Thursday, December 23, 2010

It is Christmas

It is Christmas time. Children are everywhere. I look at couples with children. Families. It seems like a group or club, I no longer belong to. That I never belonged to. A lie I made up.

It is as though I invented a life full of detail, in which I gave birth to three beautiful children. A grand hallucination, and all a lie.

I grieve daily, over and over, many deaths. The death of my role as a mother. The deaths of my children from my life.

At Christmas time, I remember decorating the tree with ornaments they made at school. Usually the ornament had a photo of their little face at the center. We baked cookies and frosted them, wrapped gifts.

I remember snuggling them, my nose in their hair. Each of them smelled different. My oldest had a sweet, soft smell, my middle was pungent, my youngest a combination of the two. Their smells were the same from the time they were babies till I saw them last.

It would be easier, it seems, if it were a beautiful and sad lie. A life I concocted for myself that never truly existed. A story of a family with three very real-seeming children, dogs and cats, rabbits and lizards and birds, mismathced socks,video games blaring through the house, kids yelling, "Mom, mom, mom, mooooommmm!!" A story I read. That I imagined to be true. Christmases of Barbie, and Power Rangers, Star Wars and candy, baking cookies and going to grandma's, wrapping gifts and hiding them under the bed. Putting my kids in flannel pajamas for Christmas Eve that were much too warm for Southern California.

I cannot talk about my kids without feeling I am lying. When I tell stories of things that have happened, I feel I have no right to the stories. I feel the stories belong to my children now. That I am not suppossed to have even the memories.

So Christmas time is here. And I have plenty of memories that I feel are not mine to have. And plenty of stories that I feel are not mine to tell.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Used To Be A Mom

The holidays are starting again--and during the holidays I am acutely aware of my children's absence. I am aware all the time. So I guess that is a gross misunderstatement.

Now it has been nearly three and a half years without them. During this time I have been trying to survive.

I don't go around telling people I don't have my kids. I do find myself saying, "When I used to have kids-". This is a blunder I quickly try to cover up, that I hope others don't notice. I feel my face redden, and inside I feel a hole opening. Sometimes I see the other person's expression change to one of bafflement and judgement. The judgement part could be me, judging myself.

People always ask, "Do you have kids?" I want to tell them the truth. I want to say, "I used to." What I say is, "Yes." They ask, "How many?" I say, "Three. Two boys and a girl." They ask, "How old?"

I have to stop and think about it. How old are they now? I hope people don't notice this pause. Especially when your children are younger you can rattle off their ages to the day, practically.

To me, my children haven't aged at all. They are still the ages they were when I saw them last. I have not seen them in person since that time, three and a half years ago. This was the last time they went, each, individually, for a 'visit' with their father.

Keegan was short and stocky still, fourteen, he left with his backpack and his skateboard. Tanith, too, left with a backpack. When Keegan left he was mad at me, in a fit, and he called his dad to come get him. Tanith, same thing. I don't believe they made up their minds to leave. Levi, on the other hand, had. He decided when I told him I had a boyfriend. I think the next day he told me, "Mom, on the last day of school, I am going to live with dad." He said this very calmly.

School was over in about two weeks, out for the summer. I didn't believe him, I thought maybe he was angry and saying something he didn't mean. Without emotion of course, because he never really expressed emotion. He has Asperger's syndrome. And he did say things he didn't mean, or that were majorly skewed in some way, very black and white. But when the last day of school came, and by then I had mostly forgotten about his pledge to move in with his dad, Levi calmly packed up two back packs, (as far as I could tell just with video games,) and his dad came to pick him up. My mother-in-law came back in the house with Levi just a few minutes after he'd gone out the door, to hurriedly gather some clothes. (My ex was living at his mother's.) She scarcely looked at me and did not smile. It was awkward, scary, uncomfortable. I did not think Levi would really leave. He seemed composed and deliberate. Levi and his grandma went out the door, their arms ladden with his things, and got in the suburban with his dad. That was June 21, 2007. I haven't seen my son since.

