Recently when airing my concerns about my children I was told this...that because I am not there all the time or see my children frequently I have no real input into them or what is going on. There were many other sarcastic comments and words that just cut me to the core.
But the truth is, regardless of my faults in my past, my input does matter because I am their mother! Everything that I say and do is because I love them!
So in full disclosure this is why I am being criticized. Maybe airing it out will help me deal with all this negativity around me and find a light through it all and just hopefully something, I don't know, anything because right now that black hole of anxiety, sadness, of this endless yuck is not doing anything for me and is possibly making matters worse.
You see about 3 years ago I asked my then husband for a divorce. I wasn't happy with the marriage and I just could no longer live the way I was living. I loved my then husband but just not in the way that he deserved. He was and is a great father and that was perfect but it just was not there any more for me and him. It was the hardest decision I had to make EVER.
The best thing in my life was and still is my children but the negativity I had in my marriage was impacting the way that I was as a mother. I was angry all the time and very frustrated about everything. I didn't want to be THAT mom that was always in a bad mood. They deserved better than that. They deserved a better me.
I also made the choice to have my children stay with their father because the home we shared I was not able to stay in due to the fact that it was not under my name. I did not want to take them out of the home that they have known for most of their lives. With autism we know that change is very difficult for them. Moving them would require changing their schools, their therapy schedules, their routines would be uprooted. So all these changes on top of divorce would have just set them farther back than they deserved. I thought one drastic change was enough for them to handle at one time.
I ended up living with my brother because I could not afford to live on my own.
But I visited my children every day since my job was right around the corner. I visited them at their home because it was easier and because I wanted stability for them as much as possible. I am not going to deny, on the visitation days, I did not really take them anywhere because I was scared. I did not know how to be alone with them outside of the home. I was stuck in a comfort zone. One that really wasn't supposed to be mine anymore.
Unfortunately I immediately got into a really negative relationship that just, let's say was not the best decision I made. On some visitation days I cut them short because "he" needed me. I even was so brash as to tell my ex about it as well without thought to how it would hurt him.
I got wise to the negativity I was in and ended it all because I was not being the best mom I could be and the whole purpose of this was to be the best mom I could be for my kids.
Then I had to turn in my vehicle because that too was not under my name. The vehicle was a mini-van that allowed me to pick-up my children and spend time with them. Had I made the choice to take them out and not be such a scared pain in the ass. The only vehicle I was able to afford within my budget and means was a Ford Focus. Can't fit 6 kids in that.
At that time the visitation arrangements changed and I could no longer see the children in their home. I could no longer see them every day. Days changed and hours changed. The circumstances are not important as to why because it will just lead to finger pointing and that is the last thing I want right now.
We tried the park a few times but being there for hours was not good. There was no bathroom and there was a canal. The other park with a bathroom was on a busy street and always really crowded.
Visitations became less and less. I had no place to take them.
I would stop by on Tuesdays and Thursdays and bring them dinner and we would play in their drive way for a while.
This later became the visitation spot.
It stopped shortly thereafter.
During this time I changed jobs to a location that was about half an hour away from their home (1 hour with traffic) but yet I still would drive to go take them dinner and try and spend time with them. I also met Mr. Big and moved in with him to a place that was 1 hour a way but still could not take them to visit there because we were helping his parents out and I didn't have the space for 6 kids at the time.
Then a friend offered me to take the children to their home a few houses down from where the kids lived so that I could spend time with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This soon became too much and not an option and had to stop.
I cannot count how many times I had to cancel visitations because I could not pick them up or had a place to take them. Seeing my children was becoming so minimal.
One time it was so hard I rented a van for the day just so that I could take them to dinner. It was crazy but I needed to do it. I missed them.
Finally I was able to purchase a vehicle that I could afford and I could transport the children. Great! At that time I was able to start bringing them to my home so things were working out.
