Saturday, May 9, 2015

The loneliest mothers ...

Tomorrow morning, mothers around Australia will awake to the sound of clattering plates and the smell of burnt toast.
There will squishy cuddles and vegemite kisses in bed, and if they are lucky, lunches or picnics out. Hand-made presents to photograph, and gifts chosen with love at the school mother’s day school.
Perhaps a sleep in or afternoon nap, and loads of spoiling all around.
Not for me.
I’ll wake alone to an empty house.
No package of gifts, handmade or otherwise, arrived in yesterday’s post. Not even a handmade card.
Seriously. It was like Christmas had been cancelled.
If I’m lucky, I’ll get to talk to my kids by phone or skype, but I’ll have to make sure it’s during the allotted time frame decided by Family Court solicitors earlier this year. If I miss that timeframe, I'll miss out completely.
It's not fair, but it's legal, and it's happening to women (and men) around Australia every single day.
I’m one of the many casualties of divorce, separation and the Family Court farce, which means my children now live interstate.
It’s a situation which means that although I would have been entitled to see my children for a few hours on Mother’s Day, I cannot afford to drive to the nearest airport, fly interstate, hire a car, and pay for accommodation to visit them.
I really thought I had a visit nailed for last weekend. Ironically, I would have been able to see the children longer then, because that was a long weekend in the state where they live, and I would have been legally entitled to spend more time with the kids. But I just couldn’t pull the dollars together.
It’s tough.
I miss my children desperately, and phone calls and skype just don’t cut it.
As any parent separated from their kids know, the special days are the hardest.
Earlier this year, my Facebook feed was full photos of beaming faces and tiny bodies in impossibly large uniforms, as children around Australia started their first days at school.
I didn’t even get a photo of my kids on the day they started school, let alone the chance to share in their big day.
It’s been the same for their birthdays. There was no baking of birthday cakes, just presents sent in the mail and talked about on the phone.
No blowing out of candles or kissing of the closest boy or girl (or even a video of them doing the same).
I didn't even get a photo of them on their birthdays, even though I begged to be sent a few.
I spent a lonely Easter at home, although I'm lucky, I do have family and friends to lean on and I'm grateful for them. They help me through the tough days, but as anyone who suffers depression knows, sometimes you can feel loneliest in a crowd. And sometimes you miss your kids the most when you are surrounded by other children. So family events can be hard.
For once, I didn’t leave a carrot for the Easter bunny and hide eggs for a hunt the next morning. There was no traditional baking of Hot Cross Buns, and ensuing laughter as they turned out either rock hard or flat. (I’m not known for my domestic goddess skills, but I try …)
And this week, in the lead up to Mother’s Day, reading social media posts about school stall present buying, mother’s day morning teas, and plans for the big day have been pretty much heart-breaking.
I’ll admit to being jealous of my friends. Yes, Jealous! 
Envious of photos of smiling mothers next to happy children at school morning teas. Jealous of chat about the hiding of well-chosen presents, and plans for lunches out and high teas. And bereft knowing that there will be no morning cuddles or toast crumbs in bed for me. Only emptiness, heartbreak and guilt.
Guilt that, perhaps if I’d been a better mother, I’d have been able to keep our family together. Perhaps if I’d not been sick so often, I’d be able to afford to see them this weekend. Perhaps if I’d been stronger, I could have fought longer to get them back. Had I even made the right decision in allowing them to live where they are now, even though I was told it was in their best interests at the time?  Even though I believed it was better for everyone to step off the court merry-go-round; for us to all move forward?
I hate that I no longer get to be with my children during the school term. That I'm missing so many milestones of their lives. Hell, I'm even missing the little things. The loose teeth. The freshly-washed smell after showers and before bed. Helping sort out problems with friends or school. Jokes about stinky feet, bums, and farts. 
The fact that my son is now tall enough and thoughtful enough to help around the house and garden. Changing lightbulbs, mowing the lawn. That my daughter loves tidying the bathroom and bedrooms and making them look lovely. That they both love to help with the shopping and preparation of meals.
I'm missing out on so much and on the eve of Mother's Day that loss seems so much keener.
Until recently, it had always been the kids, the pets, and I. A team, a small family unit.  But we made it work, I thought.
Every special day, every milestone, brings back memories of happier times, and previous events.  Every day without them is like a kick in the stomach. Every day is lived feeling like a part of my heart is missing.
Even so, I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
I’m lucky to have my kids in my life,  however that time is allocated.
There are mothers who have lost their children, and will never get to hug them again. Ever. I can’t imagine how parents get through days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and all the special occasions.
There are those whose children are ill or injured, and who would give anything for their Mother’s Day gift to be a doctor to say: ‘They’re going to be okay.’
There are women who are sick themselves, who would give the world to be told they have been cured.
And there are children - young and old - who will be missing their own mums tomorrow. 
There are women too, who want desperately to have children. And who are trying, via every means, even if they are expensive and invasive methods. And who have suffered many losses whilst trying. And I know that Mother's Day is a day that breaks their hearts. 
I am so aware of all that.
Despite my own grief, I’m blessed to have shared so much time with my kids, and to have a special bond with them.
So although tomorrow is going to suck Big Time for me, there are always going to be special occasions, and in any case, I miss my kids every day. Not just on Mother’s Day.
So, just like on every other day, I just have to get on with it.
I have to make the best of every day, pull on my Big Girl Panties, and make my kids proud of me.
So I’m focusing on the next time I’ll see them, which will be during the June-July holidays.
We will have a lot to celebrate then.
After all, when you’re a parent, every day can be Mother’s (or Father's) Day. 
For the lucky mums, when you're drinking that milky cup of tea or lukewarm coffee tomorrow, think of the lonely mothers like me. We'll be sitting at home alone, waiting for the time-frame when we can make a phone or skype call. Squeeze your child or children just a little bit harder for a little bit longer. Then put on that handmade pasta necklace or those nana slippers, and wear them with pride for us. Okay? 
Happy Mother's Day x