I feel like I'm lying when people ask me if I have children and I say,"Yes."

I want to tell the truth. I want to say, "No. I used to have children." Or, "I was a mom. But I lost my job." Something like that. And when they ask me how old my kids are and I tell them, I feel like I should say, "At least I think that's how old they are. I haven't seen them in over three years, so I don't really know."
And then they ask me what grade they are in, and again, I feel like I need a giant disclaimer: "All characters and names in this story are fictious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Dear Children,
It is almost Halloween. At the holidays I become sadder than usual. I remember decorating with you at the holidays, and r of course, at Halloween. Tanith, you really liked to decorate with me, but you boys liked it too. Less as you got older. And Tanith, you were only just eleven when I last saw you.

We would hang plastic ghosts in the trees in our front yard, and wrap orange lights around the picket fence. We had skeletons to hang on the porch, and black cats. The last Halloween I had with you kids, you boys were thirteen and fifteen. Tanith, you went out trick or treating with your girlfriends and one or two of their mothers. I remember you wore pink and I helped you put on eyeliner and eye makeup. I think you were dressed as one of the Bratz dolls. I haven't heard of them lately. Bratz. But then, why would I? I work primarily with boys.

I think of you all the time. I wonder if I am feeling sorry for myself. I think that maybe working with kids is a bad thing, that it makes me think of you more. I go over and over in my head what happened and what I could have done to change it. I think of how little I valued the time I had with you, how I was always tired, how I wish I had played with you more, listened, paid attention. How true it is when they say to enjoy your children because they grow up so fast.

Now Levi, you are grown up. You are nineteen. A man. I worry about you. I worry because you have autism, and I worry about how, and if you are functioning in the world. And Keegan, you are a young man playing guitar in a rock band. I worry about you having girlfriends, how you are doing in school, if you're using drugs or alcohol, how you are coping emotionally. And Tanith, my baby girl. You are becoming a young woman now. I worry about you going through your young womanhood with no mother to guide you. I know you have a step-mother, but she is scarcely older than you.

Oh, my children. You are still my babies. How does one let go? What can I do? I think, well, what does one do in situations like these? Should I try to help others so I don't think of my own pain? But, what would I tell someone in a situation like mine? I have no help to give you?

It is almost Halloween. Every year during grade school you kids had Halloween parades at school. For many years Keegan and Levi, you dressed as Power Rangers. Tanith, the last year I saw you, for Halloween you did dress as a Bratz doll, I remember now. Pink velour and the shoes you had with heels. Every year I made chili on Halloween and we'd carve pumpkins that day.

I wish I had known how precious all those moments with you chilren were. Maybe I did know. I just didn't know I wouldn't have moments anymore.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I don't want to feel sad anymore. Sad, sad. Everything still makes me think of my kids. Seeing a lizard. My car. Putting capers in a salad. Going to the beach. Doing laundry. Watching a movie. Sad, empty,lost.

I don't want to feel sad. I've been sad for three years.

In the beginning, I felt ripped apart, literally. A week away from my children was an eternity. Not hearing their voices, not touching their skin, not pressing my face in their hair.

Now, I tell stories of them. Over and over. It is as if they have died and I am keeping them alive with remembrances. I tell stories to new friends. They haven't met my children but they know them through stories.

How Keegan as a five year old called the Tahoe the Toe-ha. How Levi's pet rat Nicky, got pregnant by Keegan's rat named Jason, and then how Levi rushed into my bedroom waking me up at six in the morning calling out, "Mommy, mommy, Nicky's birthing her babies!"

How Keegan's pet rat Jason was named after Keegan's favorite Power Ranger. And then how Jason met an early demise when Tanith at two and a half years old was holding Jason and then suddenly threw him in the air to see if he could fly.

