Moving forward is extremely difficult and don’t you ever let anyone tell you otherwise. This pain is an intense, life-altering pain that can take years to muddle your way through so rushing the process is not optional.
I didn’t start taking my first steps out until I was three years in, though it definitely wasn’t by choice. I wasn’t ready yet. Far from it. The wounds were too deep, the pain completely unbearable, and the anger just too intense. I was still crying myself to sleep at night, cuddled with the same pillow, now stained with years of tears and visions of two little men.
Life woke me up one day and decided (without asking for permission) that it hadn’t dealt me enough so it chose to screw me over, yet again. Just peachy. Magically, unfortunately, as a result of my carelessness, I ended up pregnant.
It was easy physically, not so much so mentally. I battled constant inner hell. The first five months was torture, not being able to make sense of my life, wanting to end it and just be done, to call it quits. I was a Grade-A quitter at that time and proud of it! Life was just way too painful and the deep aches only got deeper.
(This little man, now curled in my lap snoring, is my Guardian Angel sent here for a purpose; it just took me some time to see it and cherish it. Just wait ‘till you hear his story – born at home, 44+ weeks, unassisted, 13.2 pounds. Aww… yeah! That’s my boy! )
So now, not only was I a noncustodial parent, I was also a single parent. Imagine the damage that one did, to little ol’ selfish me. So I had no choice. I had to catch up with life because it wasn’t paying me any favors.
When reality hits, it hits hard. All of the sudden no one knew my name. I wasn’t human. I wasn’t a mom, a daughter, a sister, or a friend. I wasn’t even a female. I became a title. I became that person. That person who walked out on her kids. That person who had to have done something so bad that a judge felt it necessary to take her kids away. That person who obviously deserved it.
And you are that person too, aren’t you? You have been renamed an it, a “that person” as well, one who has been forcefully branded as a noncustodial parent.
Oh sweet joy.
But what’s an even sweeter joy is trying to explain that to a population that either (1) has never heard the title (really?), or (2) has been desensitized by a society that places all noncustodial parents into one category – the drug abuser, alcoholic, unemployed, no-good-for-nothing, sex-craved whore category of people who are undeserving and will never be worthy of a life with their kids.
Bam. I’m so right on, aren’t I? Ooooooh, I just love it when I’m right! Try explaining that to a stranger.
Oh, wait. You have. With said adult in front of you (who shows no capacity to understand the very basics of human language), you try, continually, without success. You use new words, order them differently, and you just keep failing. So after a few minutes of frustration and apparent lack of common sense in the other individual, you give in, only to find yourself blurting in anger, “My children don’t live with me, OKAY!”
And then you run. Fast. ‘Cause you just don’t want to answer questions. Period. The truth hurts, especially if it’s a truth that you are forced to live with.
Instantly, you don’t matter. Your life to this point has turned to a vapor without trace. Your hopes made way to hopelessness. Your dreams have been met with silence. You are now the one percent; a noncustodial parent. Forever.