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.

 

Stamina

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Some days I feel combative, ready to suit up, to go to battle for my husband and the kids. Bring it on! I want to see her crumble.

Other days, most days really, I just want to slip by unnoticed. I want to go about this (step)parenthood thing without confrontation, without trouble, without such a goddamn fight all of the time. I just want my husband to be able to send her a simple email without having to hold our collective breaths for the inevitable irate response.

I wish it were simpler. I wish it were quieter. I wish that it wouldn’t take an arbitrator to resolve nearly every freaking issue.

It’s easy to push all the blame on her. If only she’d be cooperative! And you know, for the most part, she is to blame. But we have a choice each time, to fight it, to get mad about it, or not. Obviously to choose not to fight means to give up in a lot of instances.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just stop fighting it.

I know they deserve every ounce of fight we have in us. I just wonder how much we have left.

 

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.

Using the internet to learn about my husband’s ex: Why I am not a stalker

October 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to have an actual open relationship with my husband’s ex. It’s not that I want to know everything that happens in her life, but I’d like to know her beyond the six times I’ve seen her in court. I’d like to have more conversations than the few times she’s tried to hold me over a barrel on the phone when she doesn’t like how things are going when the s-kids are with us. I’d like her to just see me as a human being, talk to me like a normal person. She doesn’t have to like me, but we have these kids in common…shouldn’t she at least try? And hell, even if it wasn’t me having the relationship, I’d just like to have some goddamn open communication between our two houses rather than this thick black curtain the moment we send them home. There is some comfort to be had in knowing what life is like for the s-kids when we send them home. Are they happy? What kind of games do they play? What kind of clothes do they wear? At the very least, I’d like to know if things are still as terrible as they were when my husband was a part of her household (I think as second wives we all secretly crave for validation of our husbands’ side of the story, right?)  Somehow, what happens is that living in the dark about the s-kids creates this almost insatiable desire to know just what kind of person this ex-wife is, anyways.

Enter social media and the age of the internet.

You can find out a lot about a person through the power of Google. Even if that person doesn’t have much of an online presence or really want to be found. And the more that the person tries to cover her tracks, the better you become at finding all the breadcrumbs she doesn’t realize she’s leaving all over the internet, and the more you, the searcher, start to feel like a bit of a stalker. It’s human instinct, right? Eve tasted the apple because God told her not to.

I live in constant fear that somehow I will be found out and that looking at public information on the internet to try and get to know and understand the mother of my stepchildren will end up portraying me as a dangerous, harassing criminal instead of a normal, inquisitive human being. I try to quit looking altogether, but then we don’t hear from the s-kids and curiosity gets the better of me and I find myself looking at her newest profile picture staring at all of her flaws and wondering if she hates herself when she looks in the mirror, if she’s as insecure as her actions portray, just who, exactly, in the hell she thinks she is. I don’t think I am stalker, not by any criminal definition, at any rate. I just want to know more. I crave it. I feel compelled to find out as much as I can because otherwise I know nothing and I’m left to make assumptions, and I can’t help but assume the worst.

But then, I know that I am guilty of creating the same enigma. Everything about my real life online presence is on strict privacy lockdown. I do a regular monthly Google search to go erase any crumbs I’ve inadvertently left behind, I have a decoy (searchable, public) Facebook profile to keep her from prying into my real one, everything I do in public is under one of several pseudonyms and if a site requires I use my real name and location, then I just don’t use that site. I don’t want her looking at me, making judgments about me or assumptions about how I run my household, I just plain don’t want her in my life. I don’t trust her to not be who I have known her to be and I don’t want to make my friends and family open game for her to harass and manipulate at will.

Any yet, there is still that fantasy. What if tomorrow I just changed my privacy settings to public? What if I changed my name on Twitter to my real name? What if I stopped living in fear…would she respond in kind? I always have to question just how much of this situation I am imagining, how much is real, and how much my own actions are contributing to it. I feel like we are locked in some sort of distrustful stalemate and I it is exhausting to be so guarded all the time.

I know that things will likely never change, or at least not in the immediate future. The boundaries we have created are a result of learning the hard way and I’m none to eager to open myself up to get burned anytime soon. I guess I can’t blame her for feeling the same protectedness over her life, even if I have never done anything to violate her trust except marry her ex-husband.

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