Some of the most painful words a mother can hear are:
“I want to go live with Dad.”
Especially, when Dad…..lives in another state. This was not a path I ever thought I would be on. I never thought I would get divorced and remarried, and have another child, but I did. Sure, those things happen. You see it all the time. It’s normal.
But my children not living with me?
Living with someone whose level of participation was minimal? That just seemed wrong. I dug my heels in and said “no, we will go to counseling and work this out.” Well, when you take a ten and twelve year old to counseling, who don’t want to be in counseling….you get nowhere fast. Picture the crossed arms, and pre-teen angst.
I prayed long and hard about this. My husband was all for it. He was on blood pressure medication by this time. He was too young to have high blood pressure, and certainly didn’t want to follow the path of his father..who had a heart attack at a young age. It felt wrong, deep down in my heart, to let my girls live with someone else. My oldest had already spent a school year living with her grandmother, where she did go to counseling. But to go live with him?? Ugh. I prayed for years that things would get better. Now, I was praying for what was best for them. My biggest fears were how they would carry this pain into adulthood. We all know how girls can seek out love in all the wrong places. I wanted to send out strong, independent, young women into the world. Not, hurting, and broken women.
So, before school started, I let my oldest go. It was heartbreaking, but I thought it might be good. Let her get to know her Dad better. They think he walks on water. Let them know the person that I know. I thought perhaps my youngest would be happy to have her own room, for the first time. Perhaps that would alleviate some of the pressure. Wrong. She spiraled into a depression, that left her only wanting to eat and lay on the couch. She didn’t go outside with her friends much. By Christmas time, we were packing her up to go too. I kind of pushed her to go a little more than I did with her sister, but she was always a Momma’s girl, and didn’t want to admit she wanted to go.
Two years later: it’s still hard. I text often, but we speak very little. Occasionally we Skype, and I see them a few times a year. It took a long time for me to forgive myself. I spent a lot of time fearing judgment from people. Part of this is due to the fact that my own family judges me. They accused me of “throwing my children away.” How dare a mother not raise her own children. My relationship with my parents has never been the same. That’s a whole other struggle.
I don’t throw this information around in many conversations, but when I do speak to people about it, I realize that I’m not the only one. I’ve spoken to several moms, who have gone through something similar. Sure, not everyone will understand my situation. Heck, even I don’t understand all of it!
But, I know that this is what’s right for my family.
When I pray about tough situations like this, I remember that the right way, may not be what the world thinks is right. It’s hard to listen to God above the noise of everyone else telling you what to do. And even harder, to hear above our own fear and anxiety.
Both my girls seem happier in general, and are excelling in school. I know letting them go was a good thing for them. While my husband no longer needs blood pressure medication, I’ve been barely holding it together. There is still pain, and a need for healing, but I think we are heading in that direction.