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 purposefully seek it out. To relive that on purpose… riiiiight. Not in my lifetime.
I like to hide, remember?
A couple of years ago, though, I found myself walking into that courthouse again. I never gave it second thought, really. I was just there to do my duty and follow court orders. Or so I thought.
Remember what I said about Hiding and how it will dominate you, force you out, without choice, to make you face your fear? Yeah? Well, today it chose me and required that I take notice.
I walked up the stairs, the ones I always see but never question, and turned the corner shyly peering over the handrail to see if anyone was waiting. Whew. No one there. Deep exhale. I continued up the stairs and stopped at the top to adjust, take another deep breath, and prepare myself for entering. I anxiously fiddled with my jacket and purse, not knowing what or who lay behind the closed doors.
Palms sweaty and shaky, I reached for the large brass handle, pulled it towards me, and reluctantly entered.
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, our physical, oxygen-breathing reasons for life itself, for the honor of motherhood, aren’t even in our presence.
Sure, we may wake up to breakfast in bed, Happy Mother’s Day quotes and comments through social […]
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!!!!
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 differently.
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, but it’s always present. I know you know this.
We live in a world ripe with forced alienation, rejection, injustice, repetitive abuse, instability, poverty, fear, failure, shame, guilt, regret, and really.. the list could go on. A lot of our days are spent with forced-happy smiles for the show, but with stone cold hearts that have been tortured and lives that have been ravaged by complex forces of power, abuse of authority and extreme cases of narcissism and inflated egos. We are trapped inside of our nightmares. Problem is: Waking up, wiping the sleep from our eyes, shaking the fear and replacing it with new hopes for our day is nearly impossible because of the invisible anchors that have been eagerly chained to our ankles by an individual, or individuals, who are violently hellbent on throwing us to the sharks – with pleasure, yet again.
So if you know of a noncustodial mom, I pretty please beg these things of you:
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.
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.
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.