Every Given Sunday — Losing A Child Through A Custody Battle
This experience does not have a place in this world.
For the parent or the child.
Joint custody exchanges. A child is passed from home to home like a ping pong ball. Constantly on the move. An itinerant travelling through a revolving door. The vision of that brings me to tears. My daughter at the mere age of 3 began her route through the revolving door. Sunday she passed through off to Dad’s and Wednesday she trudged through once more. Always with a smile for the parent she reunited with carrying her blankie and backpack.
Part time between parents. Us as part time mom or dad. You never really are part time. Nothing makes it easier. Not knowing if they’re hungry, cold, happy, sad, it can drive you insane with worry and fear. It never goes away. You never get used to it. It’s an emotion you learn to control and hide to carry on.
It took me quite a long time. Perhaps years even. To realize that must be what the children experience as well. They miss you. They do. They feel torn and obligated to do things and be places they can’t control. You marvel at their bravery and then realize they have learned to cope and hide emotions in the same way as you. To carry on.
Joint custody exchanges. That’s how it started. A little bit of me died inside every given Sunday she walked out the door. Before the divorce I had never been away a day in her life. My world revolved around her. My spunky princess obsessed with Cars and Minnie Mouse.
Enter the revolving door, little one.
Come out on this side.
Enter the revolving door again, little one.
Go out the other side.
Enter the revolving door, my heart is with you.
Go and know I’ll be loving you from afar with pride.
Sharing custody of my daughter was the hardest thing I’d ever done. To lose half my time with her. It took some getting used to. Not that I ever really did. It was weird how some days she’d be there. My little sunshine. Holding her blanket and cup looking to me for our next adventure together. Even chores were enjoyable with her there. Her small hands trying to help. Those memories warm my heart. It kept me going through the days I wouldn’t see her.
Every given Sunday she went away. Those days I woke up on my own, without a little finger tapping my face. Going about the house at my normal pace. A house void of a little girl who belonged in that place.
When I had another baby I thought it would help. That I’d be busier and the days between without her would go faster. Not so. The little girl sized hole in my heart could not be filled or forgotten for a second. Then it got worse. She turned into the best big sister ever. Handing me diapers at changing time, cleaning up all her toys she knew were too small for him, rocking him, talking to him, all that irresistible cute stuff. She grew up before my eyes then. Her little brother’s biggest fan. I admired her love and help, but every given Sunday that feeling hurt. For days there’d be no doting big sister. No diaper magically appeared. No tea parties to set up next to the baby bouncer.
Sure some Sundays there’d be an initial sigh of relief. No cup of juice would be spilled for at least 2 days, no tiny voice asking where babies come from when she gets out of bed in the middle of the night. But that first sigh was quickly followed by a painful breath. I would not see her. Could not see her. For days.
Then joint custody changed to primary… In her father’s favor.
No no no no.
This is not what was supposed to happen.
No no no.
How can this be? It hurts worse than the 26 hours of labor followed by surgery and months of recovery.
Every given Sunday. That was how it used to be. I’d clean up the toys she just played with happily. Go to sleep to put the living nightmare to its end. Waiting for her to return and my heart to mend. All that has changed. Our life unable to be rearranged. Her dollhouses are covered in dust. My broken heart doesn’t trust.
Every given Sunday has gone to every given day since my little girl was taken away.
I’ve heard that in time all wounds heal. Whoever said that has never been cut as deep as this.
People say life goes on, but right now that’s the saddest part.
If only she could hear me, and understand, this was not the plan, it was out of my hands.
Until Mommy sees you again, you must try to be brave little one.
Mommy is here. Mommy is loving you from afar and always will no matter where we each are.
Make a wish for each sad little tear
Hold your head up when no one is near
Mommy is waiting to see you again.