Tanith loved capers and ate them straight from the jar. Levi never had mathcing socks on school mornings so I'd tell him to go find some in the dirty clothes basket. Keegan named my favorite beach "Squirrel Beach" because of all the squirrels in the cliffs along it. Whenever we shopped for shoes Tanith insisted on trying on the high heels. Because of my children, I have seen every Disney movie made from 1993-2007.

In the beginning, I watched alot of movies (no Disney), to try to forget for just a moment. Often, then and now, I imagine I am in jail, or away at war, and that is why I can't see my kids. I remember, there are other people who haved loved ones they miss terribly, that they can't be with.

Sometimes, my memories make me happy. Other times, they are like a punch in the gut leaving me gasping for air.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary

I ran into my ex-husband on the day before what would have been our twentieth wedding anniversary. That is, if I had not divorced him two years ago. It was a wonderful happy un-anniversary gift for me. It reminded me of how happy I am that I am not married to him anymore--and why I divorced him.

And to say I "ran into him" is not quite acurate. More like chased him down. I haven't seen him out anywhere in over two years even though we've lived close to one another and I still frequent the same places I used to. We do live in a pretty well populated area (Orange County--so I suppose the odds aren't too great.)

The other day he drove right in front of my car in a parking lot. I would have t-boned him had I kept driving. He had his window rolled down, elbow cocked on the door, and looked right at me. I didn't think. I turned my car around and followed. He was driving the same suburban we'd had for years and had his young wife with him. I couldn't see if our kids were in the car.

I saw the suburban parked in front of the garden section of Home Depot. I parked and walked into the store. I saw them up the aisle ahead of me, pulling a flatbed cart with bags of soil on it (presumably for their new home.) I walked quietly. I was sure if they saw me they'd make a fast getaway.

I got right up behind them and said his name. His wife looked so young. Smooth white fleshy skin, unlined, no wrinkles. He turned and smiled casually, seemed unsurprised. He said hello like he was greeting a welcome friend. He introduced me to his wife. Next to him, she looked like a child. I wondered how this young woman could be raising four children, and caring for a young man with special needs (our son, Levi, who has autism.) My ex-husband had grown a beard that was mostly gray and his face had become more creased and red. He mentioned he was still at his job of twenty-some years. He spent his days working out in the sun.

I asked him how the kids were and he said they were doing great. He leaned his arm on the handle of the cart and grinned. He asked after my family: my mom, my sister. I said they were well. I said my niece would soon be turning five, and I had just been up to Washington to see them all in April.

I commented that he had quite a few kids now. His chuckle seemed forced and he said, "Yeah, and I didn't want any more kids." He asked me if I was going to have more. I said no, that I was too old. He said, "Too old?" with mock surprise. His wife scowled. I could feel my body shaking. He said he thought our daughter heard from my mother. I said I supposed so.

He straightened up. "You know we haven't heard anything from your dad or sister or your brother." I told him maybe they didn't know how to get in touch with the kids, or maybe since I didn't have contact with the kids, my family thought they wouldn't want contact with them either.

"Well, RaeAnn, they could at least show the kids love and support. My phone number hasn't changed in twenty years!" He didn't in the least appear to see the incongruency in this--that his phone number is not the kids', that perhaps my family would like a relationship with my children but not with him.

I asked him where they were living now. He said, "You know, I've talked to the kids about this and they don't want you to know our address." I said that because we share joint legal custody by law I am supposed to have that information. He said, "Well, my kids make their own decisions and they don't want you to have it."

I said, "They are children and it is not up to them to make that decision."

He had stopped smiling and his mouth became a thin line. He said, "They are teenagers now. They are almost grown-up." He said this as if I was mentally challenged.

"Our daughter is not almost grown-up, she's fourteen," I said. "And initially she still wanted to live with me and you never brought her back home from her visitation with you. And then I couldn't reach her by phone. You didn't comply with court stipulations."

"What court stipulations?" he demanded.

