Tomorrow, I get to pick my daughter up from the airport. She will be visiting me for the month of June. I am pretty excited to have her here for an entire month. Since she lives with her father in another state, I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I normally get to see her in the summertime, or at vacation time during the school year. So, not very often, and not for very long. So this is a real treat. Alannah is the oldest of my offspring. Her father is my ex-husband (we all have one of those, right?).
9 times out of 10, when I tell people that I am not the custodial parent of my daughter, I get weird looks. I get people asking me what I have done wrong as a mother to not have custody of her. I get people who ask me how I could just give her up, or those who say ''I love MY children too much to ever give them up.'' You see, you have to be a totally dysfunctional mother to not have custody of your children. You must have been in prison. You must have been a drug addict. You must have not loved your children enough. Maybe you abused them. The truth is much less dramatic. The truth is that my heart has ached every single day since the day that I had to watch her little waving hand from the back seat of a car bound for another state.
My ex-husband and I moved from our home state of North Dakota to Colorado; and when things fell apart with us, we separated there. He had planned on moving back home at that point; and I could not, for reasons that few people would understand. My family lives in North Dakota. His family lives in North Dakota. I felt that if Alannah was living with her father (who also loves her very, very much) There would be family there for her in addition to her father. Family that could take care of her in an emergency. You see, I would have been a completely selfish person if I fought for custody of her at that point, because I had no family living with me in Colorado. If something happened to me there, there would have been nobody to take care of her. The schools in Colorado are not nearly as well-grounded as the ones in North Dakota (which is kind of proven with the Columbine incident). The crime in Colorado is much higher. I could go on and on with my reasons for ''letting go''. What kind of parent would hoard their children from their exes in selfish disdain, without putting the child's best interest in place. I love her so much that I just couldn't do that to her.
I cried myself to sleep, I don't know how many times, missing her. She will never, never know how much of a loss I have had, or how much I think of her, or love her. I have told people that it is almost similar to giving ones child up for adoption. It is so painful. And yet, she is so much better for it. Here she is 15 years old now. In a few years, she will be off to college. She is a smart and beautiful young lady; and I am so very proud of how she has grown.
I am really looking forward to all of the times that we will have together in the future. I have missed so many of her 'firsts' but I refuse to let that crush me in our times ahead.
I found a beautiful quote that defines my sentiments:
To me this means that if you simply take care of the times that you DO have, those will be the times that will mean the most. Those will be the ones that will really matter. I may not know what day it was that her molars broke through her gums, but I have many wonderful experiences to cherish. I keep them in my heart, along with her, since she never really left me after all.