It’s peaceful in here. Come rest for a bit in a place of happiness and heart restoration. Nice to meet you! My name’s Dana and I’m a Noncustodial Mama to 2, Single Mama to 1, business owner and homeschooler who is graciously addicted to the endless road and all the risky, joyful adventures of a life lived inside the arms of Grace. I teach Noncustodial Moms (and sometimes Dad’s, too) how to find happiness in the midst of their life-altering circumstances. It takes one to know one, and now you know one who knows.
LET'S BE FRIENDS
You're not alone anymore. So won't you please be my neighbor and share this journey with me?
I never, absolutely.. NEVER.. think about the day I was branded. There have been occasional drive-by-flashes skip through my memory regarding it, but nothing more. I don't allow myself to purposefully relive the events of that day so I keep it locked securely away. Too much pain held up in that massive expanse of a memory. But Hiding grew tired of my hiding so it forced me out and demanded that I take notice. Curiously, I started to find myself thinking about that day, specifically the courtroom. Where was it? I mean, I knew where it was but as many times as I had been in the courthouse I didn't know where that specific courtroom was. It had been 7 years, why start thinking about it now? I couldn't explain the curiosity, I only knew it existed. It was just a casual fascination though, nothing that would cause me to ask anyone about it or [...]
Ah.... Mother's Day. A day that has the rotten potential of offering up severe cases of rejection and failure. A day that forces smiles, pours out the tears, and deepens the wounds of an already shattered heart. A miserable day that ranks second only to the day of our branding. It's a stern reminder not only of who we aren't holding in our trembling, grieving embrace, it's also a reminder of all that went wrong to put us in this position, the alienation that has been shoved in our face, and our feeble attempts of trying to live a normal life as if nothing ever happened. Problem is, it has happened, and it's a tough injustice to overpower for a lot of hard-bitten women. Mother's Day is coined as a day of celebration for Mother's and while we are Mother's, surely one can't expect us to glorify a day that reminds of all that we have lost? I mean, [...]
If your life is anything like mine, which I assume it is since you're reading this, then there are times when you desperately and absolutely JUST NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO!!!! Amiright? Yes, I am. I know because I battle those feelings. Still. I'm nearing closer to the 10-year mark as a noncustodial mom and the one thing I have needed the most is the one thing we all need the most - a trusted voice of understanding, compassion, and tenderness. There just aren't that many who get it, ya know. I lost a lot of friends when I became a noncustodial mom. For years, I just assumed it was because they judged me for what had happened. Sure, there were a few that took his side and shamed me because I was the one who "abandoned my children" - his words and his story, of course. But now, however, I see things a little [...]
I get emails every day from other noncustodial moms and I cry as I read each one of them. While we live in different cities, states and countries and our custody battles and life experiences differ to incredible degrees, there is one common trait every "please help me" email shares: deafening tears and their associated feelings of hopelessness. The defender that I am, I want to bottle up their pain, throw away the key, hold them close and tell them that everything is going to be okay. But that wouldn't necessarily be the truth. Because it's not always going to be okay. Truth is: It's going to be hell for a while. A long while. Even if we make the daily conscious decision to live contentedly in our unsexy and unconventional circumstances, we still experience the agony and heartache of our loss on an almost constant, second-by-second basis. Reality doesn't just disappear. It may shrink, [...]
For so long I have seen myself as just a noncustodial mom. That's it. Like it's what I was created for, who I was destined to be. Being a noncustodial mom was just my lot in life. Everyone has one and this was mine. To me it was almost a form of punishment, a price I had to pay for being a good wife and giving him free, unrestrained and ungoverned control in every part of my psyche - visible and invisible. Little 'ol sunshiney, submissive me. Yup, what a fine character I became. Puke. Noncustodial mom equaled my cross to bear. And if I was going to survive the weight of this relentless, oppressive, burdensome, grief-stricken cross, I needed to put on my happy face and somehow, someway find happiness inside of it. So I did, and I have. Now, clearly, I haven't been flawless, but I have been flawless enough to eek out an existence in [...]