I sighed. "Well bringing Tanith home that time would have been the first thing. Taking the kids to reunification therapy. Showing up in family court for mediation about visitation."

"That's voluntary," he said. "I didn't have to go to mediation. If you doubt that call Kathlene (his attorney) or call your attorney. I took the kids to counseling, RaeAnn. You didn't show."

I already felt as though I was back in our marriage: like a ball hitting a wall. "I was in Washington then, I couldn't come."

"Exactly," he said. "You moved to Washington and abandoned your kids.You didn't show up for counseling. That's not my fault."

"You didn't pay the mortgage on the house like the court told you to, and I thought it was going to be foreclosed on. And you wouldn't agree to sell it. I had to move in with my mom. I had no where else to go."

He shook his head, like a tsk tsk motion. His wife had stayed silent, almost forgotten at the back end of the cart.

I continued, "I called the counselor from Washington to find out what was going on with the kids. And when she told me Levi was having seizures and I called you, you quit taking them to counseling because you didn't want me to know anything about the kids. And then you threatened to sue the counselor. And she had every legal right to share information with me."

"I didn't threaten to sue her, RaeAnn," he said. "I just told her not to share information with you about me."

I sighed heavily and looked at my watch. This was pointless. "People get divorced all the time and they still see their children," I said.

"It's not my fault you made bad decisions, RaeAnn. I did everything I was supposed to do. It's not my fault if the kids don't want to see you. I am not going to force them. I am not going to jeopordize my relationship with them, RaeAnn. I am not going to tell them they have to see you."

As he had been lecturing, it was like a noose tightening around my neck. And that had been what it felt like during our marriage. I couldn't breathe. And I was always in the wrong. "When I moved back to California, in our divorce it was stipulated you were suppossed to take the kids to reunification therapy and you didn't comply."

"I did everything I was supposed to do. You made poor choices, RaeAnn. You let some corrupt realtor buy my house that I worked on for ten years, out from under me. You wouldn't let our kids live in their home. You took my retirement that I worked hard for and now I'll have to work an extra fifteen years to pay it back. I'm sorry you don't like the results of your choices, Rae Ann. It's not my fault.I did everything I was supposed to. You didn't."

I took a deep breath again. "I just miss the kids. It's been three years."

"This is not how I wanted to spend my day off," he said. His wife moved to the front of the cart and stood next to him.

My throat felt constricted and I realized I was close to sobbing. "Well, good luck to you," I choked.

I walked quickly out of Home Depot and got in my car. I expected to start crying but instead I felt relief. I did not have to listen to him anymore. I did not have to.

As for my children, I worry, I miss them, I love them...and I am at a loss for words.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My ex-husband moved with our three children. Where--I don't know. It was conincidence I knew where they were living the past year anyway. I am supposed to know where they are living--according to the courts. We have shared legal custody so I am supposed to know alot of things. So many things the courts decreed that were not imposed, and my ex-husband simply did not do. Such as pay the mortgage payment. Give me my half of the tax return. Go to family law court to decide child custody. Take the kids to reunification therapy. Sell the house. Abide by shared legal custody of the children. Pay spousal support. And on and on.

He is remarried now. He got married ten months after we divorced to a woman more than twenty years his junior. Our oldest son is 19 and a half. My ex-husband's wife just turned twenty-five. My ex-husband is forty-five.

He did not tell me any of this. I saw it on facebook before he changed his account to private. I also saw their child who was born while we were still married. There were pictures of his son, named Skyler, at around two and a half years old. He was the spitting image of my middle son at that age. At first I thought they were pictures of my son Keegan, except they were labeled "Skyler," and the child was in surroundings I didn't recognize. By the ages posted I realized Skyler was conceived and born several years before my ex and I separated. My ex maintains his new wife had Skyler before they got together and that Skyler was "her" child. The resemblance to Keegan is uncanny. As a mother, I would have told you that Skyler was my child.

