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When a parent leaves

The Five Fish: When a parent leaves

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When a parent leaves

My dear bloggy friend Melissa has this awesome little blog which landed her on a little show called Dr. Phil (well not EXACTLY like that, but thats not the point). She was called to be a part of the show because of her very STOUT opinion about motherhood and parenting. Her post and her position on the show resonated with me as a mother and with my inner child.

I am an abandoned child. No, my parents did not necessarily leave me at the firehouse to become a ward of the state. I was raised by both my parents until their divorce. My father moved out and then checked out, emotionally, physically, and mentally. His ties to his children were non-existent, if ever ties were present, hard to tell based on his actions. My mother, her sole focus was to be sure we were taken care of physically and basically. Food on the table, clothes on our back, roof over our heads. I do not blame my mother at all, she did what she had to do as a responsible parent and she went into survival mode. Nurture was not a priority when coming straight out of a nasty and bitter divorce. My mother did right with myself and my siblings, I commend her for all that she endured with raising three kids alone and the trying years we gave her. She could have made the choice to leave. To leave her three children in the care of a man who was not even half able to care for himself, who had (and still has) addiction issues, denial, emotional detachment, strong sense of egoism. While my father was not the fittest parent to care for children he mentally, physically, and emotionally made the decision to leave. Which in my opinion is more damaging than a parent leaving based on a divorce.

While watching the bits of the show I was angry that mothers, MOTHERS, do this to their own children. They make the decision to leave, possibly out of the whole feministic movement, who knows. What I do know is that everytime I leave my house without my children my uterus turns in knots. I know when my oldest does something he should not have before my husband even calls, I can tell when my twins have gotten hurt before I get a call, before I run to their aid I know exactly what is wrong. I feel like something is missing when they are not there. While I enjoy my personal time, I feel my sense of responsibility to them, ALL THE TIME.

I am not saying I am a perfect mother or a mother that has some tremendous bond. As a parent myself I have days, moments, hours where I want to escape. Escape the pressures of being a parent. But only for a moment, until I am brought to center. Where I have my three feet of personal space, to take some deep breaths, to have a moment of Zen. Then I can tackle yet again, this job, duty, the love of being a mother.

I watched as these mothers left. They felt no attachment. None. None to care for their children. To provide. To nurture. To build a protection and level of security that all children need no matter what their age. While my mother provided basics during and after the divorce was finalized she began to nurture again and still does. My mother is the sweetest most hearty woman I know. Her goodness is what makes me what I am today with the balance of my father and his not so stellar qualities. Which segues me back to my father and his detachment. When parents divorce and leave they make the physical decision to leave the shared home, stated fact. Okay, these two people clearly cannot be under the same roof. However, the decision to leave should not include the decision to check out emotionally.

I am tainted goods. I have an inner child with deep rooted damage of a father who left. A parent who abandoned not just because of the divorce, but because he chose NOT to care for his children. Father's to some degree I can see how this is easy, to disconnect from children, they do not have the internal bonding that a mother shares with her child in utero. At times when I think of my pregnancies I can pin point each rib that each child dug a heel or elbow into. I still get a wince of pain. So I can see how fathers may checkout. But I cannot understand for the life of me why a mother would leave. HOW? How can she live with herself? Is she so delusional to think that she has no responsibility to that child? I commend Melissa for what she does.

She is a step-mother to her step-children that live with her and her husband (children's father) FULL-TIME. You can read all about her story here. I connected with Melissa because when my father divorced my mother he was immediately "dating" his previous ex-wife. Yeah, my mom was #2. My father makes the wise decision then not even a year after they are separated to "date" and three months after the divorce is finalized in January of 1988, April 1988 my new half-brother is born. O.K.A.Y. But at least my less than acceptable father marries and impregnated (twice) a good woman. Yes in 1989 a half sister arrived. Nonetheless though, my step-mother was my surrogate mother every other weekend that we were in the drunken custody of my father. If not for this woman life would be unbearable, scary, and downright suicidal if not a complete free-for-all. My step-mother took myself and my two siblings in as her own. She loved us, fed us, clothed us even. She would take us on hikes, plan day trips, dance with us, color with us, teach us to cook. Sounds like any normal mom right? Except she did not bear us from her womb, she merely married my sperm donor, who divorced MY mother.

I truly understand and feel the pain of the loss of a parent. The disconnect. The abandonment. But I have to say I would be devastated, I would not be who I am today if I did not have my mother nor my step-mother. I have been blessed to have had TWO extremely beautiful, strong, loving women in my life who taught me love, respect, and beauty. They taught me that even when the going gets tough, you dig in, bear down, and fight. My mother fought for us in the divorce, she fought to not let my father make any attempts to rip us from her. So for those of you who have lost your mothers I am so sorry. I know your feelings, but cannot begin to feel your pain. Your pain is like no other than can be healed. The loss of a parent to death can be grieved through the stages of grief, but a parent and or mother especially lost out of her own self-decision is devastating. Mothers are the world. They don't call everything her mother Earth for no reason, because a mother is our entire worlds.

For those mothers and fathers who have left I wish I could wrap my head around your reasoning, your disconnect, your emotional detachment, your failure to adhere to the unwritten laws of parenting. I do not judge, I just wish some of us could understand. Are your motives selfish? Are they the inability to cope? How can you abandon your child? YOUR CHILD?

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