The Waves

My fight comes and goes. I claw and spit and yell and shake my fists at the injustice of it all until I completely run out of steam and crawl back into my hole for a few months. I back down when I realize that, yes, it’s bigger than me. The whole Family Law System is bigger than me. I back down when I realize that I need my energy to work my day job with children with Autism. And I need my energy to finish my BCBA classes to be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Oh and I need to back down and feel awake and energized when I meet with my supervisor as I’m finishing up my LPC-I in order to be a Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialization in Trauma. And then I need to back down to wash my hair and my car, and I need to go to doctor appointments and take care of my dogs. I need to be a girlfriend, because I need to love and be loved. I really need to back down for that.

Bodies and psyches have a way of allowing for these waves of productivity and joy. And then then holding us in its wake.

It took a long time for me to decide that my life would not end because of my Parental Alienation story. I remember a call I made to my mom from Boston, just before I decided that moving back home to the South was my only option. It was about 5 am and she answered, I could barely speak. I was just lying there looking out of my window and I said, “Mom, no one should have to hurt like this and still be alive to feel it.” I think she thought I was going to kill myself. But I wasn’t. I just couldn’t understand how any God would allow for so much pain and so many intact nerve endings all at the same time. I literally felt like my heart could just break in two if I moved. I knew what I had to do, I had to come home. And I knew the risk. Never seeing my kids again, or in the same capacity. I risked pre-schoolers who would not understand, grade schoolers who would ignore me, and teenagers who would never answer my calls. I risked my grown children saying “we have nothing to say to you.”  I risked missing it all – their whole lives. But if I stayed I risked my own self falling deeper into depression, alcohol, joblessness, and abuse and harassment by my ex and her friends. I risked dragging innocent kids into a legal battle that was escalating beyond even a wealthy person’s budget that in the end would harm them more than help them. I risked, by being there, a situation that wasn’t sustainable even for typical, healthy kids. I had to leave to give them a chance. It made sense.

I ride the waves of grief, of fear, and resentment. I ride the waves of putting it all behind me and hoping for a time and place. I mostly ride the waves of day to day obligations: meetings, commutes, clients who need me, more commuting, watching my weight, taking my blood pressure, relaxing with my partner of two years and our four dogs. I have ridden the wave of forgiveness.

I don’t believe anyone can fight without taking breaks. Unless they have no other obligations in life. But I do. I have obligations and then one day I wake up to yet another of my children’s birthdays gone by and I can’t call to say, “Happy Birthday 8 Year Old Girl!” That’s when I get the fight back.

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