I’m not sure that my comments to the Cowboy are of any reassurance during weeks like this.
Weeks, where it’s the tail end of the two weeks essentially, without the kids.
I can’t imagine being in his shoes.. or ever putting someone else in the position he’s in. But I’m increasingly becoming aware of how many people are. In his shoes. Parents who essentially are told they should appreciate any time they get to ‘visit’ their children.
And on the flipside, in the position of the other parent in many divorce scenarios. The parent, given primary placement. The one who gets most of the time with and control over the kids. And how that can sometimes look.
It’s been an emotional past couple weeks.
It seems the further out he gets from the divorce and the less he continues to see the kids, with each passing day, month or now year .. the tougher it is for him to feel like he can really be a father to them. The father he wants and hopes to be, anyway. A few hours each week sitting in a restaurant because there’s not enough time now to go home or good weather to go to a park and play .. and four weekend days each month, is hardly enough time to get anyone back into a good groove.
Just when dad and kids seem to be settled in and getting reacquainted.. it’s time to pack for the trip back to their other home.
Fortunately, more states are recognizing, through time, experience, and statistics .. the rules need to change. In not all, but most scenarios. Where two loving, responsible, protective parents both want to be a part of raising their children, and be present in their lives.
Things will change. Someday. As more and more states. And more and more parents, left on the outside looking in at their children’s lives for no apparent good reason other than a judge’s orders, decide that instead of giving up because nothing will change and it only causes more pain to try .. instead, keep trying. Because it does matter. Not just to them, but their kids. That they are not alone. And the more they come together and speak with one voice, someone will hear them.
But will it come soon enough for some families to heal.
I mentioned it has been a tough couple weeks.
I can always tell when we’re a week into his time without the kids .. because there is an unshakeable sadness. No matter what the Cowboy says to me, I know its eating at him. That he hasn’t seen them. That if he wants to talk with them, its dictated to him how that has to happen. Yet the conditions are at times not met on the side giving dictation.
When there is a call, it’s quick. Then usually .. ‘they’re busy and need to go.’
The few hours he had the chance to spend with them this past mid-week .. for many reasons, was emotionally overwhelming and tough. And because of the weather, the circumstances and one of the boys crying for his mother, he took them home in heavy frustration and sadness a half hour early. For a man who would give anything for extra time with his children .. this has all been very trying .. emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Not knowing what else to say .. because really, what can you .. I say, well then, let’s pray.
And, then I add.. “They’re healthy. Let’s just be grateful they are healthy. The rest will fall into place. I don’t know when. But it will.”
He agrees. I’m not sure he wholeheartedly believes me. But for the moment, he agrees.
I wasn’t going to write about this today .. I was going to instead, write about another lesson learned by the Cowboy after spending more time than he’d probably like in the city .. (Because we have some great, entertaining lessons yet to be shared. Like parking tickets.)
But I was reminded again today of why the health of our children, is above everything else, what is most critical. I am actually, reminded of it daily. Through my job, I see families put in situations that would bring any of us to our knees. I have close friends who have lost a child. And, who have children with severe disabilities. I thank God each and every day my own daughter is healthy. There is sincerely not a day that I take that for granted.
I saw this afternoon, a tweet from a dear friend of mine. A friend I don’t talk with as much as I’d like anymore. We’re all busy. But I see it, and I shudder to think based on the content of the tweet, what might be happening.
I message him, ‘Just seeing this. What is going on? Are you all OK?’
He shoots back moments later, ‘We’re OK. This explains:’ and he sends me the following link.
‘Lessons from a young Skywalker:’
Again, I’m not sure any of my comments or anyone’s are helpful to the Cowboy. Reassuring. Or comforting given the struggles he’s facing.
Only he knows. And honestly, only he can figure out how to work through this stage of his family’s young .. challenging life. Through his relationship with himself. God. And his faith in both. Something right now, he’s giving everything he’s got.
A wonderful opportunity presented itself this afternoon ..
The gift of a few extra hours with the kids to kick off the weekend. The Cowboy got a call asking if he wanted to pick them up early. No one is asking why. Mom could have had something else she wanted to do this afternoon and it saved her from postponing or getting a sitter. Or, she could have genuinely wanted to give them all more time together.
No one’s asking why. Just celebrating the moments.
And grateful to their mother, for offering them up.
How seldom or how often any of us can ever have the chance to spend time with our kids, to hold them, hug them and be present with them, is such a gift.
Reassurance they are also healthy ..
I’m praying tonight, my friend Jason and his family continue to get nothing but the best news .. and care for their young Skywalker, in the meantime.