Alone. Better off alone. I thought I’m really going to just be alone and that was ok because I couldn’t live with a man, I hated the way I felt with men. I either gave them too much of myself or didn’t really care at all. I hurt them anytime I felt my individuality threatened but also when they pulled too far away. There was no happy medium. It wasn’t love and it wasn’t good for me or them.
I went out with a couple of my ex boyfriends, mostly just ended up at their place “coping” and then back home to be alone. I was pretty content for the most part, I was working and liking my job and my kids were very busy with their lives. Most of my close friends had very young children or had moved on with their lives without me. I decided I would start doing volunteer work in my free time so I spent my time doing that, occasionally going out with my friends and hanging out with my dog. I was ok with that and did not want to be in a relationship.
My ex husband was happier that I didn’t have another man in my life or the kids lives but it still wasn’t a good situation and my kids definitely used it to their advantage. I was still very afraid they would be taken from me in one way or another. I cried a lot and screamed a lot. I was emotionally unstable and the kids suffered. I wasn’t the strong and healthy mom that kids need. My kids grew up very fast, they learned to take care of themselves and each other early on.
My oldest son, A, was the man of the house at 11 years old, he took care of the yard, fixed anything that was broken, cooked meals, did laundry and kept up with his brothers, D & E. A could do anything, fix anything, etc. and he never complained except for maybe cutting grass once in a while. D was definitely middle child, he was quiet and just liked to do his own thing. When he did speak he was funny and he was also very lovable, he was very close to me and it took him a while to pull away. He wasn’t much for doing the man stuff around the house but he did step up when someone hurt me. He was my protector, he hated to see me cry. E was a different kid from the moment he was born, very smart and very excitable. He was very young when his life was turned upside down by the divorce and the ugliness that followed. He was very independent and hated to be told what to do. He got in trouble quite a bit in school, he rarely did homework unless it interested him but he could ace any test you put in front of him. He was a very good looking kid and had tons of friends so he didn’t much care about school or about being at home.
I worked a lot and traveled for work so wasn’t home much. I was climbing the ladder at my company and was focused on that recognition. My mind rarely went to what that was doing to my kids, I gave them a lot of freedom at an early age. I made sure they were well dressed and had most of the things they wanted. When they were sick I shipped them off to my parents house and went to work. When they needed something and I was working…I called my parents. I didn’t spend much quality time with them, I thought if I gave them material things that it was enough and they would know that I loved them. I kept thinking that I was doing all of this for them. I was making sure they had medical care and the necessities, never thinking they might just need their mom. We all missed out on a lot of time and memories. I really regret that. I wish I would have been a better mother and gave them more of myself.
I was just trying so hard to stay busy so I wouldn’t think about my past that I never thought about the damage I was doing to my kids. I always blamed their dad and didn’t think I was wrong but it was wrong to put so much of my hate on their plates. I should have protected them from my ugliness. I never realized how much I leaned on them when it should have been the other way around. My kids did not have the carefree childhood that I had hoped for them and it’s my fault.
I started getting sick a lot, my depression was manifesting physically. I was fatigued, gaining weight and started having issues with my female parts. I would get terrible migraines that lasted for days. I had pain for no apparent reason in every part of my body and felt that I had zero energy. Sometimes it felt like I was having a heart attack and couldn’t breathe. I would get dizzy and have to lie down quite a bit. One morning my kids were moving exceptionally slow and I had to get to work early and I was screaming at them to hurry. I felt my insides start to speed up and my heart was racing. I started feeling dizzy and hot all over right before I passed out cold. I woke up to an EMT poking my chest hard with his fingers then again in the ER, shirt wide open and wires hooked to my chest. I spent the day in the hospital while my kids thought they had killed me. Turns out I had an anxiety attack. A different type than I was used to, I always had what I called “episodes” and others called temper tantrums.
I didn’t know why this happened and just moved on like it hadn’t. I went back to work the next day and back to the routine of work, work, work, scream, cry, scream. Normal.
I was an absent mother, not only physically but mentally. My kids had stuff but they didn’t go places, we didn’t do things, we didn’t have great holidays…we didn’t make memories.