My family is not your typical family unit. I believe the PC phrase is, “yours, mine, and ours”. In our case it would be “mine and ours”. The four girls came with me. The baby boy is ours. We have two of my girls here full time, one half time, and the fourth is here for school breaks. It’s not an easy thing for a mother to have two of her children living half way across the country for half of their lives. I know most people couldn’t possibly understand how I could chose to move away knowing that two of my kids couldn’t come with us. Trust me, if there was another way we would have done it. I have fought multiple custody battles over the past 10 years. If there was any possibility of moving them here, I would do it.
That being said, it still feels like a slap across the face when I hear, “But the mother always gets the kids”. It’s a fallacy I believed for a long time too. The tide is definitely turning in the world of family law. The main reason why my middle daughter lives with her father is because he got married shortly before our court trial. The judge decided that a household with two parents was better for her than my single mother home. Add in the fact that he kept our house, and I had to move in with my parents for awhile when we split, and you have a child who does not live with her mother & siblings. My youngest daughter has always gone back & forth between her fathers house & mine. However; moving across country puts a damper on that. We are in the middle of a long, drawn out court case with her now as well. She is set to go back & forth every three months starting in June. We’ll see how that winds up.
This deep dark secret that I work so hard at keeping from the people I meet is eating me alive. Most people make a snap judgment about my character and worth when they hear that my children- all five- have different fathers. I distinctly remember screaming at Ryan after he told me that he told his parents “about the girls”. I was fuming angry. I know people hear that and think “Run!” or “Jerry Springer” or something along those lines. That was NOT the first impression I wanted to give to his family; or anyone else for that matter.
I won’t post the details of everything to do with the girls dads on this blog, but I will say:
In the past 10 years I have been sexually assaulted twice, abused, beaten, cheated on with women, cheated on with a prostitute, cheated on with alcohol & drugs, had my debit and credit cards stolen, been through a life-destorying natural disaster, had my heart ripped out & smashed on the ground, and had every ounce of my self confidence eroded away until there was nothing left. I turned away from God, turned away from church, and turned to friends who liked to drink away their cares.
And at one point, I stopped believing that there was a God. Why would I, after all of that? What purpose would God have in putting me through all of this?
Now that I am in a better place (more on that another day) I can see the purpose. I can see the reasons and the lessons I was taught and why. My daughters will grow up with a mother who knows the warning signs of abuse and unhealthy relationships. They will grow up to be strong women who know that they don’t need a relationship to make them whole. I will break the cycle of alcoholism, co-dependency, and abuse that has been happening in my family for generations. They will NOT live my life.
As a result of things that I have lived through, I have a calling to be a foster parent. I also want to return to school when my kids are older, to become a counselor for at-risk youth.
This journey I have taken so far has left me jaded and cynical, but I am not broken. I am not a slut. I am not a freak, and I did not deserve anything that happened to me. I made mistakes, and I have atoned for them. I have learned my lessons the hard way. And I am moving on.
You are not God. So please, quit judging me.