Two years passed with many heartaches. My daughter was believing all of the lies her dad and step-mom were telling her. She rarely called or visited. I was in mourning. I know she wasn’t dead, but her absence was nearly debilitating.
On my son’s fourteenth birthday, my ex came to pick him up for visitation. They were only gone a couple of minutes, when my biggest fear happened. A guy pulled into my driveway and served me with papers. My ex-husband was fighting for custody of my baby boy. I was crushed! From my past experience with daughter, I knew I would not be able to see or talk to him, until our court date if then.
It felt like I couldn’t get air. I didn’t know at the time but it was my first experience with an anxiety attack. An invisible elephant was sitting on my chest making it difficult for me to breathe. Let me tell you…it sucks.
A new battle was upon me. I was a little more prepared this time, not mentally, but I had evidence that I could provide a better home. My son didn’t have any clothes at his dad’s house. They would put him in his stepbrother’s clothes. Some fit him, but some did not. He would come wearing the younger brother’s underwear. How did I know this? One, they were a size or two smaller than my son wears. Two, they had his stepbrother’s initial wrote in Sharpie on the tag. I saved a couple pair of undies and other clothes that had initials that were not my son’s.
Along with the clothing items, I also knew my son didn’t have a bedroom or even a bed. He either had to sleep on the couch, floor, or squeeze in bed with his two stepbrothers. I also had evidence that my ex had kept my daughter from talking to visiting me. With all of the evidence I had, I was hopeful that things would be different this time.
Sadly, I was wrong. I should’ve known, because the family law judge in our county almost always rules for the guy. The judge ruled that it didn’t matter that my son didn’t have his own clothes at his dad’s house. I had to send all of his clothes that I had at my house with him to his dad’s. It didn’t matter at all that he didn’t have a bed. It didn’t matter that my ex-husband had prevented me from having contact my daughter. It didn’t matter that they had told lies on me to my children.
I was losing my baby boy too. I had to pack all of his belongings and send them to his dad’s house that afternoon. My heart felt like it was being ripped from my chest. The thought of not seeing or speaking to either of my children made me nauseous. Add the fact that I had to pack my son’s belongings was like taking a knife to my chest, but I struggled through it.
The sadness and emptiness was unbearable. I would sit on his bed and bawl like a baby. Interaction with my children was almost nonexistent. When we did communicate, I was told what a horrible mother I was and they thought I chose my husband over them. Ending my life was often on my mind. My kids were my world. I only did what I thought was best for them. I wanted to teach them to be kind, respectful, independent, and responsible adults. I felt like a complete failure.
My husband wasn’t helping things either. He hounded me about how bad my kids were and how they were treating me. I don’t know what he wanted me to do. My kids actually listened to me for the most part when they lived there. They knew there would be some punishment if they didn’t. They were good kids. His daughter was the one that refused to listen and had no consequences for her actions. On the rare occasion that my kids called, my husband would run his mouth in the background the whole time. When the call ended, he would bombard me with a hateful attitude and comments. I felt like I was being put in the middle. I desperately wanted to talk and spend time with my children, but every time I did it would turn into a fight with my husband.
I soon learned that I would have to be two different people. With my kids, I continued to try to be a supporting and loving mom. Around my husband, I became the quiet obedient wife. When he started in, I put my head down and only answered when I had to. Other than that, I just sat there quietly. Even when I answered him, it seemed to be the wrong answer. It almost always ended in me being yelled at. I was in a no win situation that looked like it would on forever.