To all of my readers who are parents, I want you to think back.
Remember the days when your baby wouldn’t take a nap to save his life. When he would fuss endlessly, burrow his fuzzy head into your shoulder, then whimper pathetically, but the second you even came close to the crib: Screaming. Bloody. Murder.
Remember the times when your baby would fight bedtime with everything in her — as if it were her sole purpose in life, the very battle for which she was placed on this earth to prepare to wage. So you would gently rock her in her favorite chair and hum, mumble, pray — anything, really — that would help her connect to your voice and drift off to sleep.
(Personally, given that I had no recollection of the “Hush Little Baby” lullabye, I’d make up silly words to fit the rhyming pattern: “And if that looking glass won’t see, Mommy’s going to buy you a circus flea. And if that circus flea won’t jump, Mommy’s going to buy you a gasoline pump. And if that gasoline pump should leak, Mommy’s going to dress up like a freak…” so on and so on. Fingers crossed I won’t have therapy issues down the road thanks to that stirring improv…)
Anyhow, remember those times?
Well guess what? This happened to me tonight. And my kids are 8 and 11.
My goal is to use this blog to focus on healing, but it’s also a very real reflection of my personal journey toward my next best self — what I call Me 2.0. So tonight, that journey includes a quick diversion from the main highway down a dark and lonely dirt road.
Just so happens that I ride this same dusty road every other week: My kids leave my custody tomorrow. And they are crying like babies tonight.
And my heart is broken, yet again.
As I sat beside my daughter’s bed tonight, her fighting sleep and sobbing despondently while telling me how much she wants to never leave again, me running my fingers through her hair and trying to distract her with stories and jokes, it occurred to me how familiar the feeling was. How much this seemed like those days from years ago when I would have given anything to help her drift off to peaceful slumber.
I even slowly backed out of her room tonight once she was officially “gone,” praying that I would successfully navigate around the squeaky board just inside and to the right of her door entrance. Years ago, that very board was frequently to blame for a jolt from the crib followed by a wail — and my return to the rocking chair for Round 13 of an eventual 22.
The only difference between then and now: Tonight’s battle didn’t follow copious rousing renditions of “Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga, Big Red Car” with The Wiggles.
Thank God for small miracles.
For any of you out there who has been through a divorce and shares custody: What do you do to ease the transition? How do you help your sobbing children, tears streaming down their faces, begging you to not make them go?
Because the distractions aren’t working in my home — the anecdotes and jokes seemingly fall on deaf ears. I even resorted to telling them about how I used to sing the silly made-up songs from their babyhood — no luck.
So, if anyone has ideas, please share. Cuz I’m about to break out The Wiggles, and that won’t be good for any of us…