At 5:00 today, I said goodbye to my son until Thanksgiving. He is moving to Boston with his father tomorrow. My daughter will remain behind with me. This will be the longest I’ve ever been apart from him.
This summer was spent talking talking talking about how custody changes would impact our family with my husband, writing countless emails to my ex-husband, talking talking talking about all of this with my therapist, crying, worrying, and deciding where I would bend and where I would stand firm. At the eleventh hour, the ex and I finally reached a compromise. We would each keep one child. We went to mediation to make it official, and I began counting the days until my first born would leave me, his sister, his step-dad and step-brothers, and his extended family that lives in NC. He shared with his step-brother that he’s not “thrilled” with the idea of moving. This Mama isn’t thrilled with the idea either.
Custody battles suck. Plain and simple. I recall sitting in court-ordered custody mediation orientation. We had to watch a video before the judge scared us with statements like “you know your child(ren) best” and “do you really want a judge to decide this for you?”
Fighting for your children requires a special kind of strength. And because the issue of custody is never really closed, you never know when you’re going to have to call on your strength to endure a fight. When I lost custody of my children a few years ago, I wasn’t in any shape to fight for them. It’s taken me until recently to recognize this and accept it. Should I, could I have fought with my ex harder to keep both of my children? Could I have handled the possibility of losing both of them again? Is keeping one better than keeping none? These questions have circled my head since this bad dream started in July. And I haven’t been able to answer them.
I’m certainly not the first parent to watch her child leave. Kids move away to college and only come home for holidays all the time. I just expected to have a handful of more years with him at home before I’d have to do it. And he’ll return before I know it, right? Funny how the head and the heart aren’t always in line with the other.
I’ve folded the last of his laundry and closed his bedroom door. And now I will take a deep breath and remember our summer together, and look forward to every phone call and email. Travel safely, my love. Mama will see you soon.