I need to figure out exactly where the pain is coming from.
It’s more than teary eyes and guts ripped out. It’s more than the blood draining from my head or dry heaving an empty stomach. It’s heavier than the elephant sitting on my chest. It’s the mourning of lives decimated – or so it feels today and several times this week so far.
As a fan of Byron Katie, Teal Swan and Eckhart Tolle, my wiser self is asking my painful blob self: What thoughts are causing this pain?
In this very moment, I am sitting on my couch on a beautiful sunny day, in perfect health with computer and tea in hand. Everything is peaceful. And yet my mind is conjuring painful experiences into the present.
It seems likely that I will not get custody back. It seems that the “bad guy” has won and that my year of solo mothering holds no weight in a courtroom. It seems that wild and unfounded accusation do. It seems that the world has flipped upside down and the truth doesn’t make an ounce of difference. But what is the source of the sadness?
As a firm believer in karma, I never ever ever thought this could happen to us. I was a traditional faithful wife and mother. I didn’t lie, worked hard, loved, and contributed to those around me. You reap what you sow, and things work out for people with pure hearts and deeds, RIGHT?. Then life b*tch slapped me and kicked me in the hooohaa. I was so so stupidly piously and naive. Somehow I had managed to dismiss the reality that starving children were on the same karmic wheel as me. Life isn’t fair – it just isn’t.
I am mourning the future presence I would have with my girls: I pictured myself nursing their every sickness and shaping their minds. I imagined teaching them to be self-reliant and strong. I wanted them to grow up as international girls, traveling and experiencing the big picture. I imagined reading biographies of amazing people to them every night. I wanted to give them everything I have to teach them.
Now the reality is I can still nurse and educate them. I can still read to them. But their father will have more time and his aspirations for them are much lower on Maslow’s pyramid. Their travels will need to wait until they’re 18. The girls are not allowed to leave the country. They will become self-reliant out of need, not training.
When I was a stay-at-home mother and breastfeeding my girls for two years each, I felt like Mother Teresa, a representation of pure love. Each moment of messy business and fatigue was absolutely necessary and absolutely meaningful. Each moment was an investment into the beautiful monument that would be our family. I would sleep peacefully at night knowing exactly how and what my children were doing. I would know the consistency of their bowel movements. Yes, I went there.
Now the reality is I am still a mother, but “half” a mother. I am an abused and disgraced mother, too afraid to talk about motherhood for fear of being discovered as having lost custody (you must have done something horrible!). I am a mother who sits in the silence of my bed wondering how my children are and what they are being told.
But for my children I remain the representation of unconditional overflowing love and nothing will take that away from us. I am still the one that held them in my arms for the first few years of their lives and they know it through and through.
I am mourning the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be a pillar of strength for friends and family, the one who brings the roast chicken dinner to the single moms. The one who heads the PTA with inspiration and donates to charities. I wanted to care for my mother in her retirement.
Now the reality is My mother is taking care of me. She is the one that forced me to eat when I had neither the appetite nor the energy to feed myself. Without my mother, I would have been homeless with no resources to speak of. The reality is that when a man leaves his stay at home wife and two children with no financial support, they are at the mercy and charity of friends and family. My mother lent me the money to feed and clothe my children, hire an attorney, have a roof and transportation. Another dear friend lent me money for more and better attorneys. And then sperm worm came back and claimed the children. Now, I am not only the single mom in need, I am the single mom with no moral right to charity because I have lost custody! Say what?! The reality is that I deeply regret not having kept a hand in the family finances during our marriage. I deeply regret trusting my spouse of 10 years to do the right thing. I deeply regret trying to be nice.
I am mourning the semblance of control over our destiny. In fact, I am rarely in control. Do I know where I’ll be next month? No, and I haven’t known for the past three years. Did I know much about personality disorders when I met my husband? No.
Now the reality is I wish people would be tested for risk of personality disorders before getting married and having children since the signs can appear years later. The family court system would see their high conflict cases greatly reduced. I wish all family courts would mandate assessments, mediation, co-parenting structures and classes before the divorce trial. I wish control would be restored to the peacemakers and quickly.
Life is not a beautiful river ride. Life is a challenge to see what’s real and what you’re really made of. If you’re one of the many chosen ones, life will strip you of pride, willpower, plans, identity, and freedom in order to see what still stands and what you will build from the ashes. It’s a boot camp to show you that you are bigger than all these things. You hold my children hostage now you cannot hold them forever. You break down my reputation, but I don’t need any approval other than my own loving acceptance. You take away my life’s work, but I can build again, now rich in wisdom and grit. You take away my outer sanity, but I can learn how to build my inner calm and love from the inside. You take away 70 percent of my parenting time, but I will make the 30 percent I have the highest quality parenting plan ever engineered. I am making several different flavors of lemonade. More lemons will come as I refine my recipes.