This past Friday, just as I do every 2 weeks, I quickly gathered up my children’s things and packed them into their overnight bags. Just like every other week, I did so with such dread, and sadness, all while feeling a huge sense of loss. These are the same feelings that I had, that very first time, three and a half years ago, that I packed my 4 older children up for the first time, so they could visit their father in his new apartment. It’s a sadness, that to this day, is very real and still very fresh. Every time my children leave, I hug them, and tell them how much I love them. Mustering all the strength in me, I put a smile on my face and quickly walk them out the door, and then watch them walk away from our home into their father’s car. As I close the door behind them, the realization that they are gone takes my breath away, each and every time.
One would think that after 3 and a half years, I would be used to this schedule. That by now, I would be over it and that it would all feel normal. Truth is, it doesn’t feel any more normal now, than it did the first time they had to leave me. To be honest, the hardest and the only thing that I have not been able to get over after the divorce, is watching my kids leave to have their visitation with their father. Now, please do not misunderstand what this post is about. In no way, am I saying that I don’t want my children to visit with their father. They love their dad, and for that I am glad. I want my children to be happy, and the time they spend with their father is a part of that equation. Instead, what I am writing about is the sense of loss that I feel, for the memories that I am not a part of, and those special moments which I am missing.
Divorce, no matter how amicable, brings a sense of disconnection to a family. When a husband and wife are raising kids together in the same home, both parents are extremely connected and involved in the everyday things that come with raising a child. Most of all, the memories are shared and everyone experiences them together. With divorce, that is not the case. My children now have memories and a life, that does not include me and their father together. When they’re with me, they are experiencing things away from their father, and when they are with him, those experiences are also happening without me. It is a harsh reality, and hurts me to think that I can’t always be there and that there is a part of their lives, where I am missing. Most of all, they are having experiences, that I am missing, and don’t get to be a part of.
The end of my relationship with “Ex” was for the best. It was a very abusive relationship that was not good for me or my children, so in no way would I ever choose to go back to that life. However, on weekends like this one, I often wonder if I would have been okay with sacrificing my happiness just so that I would never have to go through a weekend without them. I miss them so much it hurts. As I go through day’s like today, I spend my time with the wonderful man in my life, and our little girl, but no matter what it is we have planned for the day, one fact holds true. “Daddy” and I both feel it, life is just not the same without those 4 kids. Saddest of all is watching our little girl, wake every morning, calling their names and checking their bedrooms, as she excitedly looks for each and every one of them, but they are not there. It breaks my heart every time I have to remind her that they are gone. This must be so confusing to her. Weekends like this, our hearts feel completely broken, and our home feels so totally empty.