I’m just home from spending the weekend with my son at his university. He is in exactly the place he should be, and that is a great blessing. We saw a wonderful movie together, hit a couple of art galleries, and stopped in the university bookstore for the required sticker for the car. I bought him a couple meals, and took him shopping for gloves. He got a scarf, too, one that he thought would look good with his favorite argyle sweater. It does look sharp. I’m so proud of him!
But now that I’m at home, in the quiet evening, I find that the scar tissue has been ripped from an emotional wound. A little over five years ago, I separated from my children’s father. Our relationship, which had seemed so promising, had been poisoned over the years, and the marriage was toxic and dangerous. I don’t know whether the wrongs can ever be made right, but I do know that he and I are both better people now that we are apart.
What I didn’t know, when I left, was the price I would pay: the adolescence and teen years of my two amazing children. See, my son chose to live with his dad, visiting only on alternate weekends. My daughter switched homes on a monthly basis, other than those same alternate weekends, until I took her to the psych hospital during the summer of 2010, on discovering her harming herself. Then she also chose to live with her dad. What could I do? When your children are 14 or 15, it’s mostly up to them. And what kind of ogre refuses that? So I have missed shopping for a homecoming dress and taking pictures before they go off to the prom. I never even saw my son’s senior pictures. I didn’t get to read the draft of his graduation speech as salutatorian. I wasn’t there to see him grow from a gentle boy to a gawky adolescent to the polished young man he is today.
And it hurts.
It hurts like motherfucking hell. There is really no nice way to put it. The price of escaping abuse was my children. And that fucking sucks.
My daughter graduates in June, and then she will be off to start her own life as well. She seems to have a true vocation as a teacher, and I am so proud of the young woman she has become. She’s been through some rough stuff, and she is a strong, gutsy, kickass woman. And I miss her so much.
I miss them both. And it hurts. It hurts like motherfucking hell.
So if you read this, could you offer up a prayer? Pray, perhaps, for all mothers. Pray for victims and survivors of abusive relationships. Pray for families, especially broken ones. Pray for single parents. Pray for teenagers and students. Pray for everyone who hurts like motherfucking hell.