I’ve written before about the upside of joint custody, the need for parents to take a break, and the mental health benefits of working. All of these times away can provide such a glorious readjustment of one’s attitude, refurbishment of energy reserves, and replenishment of adoration and laughing acceptance of kitchen goo.
Two days ago, I watched the twins drive away to spend the holiday (2 days before and 1 day after Christmas) with their Dad and his wife and her family. They were happy-jumpy and excited about going to the farm and reported looking forward to “real Christmas.”
Despite my claims that our early Christmas was by special arrangement with Santa, they seemed to very quickly catch on that this was just the first in a series of Christmas celebrations, and gifts, and stockings, and trees they’d experience. They are five and no longer ignorant of the unique joys of quantity –helped along by the fact that their birthday was a short two weeks ago.
There is a special heartache (and place in Hell?) reserved for those of us no longer with the biological parents of our children. We learn to say goodbye and let go, long before we are ready. The added pain of feeling that this is somehow deserved is like an emotional hair shirt we wear around, toiling under the burden of our past mistakes.
The statistics tell me I’m not alone…
But they are gone. And I am here. And it feels all wrong.
Writing for Babble this week, under these circumstances, has been surreal. It’s difficult to try and be hip and trendy, when all one wants to do is crawl under a blanket with one’s daughters, read “Snow White” and giggle.
Times like these, being a sassy swearing feminist mama feels like a burdensome mask, rather than an empowering life stance.
The tough chic exterior so easily gives way when faced with even the temporary loss of one’s beloveds. And until the birds are back home in their nest, I’ll hold this melancholy vigil and let all the other people be strong and clever for awhile.