While we were still in the process of getting a divorce, one by one my children moved in with their father. Initially, he refused to tell me where they lived or give me thier address. I still had an attorney and she managed to get this information from his attorney. But after our divorce was final I was shit out of luck. I was out of money and my ex-husband refused to comply with any of the settlement stipulations--and having no money and no access to money, I have been powerless to change this. By coincidence (or not) I happened to see his wife driving one day--she was driving my ex mother-inlaws mustang that was suppossed to be a first car for my kids.) I followed her and she led me to their house.

Every now and then I'd drive by there hoping for a glance of my children, and comforted that at least I knew where they were.

The other day, after my son Keegan's birthday, I drove by and the house was completely vacant. It loooked like it had been empty awhile. The windows were bare, there was trash in the front yard,the grass was yellow, full of weeds and about a foot high. I instantly panicked--where were my kids? And I don't know. To me, they are lost.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting Awareness Organization - Emotional and mental child abuse

Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting Awareness Organization - Emotional and mental child abuse

Parental Alienation

From PAAO website:

PAAO - Raising Awareness of Parental Alienation and
Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Did You Know That...
Parental Alienation is a form of Child Abuse?

Parental alienation (or Hostile Aggressive Parenting) is a group of behaviors that are damaging to children's mental and emotional well-being, and can interfere with a relationship of a child and either parent. These behaviors most often accompany high conflict marriages, separation or divorce.

These behaviors whether verbal or non-verbal, cause a child to be mentally manipulated or bullied into believing a loving parent is the cause of all their problems, and/or the enemy, to be feared, hated, disrespected and/or avoided.

Parental alienation and hostile aggressive parenting deprive children of their right to be loved by and showing love for both of their parents. The destructive actions by an alienating parent or other third person (like another family member, or even a well meaning mental health care worker) can become abusive to the child - as the alienating behaviors are disturbing, confusing and often frightening, to the child, and can rob the child of their sense of security and safety leading to maladaptive emotional or psychiatric reactions.

Most people do not know about Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting until they experience it. Parental Alienation Awareness is put forth to help raise awareness about the growth in the problem of targeting children and their relationship in healthy and loving parent/child bond.

We need your help to protect the innocent, ...the children.

We need your help to educate and make aware to the public the effects of Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting.

If you've been affected by Parental Alienation or know someone who has, or are a past victim of a parent who exhibited Hostile Aggressive Parenting, please write and tell us your story. We will add your story to our letters page for everyone around the world to publish in their local magazines, newspapers, etc. Please remember to keep your story to the telling of the confusion, loss, love, and heartache. Please refrain from excessive anger and verbally assaulting anyone in your letters.

The aim of the Awareness is to make the general public, judges, police officers, mental health care workers, child protection agencies, lawyers, as well as friends and family of the targeted children or their parents become aware of this growing problem.

With awareness comes education and understanding, and the power to stop the abuse of innocent children caught in the crossfire of people they love.
(copied and pasted from PAAO website)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Keegan

Dear Keegan,
Tomorrow is your birthday. You will be seventeen. And it has been almost three years since I've seen you.

When I was last with you we still lived at our home of nearly twelve years. It was Tanith's birthday the next day. I was getting ready for her party. She was going to have a slumber party with eight girls. Your dad was gone. I had asked him to move out and had already filed for divorce. What a horrible, painful time that was. For you kids I'm sure it was excruciating. I had a panacea already--a boyfriend to ease my pain. I chose to tell you and your brother and sister I had a boyfriend. Looking back, of course, everything I did was all wrong.

Your father has been so bitter toward me. I was so angry at him. I'm sure he was hurt, and so was I. Now that time has gone by I remember more of the good things he did, and his good qualities. How he liked to go on outings as a family, how we went to Oregon every summer driving up in the Suburban and stayed with my sister, your aunt Lisa, and his dad, your grandpa. I remember how he took care of everything with the Suburban, getting it ready, new tires, tune up, getting a VCR player put in so you kids could watch movies on the trip up.

