For those of you who don’t know, I have joint custody of my oldest daughter, Josie. She lives in Maryland with her father, step mother, and new little brother. I live in Rhode Island with my husband and three other daughters. Please read the entire story here. We have just returned home after spending eight days with her, and it has been quite an emotional roller coaster for me. Our visit was wonderful yet bittersweet. The time we were able to share with Josie went by entirely too fast, as it always does. I am still recovering from having to say goodbye.
My heart is hurting. There is no other way to put it. Saying goodbye to Josie after the summer and after each holiday is always hard. However, saying goodbye after our 8 days together was even harder. We had an amazing time, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the word, but this visit for me was one of the most difficult we have ever shared. I have this sinking feeling that from here on out my visits with her are going to get more difficult for me. I say for “me” because Josie is well adjusted. She is happy, she does great in school, and she has many friends. As she gets older, she seems more and more unphased by our custody arrangement. Joint-custody is all that she has ever known. I have had so many doubts about our situation over the years. So many times I have questioned my decisions, and so many nights I have cried myself to sleep. I feel beyond blessed to be able to say that even though her living situation has not been normal, Josie IS a normal child, and she is happy. I am happy that she is happy, but my heart is still breaking.
My daughter is growing up. She is no longer the four year old little girl that she was when we first had to move. I can not believe she is ten years old. I feel like all I did was blink and six years went by. For those 8 days that we were in Maryland, I was able to be active in a NEW part of Josie’s life, a part that I usually don’t get to experience because I only have her summers and holidays. Our visit was a brutal reminder of all the moments I have missed out on. The little things are the things that hurt the most. Things other parents probably take for granted. Taking her to and from school everyday. Getting up with her in the mornings. Brushing and braiding her hair. Making sure she is completely ready for her school day. Helping her with her homework everyday after school. (except math, “common core” and I are not friends) I was able to meet her friends from school, and let me say, I am so happy with the kind of ladies she has chosen to surround herself with.
On Friday, she was in the talent show. She preformed a dance with two of her friends. I was able to take her shopping to pick out her dance outfit, and I got the pleasure of doing her hair and getting her ready for the show. You have no idea how much all of this meant to me. Not only being there to support her, but also taking part in preparing her for it. I was an emotional wreck sitting in the audience, but I never let it show. Honestly, I was a wreck before we even left the house. I was so nervous, the talent show was the first school event that I have ever gotten to attend. It was the very first time many parents and teachers got to see “Josies’ mom.” I was so worried of what they would think, and I was scared they would judge me. I spent all day trying to find the perfect thing to wear. Looking back now, getting as worked up as I did seems a little silly. I just wanted to be the best me I could be that night, for her. Does any of this make sense? Please believe me when I say, I was the proudest parent in th crowd that evening. My eyes filled with tears many times, but I did not let them fall. I never wanted that moment to end. I wish I could have stayed there in that moment a little longer, and I wish our week with Josie had gone by a little bit slower. Do you know how much it hurts to have a taste of this wonderful part of her life, then have to walk away? For one week I was finally the mother to her that I have been longing to be. I feel empty now, but I am trying to stay strong because I have to. I don’t have a choice.