To each of you today, I thank you. Last night when I chose to crawl up in my own little world, hibernating with my tears, I never expected the morning to bring such joy. Friendship is powerful, y'all. I would still be hiding under the blankets if it weren't for one of them. Ralph Waldo Emerson claims that: "A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature," and I think he's right. I pray each of you has a handful that will eagerly pour into your life as mine have continually poured into mine. Quality over quantity, all day every day.
I need to talk and tonight there is no one to talk to. So I'm talking to you, here, out loud, in our little corner of ... whatever you want to call it. Some days I call it frustration and pain, other days I call it freedom and happiness. Tonight: It's frustration, it's anger, it's displeasure, it's irritation, it's painful. As a noncustodial mom, heck.. as a human, answers aren't given, hopes aren't granted, dreams crash and burn - continually. Stupid life expects you to just take it as it comes, insisting that you cower under the constant onslaught of jabs and uppercuts, which is... stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Yes, stupid. Of course, I don't have to cower, but tonight I am. I'm weak. I'm tired. I'm emotional. I miss my kids. I miss my friends. To top it off, I'm still reeling from a bloody heart attack after sliding through a stoplight and gracefully [...]
Grace: The only reason I'm forgiven and free.. and still alive. If you think that you're "too messy" to be forgiven, you're right... and wrong. While you may be messy (like me and the rest of the human race!), God loves that mess and He will pursue that mess until every particle of that mess has been swept up under His arms of grace - where there is safety, comfort, love and freedom. Face it, we all encounter things in life that suck us dry and dig us deeper into the cold, suffocating earth. No one is immune. Not even the greatest of greatest people that have walked this planet. Each of them faced trials and disappointments and slander and betrayal. They have been shredded and abused, too. But that didn't stop them from finding their purpose and destiny. So it shouldn't stop you either. People are going to talk. People are going to hate. [...]
Words - words of intelligence and character, warmth and gentleness; they are my ointment, my healer. They have brought life out of my death, hope out of my despair, love out of my hate, peace out of my anxiety. They have wiped my tears with their soothing touch, squeezed me tight with their embrace of pleasure. They have opened the deepest of wounds with one purpose as its goal: stitching the final stitch after the dedicated process of internal healing had ceased. The words I share today are no exception. His words have power, a passionate and gentle power. They are no different than the words I speak, the words you speak, or the words others have spoken yet his words have the brilliant ability to draw out the most poisonous, life-defining moment and mercifully transform it into the richest, sweetest honey filled "today-is-the-day-I-forgive-and-live" moment. Start at the 3:00 mark and listen closely to what he has to say [...]
It would be easier to say... I just do. But I know that's not entirely sufficient. For me, those three words hold nine years of numerous failures, forced beginnings and traumatic endings. They hold a heartache deeper than the oceans and higher than the heavens. They hold a desperation, a defiance - a state of mind that often finds no destination. They still grasp tightly to years of memories and visitations denied, years of dishonest accusations and unadulterated, bold-faced lies. But... they also hold a powerful, unassailable, intense type of pure, unconditional love. They lay claim to uninterrupted, infinite levels of forgiveness and grace. They are recklessly flowing over with triumphs and victories of a new-found, interminable form of self-love, maturity, and wisdom. To get there, however, I had to make a choice. I had to choose myself. Just as you now have to. I know your world has ended. I know how unbelievably real and agonizing [...]
I teach Noncustodial Moms (and sometimes Dad's, too) how to find happiness in the midst of their life-altering circumstances. We work together to replace all of their immediate grumpies with a whole wide world of forever happies.
I write, speak and coach. I am a Noncustodial Mom to two big boys, 16 and 14, and a Single Mom to one little boy, now 7.
You know this war of which I speak of, don't you? This internal war; a war that very few understand.
If you are here and you get it - you get my words and you feel those emotions - the unpleasant ones, rising up in your soul struggling just to be heard, then this is where you belong.
Hi, my name is Dana and I, too, am a Noncustodial Mom. It's been almost 11 years. I'd be lying if I say the struggle has dissipated, because in some ways it hasn't, but I have fought my way through to the other side where the sun shines brighter than ever! Now it's your turn, and I'm going to help.