+ $510 in gasoline
+ $63 in tolls
+ $213 in food
+ 6 days with the kids
Being a non-custodial mother means the moments I DO have my arms wrapped around my children are absolutely priceless. There are those of you who would have been upset that your kid had homework over spring break, but it excited me, because it meant I got to be a part of it with him! It may upset you to continually tell them to stop arguing with each other because you’re sick of doing it ALL THE TIME, but for me it’s a challenge to figure out how to modify their behavior, and I take it on willingly. You may find that cooking dinner for 5 adults and 4 children is absolutely exhausting, but I would do it again one night a week for the rest of my life, because it means that God’s most precious blessings are all within my fingertips’ reach.
But, after all of the positive that come with our time together, and after I’ve shared a few of the negatives, let me now share that I am
worn out tired EXHAUSTED. I didn’t sleep very well last night because I kept having dreams that all of the police men I saw on the highway were chasing me, that the car in front of me was suddenly standing still, and that the tunnels I had to drive through were collapsing. I woke up “stomping on the brakes” several times. (Poor Mr. Marine!)
But, that has very little to do with why I’m exhausted.
I look at my children and I realize they are very little like me, because they are being raised by my ex-husband and his mother, who (obviously) raised him, and that means they have almost no part of me left in them. And, it hurts my heart.
Except that Noah likes to read, Faith likes to create, and Chloe can always find an up-side to a bad moment.
I hear them tell me they’re not sure they want to visit at all over the summer time because of all of the things Dad has planned for them at home, and how I’m the one that moved away so I have to deal with it, and I wonder if it’s even something I should fight for any more. And, it hurts my heart.
But, I take the opportunity to teach them about priorities and decision making anyway, because it’s the right thing to do as a mother who wants the best for their futures.
I hear them complaining about so much, flopping on the couch instead of sitting down lightly, refusing to eat the food in front of them, refusing to run around the yard and complaining about being outside in the beautiful weather. And, it hurts my heart.
So, I do what every good mother would do and tell them I’m still the adult and they’re not too big to be spanked if they can’t listen – even my 160+ pound son. And, amazingly, they start listening fairly quickly.
Folks, the truth is – my heart is hurt. I’m tired, I feel undesirable by my own children, and I’m struggling. I can’t win with rules I didn’t create, and now I find out I’m not even in the game. They are reiterating to me things they have heard from their father for 4 years now, and here comes the tough part – I have to just accept it. I have to take the good times with the hard times and pray over it and let it go. Breathe in. Breathe out. And trust the Creator of the World to handle my hurt and hold my hand.
Mr. Marine reminded me yesterday of a very important fact. What I’m struggling with is exactly what a combat Marine struggles with when you hear the term PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). A man goes into combat, making a difficult decision which he feels is right at the time, and lives the rest of his life dealing with that decision. My holding on to all of the “what ifs” and “should haves” is as ridiculous as that combat Marine punishing himself for the rest of his life for doing the best he could with what he was given at the time.
I struggle with Mr. Marine in these moments of doubt about his past decisions in his life, and I sometimes wish I could shake him and remind him he did the BEST he could at a difficult moment – the rest just falls where it may.
I’m not saying this is easy, and I’m definitely not promising to never write about it again, but I’m not letting my PTSD affect my life. I did the best I could with what I was given at the time, and still believe I made the best choices possible. The fallout from all of that is in God’s hands. He, time and time again, sends me wonderful reminders that even in my hardest moments, the Creator of the Universe still cares enough to display beauty for me. I’m fairly certain that even from MY ashes He can create beauty, and it’s about time I start letting Him, instead of holding on to the ashes.