Today is the day! After many long months of wait, the day has finally arrived for my 2 oldest children to visit for their summer break. While I love Christmas, summertime is truly the most wonderful time of the year for me. (I guarantee that I will even sing that line a few times today.) Today is my Christmas, and at the first sight of those kids I will feel like a 6-year-old girl waking up to the gifts under the tree and dashing for them.
Obviously, every other day between August and June is not like this. When they first leave the house is too quiet. The younger kids cry a lot, as do I. My husband even has a difficult time as he loves those kids just like he does his 3 biological children. Holidays never seem right. When the kid’s birthdays come and go my heart breaks in two all over again. There are times that they are sick and I don’t know until after and feel terrible… Or they call me while sick and I can’t do anything. I worry when I don’t find out about something until after the fact, where their morals lie, when I go a week without hearing from them, if they’re needing someone to make them smile, etc. It’s not that I think their dad and stepmom don’t love them or care for them, because I know they do. It’s that when they leave and are not with me it is as if someone has cut off half of my limbs and a huge part of my heart yet I live and have to deal with every bit of the pain.
Being that it is becoming more and more common for mothers to not hold physical custody of their children, I’ve finally felt that it is time to be public with how I manage the pain. Notice I said manage, not numb or deaden. That is impossible. Believe me, I’ve tried it different ways, and it was not a pretty site. It only made things worse.
While writing this I have realized that there is far too much that I would like to share in order for this to be a single post, so I will be making it a series. As I mentioned at the top of this post, my children are visiting, so I am not sure if there will be an exact pattern to when each post in this series will go up nor am I sure that it will ever end. This is a day-to-day process, and I am occasionally surprised with a new aspect to this way of life.
Before I end today’s portion though, I want to say something VERY important:
Non-custodial mothers, and fathers for that matter, are not always deadbeats and/or abusive parents. Sometimes life situations make it so that it is more accommodating, affordable, or the child’s preference to live with one parent over the other. I even know a few parents whose children are not theirs by blood but were stepchildren in a previous marriage that they love as their own. There are many reasons why a child might live with one parent instead of another, and society needs to stop turning their nose up at those who do not have their children all the time.
What I’m trying to say is this: Not all of us have our children ripped out of our arms and dragged out of our homes by CPS for neglect because the mom was so high she couldn’t care for her children. Even so, some moms (and dads) who have been in those situations have turned their lives around, have regrets, and it is too late to move the children or they simply cannot afford to go to court to get their children back. Are all non-custodial parents this way? No. But with the high rate of divorce these days, it is to be expected that many children of divorced parents live with one parent more than the other.
Not having our children with us does not mean that we don’t love them, or love them less than the children that do live with us. Being a non-custodial parent does not mean that our children are out of sight and out of mind. It means that we are missing out on all the little things and that an extension of our hearts are walking around and we feel lost without it there… trying to make the best that we can of every day.
Are you a non-custodial parent?
What do you feel people often incorrectly assume about your parenting situation?