Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why I gave up custody of my kids

Or, the question everyone wants to ask but no one ever does. I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time, I just haven't been able to get it all out.

If you have been following me for any length of time, or if you have read my story, then you know that I went through a pretty ugly divorce. It is one thing if the two of you decide that you can no longer be married to one another, but throw infidelity in there and hurt feelings and fights are multiplied exponentially. And, when you have kids, it only makes things worse. My mom once told me that she wouldn't wish divorce on her worst enemy. I completely understand what she meant.

My ex and I had a lot of fights as our marriage was disintegrating. He wanted to know every excruciating detail about everything and I wanted to shut down and not talk about anything. I do NOT like to talk about my feelings, in case you didn't know. We even tried marriage counseling, but at that point, I think it was too late for me. I had already emotionally shut down towards my ex because all I could think about was Jason. Unfortunately, I may have led him along for a while because I was so scared of pulling the trigger and actually filing for divorce. I was unwilling to let go of Jason, yet I was unwilling to split up my family. Emotionally stable, I'm not.

My ex ended up filing for divorce once he realized that we were never going to recover. After that, we had some decisions to make. He was able to enlist the aid of his parents and hired a lawyer. I didn't have that luxury and therefore, had to do everything on my own. We were able to go through our possessions and easily split everything up. I'll admit that since I felt guilty, I let him have a lot like the TV, computer, car, etc. Now we just had to decide about the kids.
Easter 2009
That should have been the easy part. Four little girls belong with their mom, right? I was employed with a good job, I didn't have a drug or gambling problem or anything else that would consider me an unfit mother. My ex then bluntly told me that he wanted custody of the girls. He said that he had already lost me and he didn't want to lose them too. That was a blow. I thought long and hard about it and finally agreed. I did think about fighting him for custody, because after all, they were my babies, but I didn't want to hurt them any more by dragging them through an ugly custody battle. I knew that he would be moving to Topeka to be closer to his parents so he could enlist their help. They have always been very active in the girls' lives and I knew that would be good for them.
September 2009
What I never anticipated was the heart-wrenching guilt I would feel on a daily basis because I'm not there to help them with schoolwork or get them up in the morning or any number of daily activities that I totally took for granted. I didn't know that I would feel like a bad mother because I'm not there. Nor did I realize the financial burden that child support would be. I do struggle daily with the thought that maybe I made the wrong decision, however I do know that my girls are happy and healthy and well-taken care of. My ex is a great father and I know that he loves them as much as I do. I wish they lived closer so I could drive over and give them snuggles whenever I wanted, but it isn't as if they are completely cut off. We have phone calls and Skype and Facebook and Instagram. Not a great substitute for a hug, but there you go.
Fall 2011
I love my kids more than life itself and I would do just about anything for them. As much as I miss them and miss being a part of their daily lives, that was the decision I made and I have to live with it. I would never want them to think that I didn't want them and I try to tell them I love them as much as I can on the weekends they are with me.
Easter 2012
So there you have the sordid story. Have any questions, just ask. I think I am pretty much an open book and I don't try to sugar coat my life.