Joint custody of children after a divorce can mean long periods when the children are with the other parent. But the child needs the other parent too.
The author reflects a mother’s anguish and her inner dialogues, after she lets go off her kids with their father when his turn of ‘custody‘ arises. For her, every time her children go, she feels the same amount of pain as if they had gone for the very first time.
Separation can be stressful for the father too, who might have been staying away from his children. But nevertheless, an invisible umbilical cord, still seem to tie the children more to their mother, wherever they go, and the pain she feels on their separation is huge and unparalleled.
“You went along with your father to his home. There is nothing wrong with it. In fact that’s the way it should be. I repeated these words in my mind an umpteen times to make myself come to terms with it. I do understand that you need to know, feel and enjoy both the worlds and I do not have the right to deprive you of any of your relations or family ties.
But still, after all these realizations when at last you go, I feel like I lost a chunk of my heart. In its every single beat that keeps me alive, I feel the mounting pain also, that makes me realize the hollowness of my life without you. Even though you are the biggest part of my life, I have to let you go, since I know you belong to him as much as I do!
Then when you are all set to go, with excitement gleaming your eyes and smile lighting up your lips, seeing your father after a long time, you wave your hands at me and poke your head out of your dad’s car’s window to call out to say bye. Let me tell you, as much as you seem happy, I will be drowned in sadness.
With a heavy heart I follow the car with my eyes till it goes out of my sight, expecting each and every second, that you will turn back and wave at me once more, longing to see the love in your eyes once again. And when you do that, I feel a smile spread across my lips that reassures me, that you love me as much as I love you!
After you go, I enter the house and I would already start feeling the suffocation without you. And I realize you were the air that I breathed all along. I sit on the chair, hoping to get my mind off, by turning on the TV. But I only remember sitting there idle, switching the channels, and I no longer feel any interest in watching it, not even my favorite soaps.
I just feel a stabbing pain then, as I realize how I used to get upset at the way you kept the TV turned on to cartoon network all throughout the day in blasting voice and how you both used to fight over each other to watch your favorite shows. Now its all mine from morning to night, but all I wanted was to hand over the remote for you to watch it as long as you want!
Tell you what, whenever I go and grab a plate to have my breakfast or lunch, I automatically call your names and start to whine at your fussy eating style. And few moments later, it strikes me that you are not around and it makes me lose all my appetite. I used to speak at length for you to be independent in your eating habits, and all I know now, is that just as much as you wished to be fed by me, I too wished even more to feed you at least a handful from me.
When I return from office, you run towards me, and you either spread your hands or grab my bag and run to search for your favorite candies, And I get hold of you and give you your share, after reminding you not to ask more than one a day. Now I come empty handed, and I realize, as much as you loved your candies, I loved to see the happiness in your eyes as I gave it to you.
After office, I used to love sipping hot tea and sitting idle for some time, and all through the time, you play around as if there is no tomorrow, laughing, fighting and screaming at top of your voice with your friends. And sometimes I need to show your way inside the house threatening you with a stick. But the silence all over the house now is unbearable, and as if to break it I put in my ear plugs and hear some music in blasting sound, sometimes hearing the same music over and over again.
And there are days I sit through like that for more than four to five hours at a stretch, and I realize the hectic schedule I used to have, making you study, bath, eat and put you to bed, was worth more than anything in this world and I craved for it as much as the loneliness is eating me now!
And most of all do you know when I miss you both the most? At night when I lay down to sleep. I always used to shout at you for pushing me over and out of the bed. I have even fallen on the ground couple of times – now I have enough and more space to roll on in my plush bed, but without your hands hugging me tightly, I really can’t fall asleep and I lie wide awake even past midnight and I usually fall asleep only early mornings that too out of sheer fatigue.
I recollect how you used to fall asleep on top of me and sometimes you clutch your hands across my neck that I would not even be able budge until you sleep, At those times I used to feel irritated by the sweat and heat, and wished for you to sleep faster so that I can lay you down on the bed. But now just as much as I felt it irritating then, I wish to feel the warmth of your body close so that I can grab some sleep at last!
I know you are enjoying with your father right now and I might have come to your thoughts occasionally. And let me tell you, as much as you enjoy there, I miss you a thousand times more. As much as I have scolded you, I love you a thousand times more, and as much as I have punished you for your little pranks, I just wanted to see you grow up as good children!
At times I know you too cry to be with me, but it is not that I am a cruel heart to let you go. But that is how it should be and sometimes can only be; for you are his as much as mine and at those times when you miss me, you too repeat these words just like me!
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