And your dad got the Suburban for me because I said I needed three rows of seats for you and your brother and sister: one row for each of you. Once your sister was old enough to pester you, you fought like wild cats when you were in the car. Your dad agreed that separating each of you would be a good solution for the arguing that went on anytime we went somewhere as a family. One afternoon he came home driving a shiny new Suburban.

You will be seventeen, tomorrow, June seventh. When you were born all the nurses came in to look at you because of your astonishing hair. It was black at the base, red in the middle, and white blond at the tips. Your dad called you "Flame Tipper." The nurses had never seen anything like it. And you had so much hair. You were the biggest of my babies, nine pounds. And happy. My Keegie-love, I called you.

I meant to write about you--because it will be your birthday. You have been so angry at me, too. Not that this is new. You became a hostile child, teenager. And I suppose the fact of you being your father's and my child that should come as no surprise to me. Your father and I were moody rebellious teenagers.

I know you are in a band and play guitar. You are so tall and skinny now. And handsome. You have your dad's gorgeous jaw line. I see videos of you in your band on YouTube. I know too, that you have played with bands I idolized as a teenager. I'm pretty sure you have no idea I know any of these things, and I know you have no idea how proud I am of you. And how in awe.

It will be your birthday. I was blessed to help bring you into the world. You have been a gift to me. Happy Birthday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I work with fourth and fifth graders every day. I enjoy them, get joy from them, and they seem to like me. But they are not my own.

Yesterday one little boy, Jacob, brought his Pokemon card collection to show me. I know about Pokemon. I can appreciate Pokemon.

My children collected the cards for years. Keegan, my middle son, was really into Pokemon cards. He wanted to go to the card shop every day to trade cards and get new ones. He bought the card sleeves and notebook, and arranged his cards according to how valuable they were. He used to have a book explaining each different Pokemon character, their powers, and their special skills. Keegan would ask me to hold the book and quiz him on the characters like he was studying for a test. So I learned Pokemon.

Yesterday, when Jacob got his collection out, it was almost like I was back with Keegan when he was eleven. It might still make me sad even if I was in Keegan's life. All children grow up. And when I was with my kids I would look at their baby pictures and reminisce. I would miss them as babies, but enjoy the age they had become.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

To My Children

I never thought I'd have to write you. I never thought you'd be gone. Not like this.

I've missed each of you more than I knew it was possible to miss anyone. The hardest thing is feeling you are angry with me, that I have wronged you and I am to blame for this. Although a larger part of me feels you have been caught in a horrible (for lack of a beeter word) argument betwween your dad and I. You have been triangulated. I keep trying to make sense of it all.

You have been so angry and hurt by my actions. More than anything though, I feel you have been used by your dad to get back at me. And for that I am sorry. I think over and over what could I have done so this wouldn't have happened. But it did happen. It is happenning. It is.

I miss you all so much. I have wanted to die, literally, from the pain, many many times. But you are what keeps me alive. I couldn't do that to you. Whether I am in your lives or not. I could not add that to what you have had to deal with.

I still hear each of your voices calling, "Mom", "Mamma", "Mom!" They are your voices as they were, not as they are today.

The situation is. Sometimes I briefly wonder, what if I didn't marry your father? But I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. And I am so happy I was priveledged to help bring each of ou into the world. Being your mother gave me more joy and love than I ever imagined was possible.

I have fought and fought to see you, talk to you, try to get back in your lives since each of you moved in with your father. I don't blame you. I am sure you are doing the best you can. In writing this I am not trying to condescend to you or imagine in any way I know what is in your minds.

It has been three years since I have seen you. I keep hoping you will be in my life again, I will be in yours. When I think of you I am devastated, my heart hurts. I have been powerless to protect you from pain, and that is all I have wanted to do as your mother--comfort, protect, love and care for you. When you were small and you cried I could pick you up, and comfort you and stop your cries. Now I cannot.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Quiet Sunday

I am home today. It's Sunday. And quiet.

