When I was in the hospital, having just popped a small creature who looked shockingly like a garden gnome out of my delicate girl bits, I held him for a spell in the quiet, darkened room as the doctor finished delivering the placenta and doing whatever it is that doctor’s do to your crotchal region after a baby is born. I held my second son to my breast and looked up at his father, stars in my eyes (okay, it was painkillers, but who’s counting?) and said, “I won’t ever have to give this one back.” He nodded, a smile twitching the corners of his mouth, his labor-long headache long since dissipated.

“No,” he replied, “we won’t.”

We were referring to, of course, the weekenders our eldest son had occasionally with the other OTHER side of his family. While we both knew that these were not only necessary, but important for our firstborn, it was heartbreaking to watch him leave each Friday and return overstimulated and exhausted on Sunday. Those days in which he was gone, it felt as though part of our hearts had gone with him – probably because they had.

When the divorce card got played, the first thing my mind jumped to was not “I’m going to have to find a real job,” nor was it, “will anyone ever love me again?” No. It was “what about the kids? I can’t leave my kids again – some days, they’re all that keeps me going forward.”

I knew that moving out; being unable to pay the mortgage, these had implications that were far-reaching – I’d have to, as previously stated, get a real job and learn to be alone after spending my entire life with another person around. I’d have to scrimp and save and cut coupons and figure out one makes “Ramen Bake,” I’d have to spend nights in an apartment so quiet that the on-switch on the heater would make me jump half-out of my skin. But most importantly – I’d have to leave my kids some of the time.

Now it’s not like I planned to be all thwap-thwap-thwap INCOMING helicopter parent once my second son popped out. I’d briefly considered attending college with him, but that’s mostly because I figured he’d never properly become potty trained, and frankly, someone had to teach the kid how to do keg stands, and his father, well, he was a Normal Rockwell painting, while I sat in the very back of the classroom, playing games on my phone, figuring out how many days, exactly, I could ditch before my grades dropped.

But I never really thought about the possibility of being separated from my children before it was the right time. I mean, I wouldn’t go to prom with the kid (PROBABLY), but I did expect that I’d see them most (read: all) days until they hit THAT point.

I was, of course, as I am so often, wrong.

I can accept that my nine year union dissolved – we both deserve our happy, neither of us is “at fault” because, well, as my therapist says, “divorce requires two people, just like marriage,” and Dave and I are more than amicable – we’re friends. We owe that to our children.

This weekend marked the end of the dreaded first week, the week that found me sobbing like a whiny baby on the couch as I watched and re-watched episodes of trashy television, which, Pranksters, I’m going to tell you, should be a prescription for all that ails you. And shit, it’s better trashy television than my wedding video, of which, I have to say, I don’t own, because I refused to spring for a video no one would ever choose to watch willingly. I didn’t want to be that newlywed that showed every single person who came to my home the wedding video, pointing out “the good” parts. Because hello, boring.

Amelia, thrilled out of her wee mind, came by on Friday, forgoing her normal McDonald’s dinner with her brothers, and spent the night. Alex came over on Saturday, proclaiming that this would be “the best day ever,” because he got to *gasp* sleep at Mama’s house. And as the children predicted, those were the two very best days I’ve had in a long time.

Yesterday, they returned to Dad’s house, and I was left, sitting alone with my trashy television, the silence of my empty apartment thumping in my ears.

I looked around, tears in my eyes, at all of the things in my big girl apartment. The bed and the couches. The end table and lamps. The zombie gnomes in the bathroom, sandwiched between a mushroom nightlight.

And I realized, for the millionth time that week, that my house, my house without children, it is not a home – it’s just the place where I live.

And that sort of sadness, it’s nearly impossible to shake.

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38 Responses to Divorced With Kids

  • Divorced With Kids http://t.co/kvbeb7oW

  • JennK says:

    Girl, this just breaks my heart. I got nuthin. This? Is unimaginable to me. Glad to be a prankster; glad to listen anytime.

  • Beth
    Twitter: star_momma
    says:

    Aw, honey, I can’t even begin to find the right words to say in response to this. I’m so sorry, and I hope that it will get better for you soon!

  • Shelley (@momma_oz)
    Twitter: momma_oz
    says:

    all I have are hugs and the knowing that you are never alone.

