Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Time limit on sadness

Yesterday was my son’s birthday. Hard to believe he’s 10 years old.

I love my children’s birthdays. I always crawl in bed with them on the morning of their birthday so I can make sure I’m the first person to tell them Happy Birthday. I hold them and tell them the story about the day they were born.

Even my usually cranky teenager still looks forward to our morning snuggle and hearing about how my doctor was dressed as Santa for the hospital Christmas party and freaked me out when he came into my room to check on me the day after she was born.

Then I let them eat birthday cake for breakfast, or if they want, I make them pancakes with whipped cream. They get hot chocolate or a milkshake.

But I didn’t get to do that with Jude yesterday. I didn’t get to have my son in my home on his birthday. He was with the ex.

It was hard getting out of the bed yesterday morning, but I forced myself up and took a deep breath. I went running and got ready for work. I tried to stay as busy as possible at work and stay positive. I got through the day with only crying a little bit twice and I worked so quickly, I was completely done with all my work by 2:00.

As soon as the clock hit 3:20, I ran to my car so I could get to see my children from 4-6.
Why 4-6? Because that’s what the court says I can do. If the kids are with the ex on their birthday, I get to see my children from 4-6. Two hours.

Two freaking hours. Two stupid hours! AHHH!

I’ve ranted before that it makes me angry that the court can dictate when I get to see my children in this stupid shared custody arrangement. Why does it make me angry? Because I can’t believe I live in a world where a stranger can make decisions for the children I gave birth to.

And why does a stranger get to make these decisions for me? Because I made a mistake.

I made a big mistake. I trusted someone who lied to me and now I have a stupid shared custody agreement that made me go without my children on Thanksgiving, Christmas morning, and now my son’s birthday.

But I’m not the only person in the world who has to deal with this crap so I’m not going to go on and on about it. It’s not healthy to focus on the bad all the time.

Moving on means you have to change your way of thinking. I’ve been focused on that a lot lately. Of course moving on means you still get to cry sometimes and you still get angry—but you have to set a time limit for being angry and force yourself to find that happy place.

I had to change the way I was doing things. Fighting against the system and obsessing about it was literally killing me.

In the end, I know I will always have something special with my children that other people will never get to have and we’ll make it through this.

I mentioned in my last blog that I had to go back to counseling for a few sessions to get my feet grounded again. It didn’t take much “talking” to realize I had to change the way I was thinking because what I was doing was not working for me.

When I have a negative thought, I have to replace it with something positive. So when I wake up sad because I don’t have my little guy to snuggle with, I have to throw on the running shoes, find a playlist that reminds me of a time that was really happy for me and  turn it up and focus on what I can do for the day to make me happier.

When I’m tired of a quiet house, I have to get out and do something fun. I’m starting my Christmas shopping. I’m putting together scrapbooks I’ve wanted to do for years but never got around to doing.

I’m making plans with my husband to do things we can’t do with the children or to go places we’ve always wanted to go. I’m writing projects that I’ve been putting off. I even have a trip to Texas planned.

I’m doing anything I can think of that is positive, things that tap into that happy place.

That way, when I see things that remind me of the children that I will miss for the next few weeks, I can give myself a minute to cry or be sad or mad. And then it’s time to dust my hands off and say, “okay, that’s enough of that, now let’s do something fun.”

I'm lucky. I have a husband that loves me and goes out of his way to make me laugh and smile even though his heart is breaking over the children, too. Some days I have to cheer him up, but most days he reminds me that I have to shake off the sadness and so something that makes me smile. 

Life is too short to sit around shell-shocked over things you cannot control or people who are unpredictable and hurtful. Life is for the living and I’m going to live it the way it was meant to be lived. 

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