Here I am again

I feel like I am starting over. Again. The past eighteen months have held so much change. Something I am not particularly adept at navigating. Some of the changes have been terrifying-because vulnerability-but absolutely worth it. And quite delightful once I pushed past the discomfort of leaving my shell. Other changes, such as the one I am wrestling with, are down right frustrating. Mostly because I have done this once. I have processed this and gotten to a good place. Yet, here I am, back again.

When my marriage ended, it was hard. Obviously. A lot of plans and projections ended that day. I was left with love for a person that had been lying to me, consistently. For a while. It hurt. I was scared and left reeling. But the end of my marriage wasn’t the hardest part. It was losing time with my son. Not being able to respond to simple questions with concrete answers any longer. For instance, has my son had a corndog before? I’m not sure. He hasn’t with me, but I am unsure of what he’s eaten with his father. It is surreal and still leaves me feeling shame when I don’t have comment without explanation.

It took years to adjust to the bi-weekly transition of my kiddo not in my home for the weekend. Years of tears. Longing. Guilt. Over time, one weekend at a time, I adjusted. I reminded myself how important time with both of his parents is. This is best for Moose. That it allowed me freedom to do childless activities. Curse with reckless abandon. Date. Sleep. Recuperate to trudge into the trenches of motherhood refreshed. Eventually, I believed the things I recited.

Then March of 2020 arrived in our lives. A brief text exchange discussing how I need to pick the kiddo up from daycare due to changes in regulations somehow translated to a complete forfeiting of visitation. For ten weeks. Ten weeks of no communication as to plans. No idea how long the streak would last. No indication what I should tell our child.

As state restrictions eased, I pressed my ex on resuming visitation. What would it look like? Again, no discussions were had. Well, none involving me. There were closed door conferences held between him and his fiancé. I was then informed of what the new schedule would be. A truncated visitation, but visitation none-the-less. This arrangement lasted another ten weeks. Upon the conclusion of this, an overnight was added to the bi-weekly stop-over. Again, no additional information was supplied, such as duration of the new agreement. However, I didn’t probe much.

If you are a parent you know that transitions are hard on kiddos. Especially when traveling between homes. For ten weeks, Moose was experiencing two transitions in one day. I was the parent holding our child through the fallout of the emotional stress. The tired, erratic outbursts of a preschooler. When the decision of an overnight was made, I didn’t question much because I knew in my core that it was best for the kiddo.

As school approaches, visitation is being altered again. With no discernable rationale, full visitation is being resumed starting this week. Eighteen months later. I am battling resentment. The feeling that my time is being taken. Appropriated.

It is not.

This isn’t mine. I have been on borrowed time these months. They are documented in the divorce decree. Logically, I know this is right. It is best. It is proper. Emotionally, I am grieving again. Feeling the loss of bedtimes. Morning snuggles. Stolen giggles.

I am frustrated with myself for not going quietly into the night, so to speak. I tell myself I shouldn’t have these feelings. This is the resumption of agreed upon schedules. Yet, I have been unable to will them away.

I will reacclimate to the schedule. It will most likely be faster then in years past. The muscle memory will return. I mostly say this to remind myself. Because right now, I am embittered. Wistful. And so very irritated to be back at (what feels like) square one.

The infamous “they” say that divorce gets easier. And in a lot of ways, “they” are right. The wounds scab over and heal. The pink scars left behind fade. Disillusionment sets in. Love dies. You’re sense of self grows. Happiness intensifies. Contentment takes on a new meaning. In my case, self-confidence appears. But I hoped the resentment would diminish, too. The feelings toward my ex-husband that I am ashamed of would vanish. Hard days (in regards to co-parenting) would decrease until they faded to oblivion.

In a fit of utter irritation this morning, while venting to one of the trusted souls in my inner circle, I admitted that I wish I could unencumber myself of integrity. That I could keep information to myself. Not do the right thing. But I couldn’t live with myself. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how incensed or scornful I get, I must have peace with who I am. Long past the fleeting temptation to be a dick. I cannot justify reducing myself to align with the communication standards I am given. As much as it sounds delightful in my head for a single, vindictive moment.

I think, at the beginning of this new family dynamic, I hoped for an unattainable situation. One that never had discomfort. Devoid of negative feelings. Quite frankly, as much as I can point fingers at the legitimate situations that cause frustration, there is still a wild card. Me. I am not sure that a situation exists within myself that I can say without a doubt that I would be satisfied. Basically, my ex-husband can’t win in regards to my emotions. I hate to admit that. I want to be level headed and fair. To be above petty emotional responses- even if only had in private. The loss of control began with the dissolution of my marriage. And continues with visitation adjustments. Child support disputes. A million nuanced, small events that need not be enumerated. It all leaves me clinging to a fantasy of balance that would suit me. Visitation on my terms. To be there when I need and evaporate when I don’t. It is absurd and unfair.

There is the hope that this introspection and realization of my own (less desirable) emotions will breed something...positive. Growth. The elimination of said negative mental hoops. Then again- emotions are just that. Feelings. Intangible. Transient. Unbound by logic. We cannot banish them to the abyss. Unfortunately. Maybe what matters isn’t that I have the shitty thoughts. The unfairness within my mental capacity. But the fact that I don’t act upon it. Even when I really, really want to. Maybe that’s the growth. The break in the cycle.

Until then, consoling myself with venting, a thoughtful support system, and eating my weight in cookie dough will always help. Never underestimate the power of cookie dough. The heart warming moments of encouragement from a sidekick that wants to share his Minecraft world with me. Tells me he will miss me almost every night at bedtime. Then there are the giggles from the tiny human. Those will always restore the soul.

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