  • ArykaNotErika says:

    Honey lamb. I remember picking up my daughter from 2 weeks of sleepaway camp and having to tell her that I had to take her 600 miles away to stay with her grandmother and great grandmother because I still had no job, didn’t want to return us to the asshole that was mentally and physically abusing me and I didn’t see her as a “live in the car” kinda gal. It was best for her and she got a taste of super suburbia and she was safe but I thought I was gonna die inside. But ya know what, I didn’t. I did a few more days in that car, then swallowed my pride and headed to a friends couch and soon i had a little apartment. And almost a year to the day, I picked her up from the same camp and drove her home because now I had a house. You do what you have to do and it is hard and it breaks your heart a little bit but know you are doing what is best for you, which in turn is what is best for them. AND, it is probably going to be kind of nice for mommy’s house to be the fun house for a bit. Youre gonna be ok darlin. And you know if you need a little pep talk, you are never alone.

  • leanne says:

    I am so sorry for all the heartache you are going through. Thinking of you…

  • Andra says:

    I have nothing. It breaks my heart to think of you hurting, sitting on your couch, alone. I wish I could reach through the interwebz, and give you a hug! Know though, you are not alone.

  • Rachel says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I will say that you are a bit more lucky than I am, b/c my kids are staying with their father (for now) in another state. It takes weeks of planning to get to see them. I’m slowly dying inside… Then I remember, that it’s time to work on myself, so that I’m a better person and more for them. It is hard, but you can do it!

  • Maria says:

    Not too long from now, this place where you live, will one day just be transformed into your Home.
    Just like that, you will realise one day, that this? Is home.

    M

  • Rory says:

    I can relate. I hate being without my boys. The only thing I seem to be any good at is being a decent dad, so when it’s only a part time gig, it’s easy to get down on myself. Perhaps this is why I spend so much time reading science fiction and fantasy and watching every new release dvd I can get my hands on!
    Ror

  • chrisinphx says:

    Big hugs AB.

  • Grace says:

    Just sending lots and lots of love, my dear. And next weekend, I’ll be there to help ease you back into the end of the 2nd weekend. It’ll get easier, I promise.

  • Mama llama’s always near, even when she’s not right here.

  • Pete In Az says:

    Dam… That sucks.

    {{{{Aunt Becky}}}}

  • Erin says:

    This comment box has been open on my computer screen all day while I think of something heartfelt and relevant to say. Unfortunately, those words never came to me because some situations just suck. hard.

    I know what quiet apartments are like. Please know that there is me, a girl who you will likely never meet in real life, praying for you tonight.

  • Cindy
    Twitter: WalkerCynthia
    says:

    All I have for you is big hugs and lots of love.

  • Cindy
    Twitter: medinacd
    says:

    Truly Becks. God honestly. My heart breaks for you. How you maintain any strength whatsoever is totally beyond me. But you do. And you will get through every ” suck my heart out ” moment and then the next. No one knows what the future holds Becks. You have to get through this moment by painful moment. The future will be different somehow. You just gotta get there. Nothing but hope. <3

  • @berzerkeley says:

    This —> Divorced With Kids http://t.co/xLYryrQE via @mommywantsvodka

  • Only thing that keeps me from getting divorced is realizing I’d have to split time with the kids. Nope. Can’t do it. (That, and the husband insists that we’re the happiest couple ever despite the fact that my nomadic upbringing was probably never really cut out for marriage to anyone.) So I stay. I don’t know you (except that you live near me) but I can honestly say that I’m soooo fucking sorry. I don’t know how you’re managing it. That sucks.

  • Creative Liar
    Twitter: creativeliar
    says:

    And….now I’m crying. I don’t have anything to say that’s the least bit helpful except, of course, to recommend a viewing of Honey Boo Boo. Talk about a prescription that ails you! But I really do hope the hurt heals quickly and you can find hope in this new stage of life.

  • Joules says:

    I’m sorry. ((((((hugs))))))

  • Kate says:

    I cannot imagine. I’m so sorry.

  • alexis (You can call me Al)
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    It’s sometimes possible to be more than one place at a time. Even when they’re not with yiu, they are in a way.

  • Marta
    Twitter: marta28
    says:

    Becky you’re breaking my heart. I wish I had any advice to say to you. I wish I could say it will be easier, and I’m sure it will somewhat. But I can’t imagine it will ever be truly easy. But you are strong and your children love you and are always there for you even if not physically every day.

    Hugs.

  • Triplezmom
    Twitter: triplezmom
    says:

    Oh sweetie, so much love for you. You are all going to be better than okay. You will feel at home one day. Hugs.

  • Jolie says:

    I think the Pranksters have shown you, you are not alone. You will wake up one day and feel at home, I just don’t know what day that will be. Hang in there, and take pride in the fact that Mommy’s house has the best days ever! :) ?

  • RT @mommywantsvodka: Divorced With Kids http://t.co/kvbeb7oW

  • Andrea says:

    I’ve been divorced 12 years and my youngest is almost 14. Sharing SUCKS. My ex and I have a great relationship and my new husband and his new wife have a great relationship. It’s the best it can be, but it still is awful. Many hugs to you.

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