I would take them to the beach. To the park. I even bought an annual pass to the zoo. The twice a week visitations for dinner commenced again. Mr. Big & I moved to another home that was our own, not shared with anyone and that was better. The kids had space to play and relax. Just not big enough for overnights.
But finances got in the way, I couldn't afford to drive the long distances three times a week.
I had to cancel many times. More times than I can remember or count.
This was not good. The kids were suffering because of it. Emotionally, behaviorally, in every which way you could imagine.
My new work schedule changed the timing of the weekday dinners and then they had to stop because it was affecting their behaviors.
This made it easier to have regular weekend day visitations so that was a positive.
I still called them every night before bed. They did not always answer the phone but I still called just in case they decided to answer.
Then it came that Mr. Big was offered a position that he could not pass up.
It was 3 hours away from my children.
I had to make the choice - leave the man I love and find a room to try and rent and possibly not take my children to because I could not afford to live on my own in an apartment. Or leave with the man I love and move 3 hours away to a place where we would have a home but for a temporary basis live with my father until we could find said home. This meant visitations would either cease or be very sporadic because of the location and drive until permanent accommodations were made.
I took the latter because it meant I was able to keep all the people I love in my life. It was going to be a big struggle. A bigger one than I could have imagined.
Since moving here on March 17th, I have only seen my children on 3 occasions.
Once a friend opened her doors for me to spend the day with the children at her home. That was March 29th.
Second was the Mother's Day weekend. I stayed over at my friend's house so that I could spend that Saturday and Sunday with them. You all saw the post. That was the best weekend ever!
And the 3rd time was this past Sunday, June 2nd.
We finally agreed to a temporary arrangement to meet halfway as long as I pick up the children every weekend on alternating Saturdays and Sundays. I bring them to my dad's house and we send a few hours together before we drive back up for them to go home.
I couldn't pass it up. I took it. I want to be with my children. I write about it constantly because its cheaper than therapy.
So yes, I'm admitting it. Since the start of separation to divorce until now I have not always been there, physically.
But I call every day. Even though I was told not to because the kids do not answer. I call the schools and teachers to find out how they are doing. I follow-up with the neurologist to see how they are doing. I have corresponded with behavioral specialists to see how I can help them when they are with me.
I know physical presence is much more important to our children and that is what they see. I could have maybe done more. I don't know really. I was doing the best that I could with what I had.
I am still trying. Its not easy.
I also admit that I have no patience at all. I yell and scream. I am working on it. Its not easy. And with all this stress and the absences from their lives I am even more on edge and feel lost when I am with them. How as a mom can I say that?
But they are my children. When I did live with them I was the one fighting tooth and nail to get them what they deserved. I was the one who was seen in a negative light because I was the bull dog that never gave up and teachers & administrators hated to get phone calls from me because they knew that I would be fighting for what they deserved and no less. I was the mom who was at the hospitals at all hours of the nights when they were sick. I was the mom who would cry every time a child was hurt and I didn't know how to help. I would be the one sitting in on therapies to learn as much as possible. Would stay up late at night cleaning up puke and giving asthma treatments.
But once again, the past is the past and now is now.
Just because I'm not there it does not mean that I'm not that mom anymore. I am - trust me I am. They are my world.
This current situation does not mean that I do not love them and that I am just doing my bare minimum. Not at all! I am not going to stop fighting for them and what is best for them. My life is getting better. It is just taking time. As all things in life do. I wish it was faster.
You would think that after 3 years things would be where they need to be right?
Unfortunately not so.
But they are getting there.
So yes, I understand where the concept of me not being physically there gives me no right to have an input or my voice to be heard can stand as a valid argument. I know that all this stems from decisions I have made and they were not always the best ones. But, it still does not change the fact that I am trying and that they are my children and no matter what anybody might think, I have their best interest at heart.
I have said this before and I will say it again.
I am their mother. I was born to be THEIR mother. And whatever I have to do to be a part of their lives I will do. No matter how hard it is or how long it takes. I will do it.