever feels like enough because of the simple fact that we aren’t there all of the time. We live across the country. She got what she wanted. Now no one is happy.

Venting: An imaginary letter to his ex-wife

October 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

So, please. Explain it to me.

You did everything you could to take those kids away from him. Worked as hard as you could to drive a wedge in between him and them, poisoning their thoughts, exploiting the law and his financial limits, completely breaking his spirit, outright lying and saying things just because you could, and yet you still think you have the right in any of this to play the victim or act like you deserve the upper hand.

Explain to me how a wife decides that being married is optional and only something to put yourself into if you don’t have a boyfriend or a means to pay for your fake tan. Explain to me how a wife can be the victim in a situation when she is actively fucking men in bars, brings a threesome to her marital bed, hides STDs from her husband, claims “rape” when she feels bad about cheating on her husband, and so many other sins it makes me sick. Explain to me how you could turn that into something HE had to apologize to YOU for. How are you the one that was treated wrong in any of this? What makes it right for you to act like he owes you a SINGLE THING? How did those actions add up to “he’s a bad father” or “he mistreated me” for you? How did you equate that in your brain into trying to destroy him so that you could feel better about the fairy tale life you were deluding yourself to believe you had found? All it sounds like to me is that you have been a manipulative, emotionally abusive waste of a human being.

Tell me how you figure in your tiny, warped brain that you running across the country to avoid all of this coming back full-circle on you means that you are justified in forcing him to pay hundreds of extra dollars every time you’ll even deign to allow him to see his kids? How that makes it right in your mind that you can cut him off from talking to them, seeing their faces online, having any sort of connection at all? How do you still think you have anything to be mad about, or to be victimized over, or to be pious about? You fucking got your way, you stupid bitch. Why can’t you just leave it at that and move on?

I don’t know if I would ever like you as a person in real life. But I do know that I can never excuse the way that you treat him and everyone else around you. Someday you will feel loss and you will know what it feels like to be used.

And I hope it crushes you.

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