My seperation from my ex began 3 months before the first birthday of my son. The way the temporary orders were set up was each parent rotating out of the house so our son could stay in the comfort and security of his own home. Like all judges, it seems, in the Family Court System, our commisioner was all about “fairness”. He threw out all testimony I gave regarding the safety of my child around my abusive ex. On the grounds that my ex simply said “That never happened”. So he determined that the he said- she said made it a “wash” and we canceled out eachother’s testimony.
So, my son, Brandon’s, first birthday fell on Alex’s (the ex) parent time. I had never invisioned not spending every birthday with my son. Every holiday. That’s what I’d looked forward to for years in becoming a mother.
Becoming a new mom in the “age of Pinterest” had really done a number on my perception of reality. I scoured new mom blogs for pregnancy tips and birth stories. I laboriously pinned idea after idea of DIY birthday party themes, new baby gifts, and toddler food ideas. Organic homemade baby food? I did that! Homeopathic ear infection remedies and essential oils? Me! I was constantly trying to do the best for my son.
I see now that all was a very well crafted distraction. I was just pushing my head further into the sand trying to block out the reality that was my untimely, shitty marriage.
To have the internet is such a wonderful thing. I can’t imagine how bored I would have been living in any other age! So much communication, education, and innovation. It’s very inspiring, really. Unfortunately, it can lead you down the dark path toward envy.
I remember distinctly as my son’s first birthday quickly approached. I had lost my job, we were elbow deep in divorce documents, and my son and I had a scary future ahead of us. I wished so badly that I could be one of those, seemingly, carefree new moms who was cutting out paper bunting flags and making homeade cake frosting in blue ombre.
My reality was that I was broke. I got all of his small, new toys at the dollar store. The day before his birthday was the last day of my parent time. We had no family of mine to spend it with. We celebrated alone in the kitchen.
I made him a small chocolate cake. I wrote a happy birthday message on our chalkboard for him. We unwrapped his small presents and he smashed his face into his cake. It was lonely, but it was lovely. Just us. I know he didn’t care. He didn’t know what day it was. It was so fun for him.
I wasn’t allowed to Skype him on his real birthday that year. I was sent a picture of him with his fancy store bought cake surrounded by the people I once called family too. I also saw the expensive gifts that he was given from his dad’s family. It stung. The first official seperate celebration.
Since the awful stipulation was signed and the way our parent time aligned, I also haven’t spent Christmas with my son. Ever.
He’s still young and for that I’m grateful. Custody changes all the time, and I doubt our current arrangement will be permanent. It’s just easy to feel sad and sorry for myself somtimes.
To my son, it’s just another day. We could celebrate Christmas in March – he wouldn’t care. For me, though, it’s hard. I don’t get to walk downstairs and see his eyes widen at the sight of the gifts. I don’t get to sit back with my coffee and supply endless amounts of batteries to his mound of noisy gifts. I miss that. I wanted to have children to experience those things.
It’s really selfish of me, I know. He has truly wonderful holidays with his dad’s family. He gets absolutely spoiled and I’m so glad. He’s lucky to have so many people who want to be with him and show him love.
Does anyone else ever feel these feelings about missing special moments? What do you do on those days to stop from curling up in a ball and crying into your wine all night?