40 weeks. 4 weeks. Forever.
52 weeks. 26 weeks.
7 weeks. 1 week.
My kids are set to arrive back home next week after spending most of the summer with their dad. I am absolutely and entirely ready to have them back, and also am absolutely and entirely grateful they were able to have this time with him. Nothing in my life more than having children has reiterated the fact that time is an illusion and has helped to chip away my deep rooted desire for control. They are 12 and 15 years old now, and one of my greatest joys is observing the way the interact within the world and listening to their perspectives. The individuals they are becoming is a sight to behold.
Both of my pregnancies were shorter than “full term”, as both of these humans needed to be introduced to the world as soon as possible. Not fixating on a specific due date was made easier when my midwife told me that the span of an entire month is a better “due date” to contemplate. Some of my earliest diary entries speak to my desire of being a mom. I thought I had my plan locked down and was making my own dreams come true, with each pregnancy and birth. I realize now I’m simply, and extremely, lucky.
One of the hardest and strangest aspects about divorce is the custody arrangement. We went from being a family unit 24/7 to eventual 50/50 schedules. The plan is set, and everyone involved adjusts. And then, plans change. The weeks “off” and “on” were freeing in a way I hadn’t realized I needed; time in which I only had myself to worry and think about. I also hadn’t realized how effective I was at distracting myself during those “off” weeks rather than take care of myself. I was constantly there during the “on” weeks and my counselor often brought up the idea of balance. That me only existing to be at home when my kids were home wasn’t sending them a healthy message. I understood it in theory but didn’t ever really set it into practice until recently. Now, self care is a requirement for me to be able to be present in any sense, for them.
I didn’t take well to their dad deciding to move across the country. We exchanged angry words and hurt each other in unnecessary ways, rehashing conversations and moments from the past that were long gone but definitely not forgotten. I held onto that anger like a toxic best friend, fiercely and tightly. The heat turned to bitterness because I didn’t address the underlying grief, loss, and sadness. I continued to take my own poison and couldn’t figure out how to let it go. It took a year. It took a truly safe space for the power of those bottled up words to be spoken and released. He and I are finding a new and different connection now, one that I am also entirely grateful for.
The amount of time I have Lily and Vivienne seems expansive on paper. They are with me 45 weeks of every year. Day in and day out, it is a lot to manage. And yet, where did this past year disappear to? Three more years and Lily will fly. Six more years and Vivi will follow. The time, when thought about in that way, is incredibly limited. Every day is a new opportunity to connect, experience the pure joy and happiness that they both naturally radiate, and always be the grounded space for them to land.
They have been in Maine for seven weeks this summer. In the first week, I cried a lot and deeply felt the vastness left behind. I knew the days would fly by, that time would disappear, and it has. This time around, I consciously planned my time, who I spent it with, and what I explored. I’m working to reprogram the thinking patterns that no longer serve me, heal instead of distract, and move forward rather than repeat the same behaviors I’ve been holding onto.
I created much chaos for myself in this past decade. I don’t mean that to take full blame or admit guilt, rather, I’m finally figuring out how to own my responsibility in every situation I was (am) a part of. I turn 40 next month and relish and delight in this beginning of a new decade. I am stronger, more vulnerable, and finally in a space of true recovery. I am grateful for my journey, because without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Four days until two pieces of my heart and soul are within reach. Let the countdown begin, and let every day bring what it may. I’m ready in a way I have never been before.