It's been a year since I left.
I thought that I'd be living in one of those condo's that are over by the golf course, and that maybe my ex would be living there too in another unit, maybe on a different floor. I thought that the kids would be moving back and forth between us, at will but with some standard of boundary or structure. I thought that my ex and I might not be necessarily friendly, but that we'd be polite and able to communicate. I thought I'd be still tucking my daughter into bed most nights, and sighing over my son's report card, and heaving my tired self off the couch to drive someone to some practice or rehearsal or friends house or sometimes saying, "dad said he'd pick you up and you can stay the night at his place tonight" interspersed with "you are with dad mostly this week so don't forget your backpack and your key ok?"
I never imagined, a year ago, that I'd be seeing my kids an average of 72 hours a MONTH... that is, 3 days a month.
It never once occurred to me, a mostly stay at home mom for 14 years, that I would go an entire year without tucking my daughter in to bed, without making a school lunch complete with silly note scribbled on a napkin, without being there when my son was hurt or sick. I would have laughed if you'd suggested it.
But it all happened.
Even 6 months ago I still thought it was all a mistake, a momentary "thing" and that it would sort itself all out and that by now, July, I'd be spending days and weeks at a time juggling the kids and their bickering and the laundry and veto-ing potato chips while giving 'the look' over a serving of broccoli.
It's been a year of being surprised, shocked, bewildered, broken. A year of loss, day by day and breath by breath. A year of days that wouldn't end, for God's sake they just wouldn't end, and nightmares that happen in broad daylight every day over and over again. And now, the realization, finally, that this year wasn't just a momentary "thing" but has become a precedent for the years that are to come.
What I've lost this year, what has been stolen from my children, is only the beginning of what is going to be more loss. And at the end of each day I remind myself that I Am Still The Mom.
This blog is for me, for my children, and it's for you and your children. It's for every parent who finds themselves empty but it's also for those parents who find themselves bitterly and angrily witholding, denying, and controlling. It's time to let go.