I've seen my friend's daughter. My daughter and my friend's daughter played together when they were little. From the time they were babies. Less as they were in elementary school and made their own friendships, little cliques. And then it stopped completely when I separated from my husband.
My friend's daughter is beautiful. A lovely teenager. Blonde, blue-eyed, all American-type beautiful. She looks very California, effortless, carefree. I've only seen her in person once or twice since my divorce. It is hard for me since I haven't seen my daughter in all that time. I have no idea what my daughter looks like. When I saw my friend's daughter I stared and stared at her. Such a transformation. She squirmed and blushed as I practically gobbled her up with my eyes, my mouth open...wanting to absorb the changes that had probably occurred with my daughter. I apologized for staring at her, and this seemed to make her more uncomfortable. My friend made comments about how her daughter was the typical teenager, you know, self-conscious and self-absorbed. No, I didn't know. Just concerned with herself, her friends, wanting to go out all the time, you know. But no, I didn't. I don't know.
I used to read my daughter poems before bed. She asked for Shel Silverstein, Where The Sidewalk Ends. I'd sit in the wicker chair as she laid in the bottom bunk of her bed. I sat at a distance from her, and I think now, why didn't I sit closer to her? Why didn't I read longer? Why didn't I just stick to my kids like glue?
I set up an FB account a while ago. I set it up with a name close to my middle son's name, and added an initial. My rationale was he couldn't block himself. Because he'd blocked me.
I was thinking, my kids are adrift without their mother. I was thinking, they are grief stricken. And I was responsible for their well-being. It was my job to rescue them, to keep them safe, to raise them up and prepare them for this world. Apparently, I wasn't up to the job. And I was not taking into account their father and his capabilities. I was seeing myself and my children in a cove, cliffs surrounding us, sheltered from the elements, with the sea beyond. I was the mother bird going to get food and regurgitating it for her young so that it was palatable to them. And they were bald little birds, with squawking beaks open, hungry and waiting for their meal.
I fear my daughter has a hole where a mother would go. Because I have a hole where children should go. I have anxiety always because I am not there for them.
Their father effectively abducted our children without ever leaving the state, let alone the city. He scarcely moved at all. A few blocks from our former home. He accomplished this so cleverly it was fairly within the legal system, and with the help of an attorney. They were abducted before they ever left home. If there had been pictures on a milk carton, "Have you seen me?", I would not have known them. They were not the same children. They were brainwashed to believe their mother wanted to do them harm. He made them think I wanted to kidnap them. On the two occasions I saw my youngest and my middle child, in the first six months after they moved in with their dad, they ran from me.
I felt a bit of uneasiness in my gut creating a facebook account in my son's name, just changing one character. I rationalized it by saying, he is the only way to get through to my other two children. And, he blocked me but he wouldn't think to block a name like his. Any variation of my name I was sure was blocked. My other two children had little information on google search at all. There was a blurb about my daughter from ten years ago when she played soccer. I didn't know how to try to find them. My ex had cut off all means of communication with them. I figured my middle son was the only way of trying to get through to them. To any of them.
Their grandma, my ex mother in law, is the one address I have for my kids. I send things there, letters, gifts, and hope it reaches them. I have no way of knowing. It has been this way for over four years. Except in the very beginning. I sent Keegan a letter and he wrote on the outside in his asymmetrical, awkward childish writing 'return to sender'. I sent it back again even though it had come back to me.