First of all, Happy Birthday to my momma.
Everyone has the “perfect” mom…. And I’m here to say, I have the “perfect” mom. I mean, we get in our fair share of arguments but I wouldn’t trade her in. My mom was once a young mom with three children who too most likely felt like a huge failure.
Why, why do we [women] find fault in like everything? Now, let’s backpedal a bit and bring you to my mom at 24 years of age. Marriage falling apart, 4 year old boy, 3 year old girl and infant baby boy. 24, people.
Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you’re there now. I’m here to say, I admire you. You feel like a failure and like you’re never going to muddle out of the mounds of debt and depression and these children need you… And you need a partner; however, s/he is gone. I think my mom would tell you: this sh!t is hard and it’s not going to get easier. She would tell you the pain is heavy and the stress is intense. She would also say the most painful part is losing your children. She would say the courts f’d up and gave her children to the wrong parent. She would tell you her children suffered tremendously because of her.
She blames herself. Everyday she tries to make up for stolen time… She can’t. It’s gone.
For so many years I cried for my mom. I wanted her in my life, daily. I knew what I was missing out on; but, more importantly, I knew what my siblings needed- their mom. I, at the age of 6, was certainly no replacement for a mother. I tried.
A moment of clarity came over me as I sit in tears on my therapist’s couch. WHY AM I STRUGGLING IN MY MARRIAGE AND PARENTING? I knew some of our marriage issues were unearthing through my rotten childhood. My husband has a lovely family, solid foundation. I, very very cracked. I told her of a story (unrelated to myself) about a 2 year old boy being forgot in the car in the middle of Arizona summer and he died. I literally cried all night for him. Young, forgotten child in the car. How horrifying. How lonely. How sad. My therapist said, “Amber, do you know why you can’t shake that”? I stared, confused. “You’re the baby stuck in the car, you’re waiting for your parents to save you, comfort you, protect you. They didn’t.”
Maybe, they just couldn’t. Two people interested in the same thing: 3 children and ripping apart the other person. Divorce. Hatred. Dirty laundry. Attorneys. Judgements. Weekend visitation. It’s all just f’d up.
I knew my parents would never work it out. I knew they would never be amicable. I never even wishes or prayed for it. I only prayed my life would not reflect theirs. I didn’t want to go through the pain again.
How did my mom survive that pain? My son went to the ER one night and I thought I would lose it, ear infection. Drama. How in the world did my mom go years without holding, squishing, smelling, and cuddling her little lug bugs?
So, now, here I am – 30 and trying to get past all this yucky childhood stuff and pray to God we don’t put our son through any of this… But there are still so many families out there that can relate to this pain. There is so much hurt, so much anger. If I can give you one piece of advice from a child who desperately needed both parents to be civil and kind…
Don’t deny your children their right to see the other parent. They will resent you.
Don’t deny your children their right to visit with their grandparents. They will really resent you.
Don’t talk bad about the other parent in front of them. Just don’t do it.
Co-parent. Make decisions about their lives and focus on them. Not YOU.
We just finished a holiday season and every year I’m so thankful it’s over. I can’t help but think of all the pain I had each Christmas without my family. Now that I have my own little family the holidays are bright; but, the past is sometimes hard to shake and I have to continually remind myself that I am in charge of my happiness and no one else.
Whatever you do, do it with love in your heart.