The last time I saw these two - putting them back onto a plane to the Northern Territory in early January. A mother will do anything for her children  ...


vegemitevix said...

Oh darling that's beyond horrible. Thinking of you today with all my love. If you're around tonight I'd love to chat on Skype.

Domesblissity said...

Just letting you know Bronnie, you're not alone. No kids here either. Thought I might've got a phone call by now. Life's tough. I'm enjoying the day for what it is, just another day and when they come back I'll enjoy their squishing cuddles and kisses and 5 minutes later they'll be arguing again and I'll be reminded how hard this parenting gig is. My mother has passed on and not a day goes by that I don't think of her so rest assured, no matter when or where your kids are, they'll be thinking of you just like mine are. That's all I've got and I hang on to that. Much love to you sweetie. xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Bronnie,

The phrase that sticks in my mind from all that you wrote was "if I'd been a better mother". From everything I've ever read that you've written - I can tell that you absolutely adore your kids and that you have spent years putting them first.
I don't think it was possible for you to be a better mother.
Sometimes bad things happen to us, through absolutely no fault of our own.
You are a warm, loving and caring person/mother. The love and effort you have invested, will, one day in the future, come back to you.
When you described how your children helped you in the past, I sensed that their love for you runs very deeply. Not all children are so kind to their parents. They are like that because you taught them how to love and respect. Learn to be proud of what you have achieved with your children - it's immense.

Mother's Day for me is a hard one too. My mother wants nothing to do with me which is very painful. She was abusive to me as a child. Despite that, I still want to have contact with her, and the continued rejection is painful.
I am sorry that you are going through such a terrible time right now. Truly sorry - it's really awful. But I also see that your children are very blessed - they have a wonderful mother in you. One who loves them with such deep passion - just exactly like a mother should.
I truly hope that one day soon you will all be reunited for good, not just for holidays. That you will feel well. That you can saturate your children with that passion that you feel because with that passion, children can only blossom.

Permanent Procrastination said...

That really sucks, I'm very sorry. :( I hope you get to see them again soon.
Tegan xx - Permanent Procrastination

Life Love and Hiccups said...

Oh Bronnie... my hearts seriously just broke for you reading that. I am so so sorry you spent Mothers Day like that... that is just so unimaginably wrong. but please PLEASE do not ever say "if only I was a better mother" anyone who reads this can clearly feel in your words what an awesome mother you are. Much much love to you hun xx

Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You said...

This is one of the saddest posts I have read.. I am so sorry for you. I can't even imagine not being with my kids on the occasions when we need them around. I wish things were different for you...

Kirsty said...

I'm so, so sad for you right now Bron. I knew things have been tough but I didn't realise just how hard and unfair and crappy everything has turned out. I do like that there is a glimmer of hope and optimism in here - that you can still see your kids, that you will be with them again in the future. I know that does not help with the pain of separation and loss right now but hold onto that hope. They sound like wonderful individuals, and you had a huge hand in making them that way. hugs to you x

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh Bronnie I can't even imagine how you're feeling. It must so be devastating to see so many reminders of what really should be what you're experiencing with your kids. Much love to you xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh that must have been so hard. I can't image just how hard. I hope you get some time with your babes very soon.

Maxabella said...

I'm so sad for you, Bronnie. A mother surely does make the biggest sacrifices. x

Unknown said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. I made it through ... just I make it through every milestone, one step at a time, with a lot of help and support from my friends. I get to see the children in a few weeks so I'm looking forward to that now. I just know I'm going to have to play it cool and not smother them with love and cuddles. Now that is going to be a challenge!

Unknown said...

To all who read this post, and commented: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't know if you can see this because someone intimidated me into taking it down. But I have my kids back again now, and had had them for quite some time. I haven't been been able to post much, because that all took time, my own parents took ill (and my Mum died, but not before getting to see the kids had come home, which gave her so much joy), they helped care for her/love her before her death, and they are blissfully happy in Kingaroy, discovering talents they never knew they had. It takes a village to raise a child (or two) and I have that here. And my family. Thank you all x