Monday, September 9, 2013

Annette shares

Nearly two years ago, a hurting mother wrote and shared her heartache with me. Last week, she sent me a happier update. With her permission, I'm sharing her "then" and "now" letters in hopes of encouraging other hurting parents who are separated from their children....

October 2011 
Thank you so much for posting your honest feelings about your divorce situation and your then teenage son. Reading your story gave me so much hope for the future as currently, my relationship with my 16-year-old son has deteriorated to the point of almost no contact what so ever.

He's missed my birthday two years in a row. The last time I saw him was Mother's day 2011, but only because it's in the decree that he HAS to be with me on that weekend. My heart is broken. I send texts, emails, and call his cell. I rarely get a response.

My new life away from his dad is complicated. Like most people, I've remarried (his father did. too). My husband now is thoughtful man who is funny and great but has never been married or had kids. It's an adjustment for all of us everyday as we all get used being “blended.”

My 16-year-old lives with his father. I have physical custody of our 11-year-old son.  My ex can be cruel and knows my weaknesses very well. He makes no effort to help my 16-year-old keep in touch with me. He doesn't remind him about my birthday and seems to make it a point to schedule big fun “new-family” events, like vacations to exotic places, right around the time of my birthday so both kids forget. Then he’ll play dumb, as if he's forgotten what day my birthday is.

My mom, sister and my husband all think I need to get tougher with my ex and play the same kinds of games he does. But I don't see it that way. I won't use my kids the way he does or deny them mini vacations with their dad just to get back at my ex. Even though it hurts me, I am thinking of the kids. I know at least one of us HAS to be the better person. I know it's not ever going to be him so it better be me. But, of course, being the “better person'” comes with consequences–my feelings get hurt. All the time.

This morning when I got up and saw that my ex had sent what seems like a million texts to my now 11-year-old son (he got him a cell phone for his birthday so my 11- year-old can call him ALL the time and knows that if I complain he can get me for blocking access to his child). I got so sad.

Here I am telling my 11-year-old that he should text or call his dad, thanking him for the birthday wishes and I know that over at the other house, NONE of that ever happens on my behalf. I don't matter and in the best case scenario, they wish I didn't even exist. I miss my son so much.  I am so sad.

My 16-year-old son is a straight A student. He has lots of friends and is now involved heavily in his step-mom’s church (who, by the way, refuses to allow my kids to call her a step mom and makes them call her mom). He has his mother figure. It makes me wonder if I even matter anymore?

But reading your posts on the message board gives me a little glimmer of hope. Maybe in time he will feel close to me again and want to be part of my life. I certainly hope so.

In the meantime, I will hope and pray for better things to come. I will try and be patient, and I will try very hard to keep hope alive in my heart. I will remember your story and hope that one day, my story with Jason will have a happy ending as well.

Thanks so much for posting it!

September 2013 
Just wanted to send you an update about my now 18-year-old son and I.
On Saturday, I sent him a text, letting him know that I was thinking of him and hoped he was doing well. Since I have sent texts like this before, I wasn't expecting a reply. But I was wrong. He called me!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to answer my phone, but he left me the nicest voice mail, updating me on his life and thanking me for attending graduation. It was so lovely to hear from him. He sounded so normal ,and it just brought me to tears. I called him back on Sunday, and we had a nice long conversation. He told me about his life now and what college he would be attending. He told me he got a job at UPS and what crazy hours he'd be working. I told him how proud I was of all that he had accomplished and what a responsible young adult he'd become. Overall, the conversation was just really lovely.

I think he just needed space to heal after the divorce, which is what I gave him. There was no pressure from me to reconcile or reminders of what he owed me as my child. I let that all go. I just sent the occasional text here and there. But basically I asked God to please take over this situation. Then I let go completely. And when I did, good things happened.

It's not all rosy yet, I am sure there will be bumps along the way and trust must be rebuilt on both sides, but it's a start.
Much love, Annette

1 comment:

  1. This gave me hope. And I think I, too, need to let go and let God do His work. I pray.