This one is a painful topic. I lost custody of my kids seventeen months ago.
Having weathered (Sober) the death of a spouse, the infidelity of another, the unplanned arrival (and subsequent adoption) of a late-life baby, and a host of medical problems, I let my guard down when my life finally looked like smooth sailing—and I drank.
Five years previously, I had voluntarily added to my custody agreement that I would relinquish my share of custody if I were to drink again. And then came the day in December of 2015 when I got collared for an excessive DUI. At eight in the morning. After dropping both my kids at their schools. (“Painful” is an entirely inadequate word for those sentences.)
My funny, engaging, wise, sensitive son has not talked to me since. (“Excruciating” is an entirely inadequate word for that sentence.) I still have Faith that there’s healing in our future, though clearly that’s not going to happen (hasn’t happened!) on the timeline I would wish. In God’s time. Meantime, I send him occasional text messages and notes in the mail (and cards for his 15th & 16th birthdays), wanting him to know that haven’t “walked away” from the relationship, or from him.
My daughter stayed silent for a few months, but she and I talk and text regularly now, and I get to see her for an hour or an afternoon here and there.
Of course, this isn’t at all how I envisioned mothering my teens! I’m at least grateful to have an ongoing relationship with Elena Grace, but it can’t properly be called parenting. It’s visiting.
You know what, though? I’m deeply grateful for the time I spend with her—and if this is what my mommying has to look like, I’ll focus on the Blessings.
I was certainly Blessed to be a stay-home mom when these two were small, watching them change every day and being a formative force in the development of their manners and their vocabularies and their interpretations of the world and people around them, and even their senses of humor.
I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I’ve looked at them in wonder and thought, “My God, I’ve made people!!” (Well, okay, God made the people—but he let me grow them.)
They’re still a source of wonder to me (even if stories-of-my-son come second-hand)… Last night I spent an hour listening to my daughter expound on the qualities of her friendships, interactions with teachers, the frustrations of living with a toddler, her decision not to run track… She’s poised, funny, animated, SMART! And she’s my girl.
It’s not parenting how I pictured or planned it… but nothing reverses the fact that I’m still her mom. And his too.