Sundays used to be loud around my house. Keegan, my middle son, was especialy loud. This used to drive his dad crazy, who was also loud. If it was just me and Levi in the house there would not be a sound.

My daughter Tanith used to hum while she was busy doing something. She hummed while she drew, while she played her video games. Her humming was reassuring to me. It was a conststant low pitch, hmmmmmmmm, like a low motor. Didn't falter, didn't waver. It represented she was doing something constructive, and most significantly--not bothering her brothers. I could hear her in her room,hmmmmm, hmmmm. She might be dressing her stuffed animals, coloring, playing a video game, hmmmm.

Levi also hummed also for a very long time.
It started when he was a toddler. When he was around 18 months old he would line up his matchbox cars along the edge of the coffee table and hum. He hummed while he ate, too. He hummed as he was engaged in this repetitive activity, and it signifed to me as his mother that he was not in trouble, he was not hurting himself, he was engaged in an activity such as rearranging cars, or his Thomas the Tank Engine trains and I could hear this sound of humming from another room and know he was ok. He stopped humming as a teenager. Years of telling him not to hum (especially while eating, had little effect.)

The sound of Levi's humming , and then Tanith's was soothing to me. It was like reassuring white noise. We later found out the Kime side of the family had many other hummers.

When Keegan was born he was a differnt story altogether. He was a happy, cuddly baby. But he was also loud. He roared. We called him "Keegie-saurus" from a young age. He was talking by 14 months and never stopped. The first word he said was "brother." That progressed to "Levi, Levi, Levi!" And he never stopped talking to Levi or about him, trying to get his older brother's attention. As Keegan became a teenager he was always yelling at Levi to shut up, or telling Tanith to go away, or yelling at his video game. He was either boisterously happy or angry. He was not quiet unless he was asleep.

I miss my children's sounds. Even Keegan yelling, "Levi, shut up!" I'm pretty sure Tanith doesn't hum anymore. She was highly self-conscious already, at eleven years old, and very aware of socially acceptable behavior. Especially of my behavior. She'd say things to me like, "Mom, are you going to wear that?!" Or, "Mom, you talk weird." I'm guessing that was the heading into the being embarrassed of your parents stage. So far, I've missed that stage.

Today it is silent. And I miss the sound of my children. I miss everything about my children. I even miss Tanith criticizing my every move. "Mom, why are you doing that?!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Last Time I Saw My Daughter

I work with kids now. I see kids everyday. I work as an Instructional Assistant in Special Education with fourth and fifth graders. I enjoy it. But some days it makes me really sad.

My daughter was in fifth grade--had just graduated actually, and turned eleven, the last time I saw her.

I see little girls every day at work that remind me of my daughter. Skinny, all legs, with thick chestnut hair. Every little girl of around eleven who was skinny and had that auburn chestnut hair used to remind me of my daughter.

I never thought it would be the last time I saw her. She was going for the weekend with her dad, and I had just taken her to LA to a Hillary Duff concert. I bought her all the stuff: Hillary Duff t-shirt, sweat shirt, purse, because I felt so bad for the pain her dad's and my separation was causing her.

She was upset with me when she left. I think I'd asked her to clean her room and she exploded at me and left in a huff when her dad drove up. She left all the Hillary Duff things behind.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Forced into retirement's been almost three years without seeing my kids. Unimaginable. Three years ago it was unimaginable. Three weeks would have seemed like a life time. Christmases, birthdays, have gone by without my children. I have since found out this is called "Parental Alienation Syndrome" and I am the alienated parent. I was a stay-at-home mom. Being a mother to my three children. Until I filed for divorce. And that was the beginning of things to come I could never imagine. Only in nightmares. In paranoid fits, when you can't find your child for a moment in a store and you imagine the worst. That has become my life.