The thing no one tells you about when you’re a single parent that dates another single parent, is that when things don’t work out, you don’t get visitation. And that is tough. I spent over a year of my life loving that little girl, helping to raise that little girl, and just like that she is out of my life.
No, she is out of our lives.
You see, I’m a grown up. With lots of experience in areas of the heart. That experience has brought lots of love and laughter, but also lots of heartache. And with each heartache, comes a void. I’ve learned as time has passed to take that void and put it in a little box. And as a coping mechanism, that little box doesn’t get opened very often. So while I still love and miss that little girl, I don’t think about it too much. It is too painful.
But my babies, the tiny humans, they aren’t grown ups. They’ve also experience a lot of love and laughter, and also a lot of heartache. But unlike me, they aren’t calloused. They wear their heartache right on their sleeve for the world to see. And like me, they lost two people during that breakup. Amelia lost the only father figure she’s ever known, and she lost her little sister.
Because you see in this relationship we weren’t just playing. We were building a family and a future together. Olivia was her little sister. We both told my kids how important it was to teach Olivia the right things because they were her big brother and big sister. And they loved her as such. And silly me, I thought both kids were ok when Olivia was gone from their lives. I thought because I put my feelings in a box, and because they didn’t sit down and cry each night, that they were ok.
But you see, they aren’t. Their lives got ripped apart. Our family went from 5 to 3 in a single day. They never even got to say goodbye to her. And unlike when a marriage ends, my kids don’t get visitation. They don’t get to see the man they considered to be a father. They don’t get to see their little sister. And at least for Amelia, it is breaking her heart.
For the past 6 weeks Amelia has asked me daily if I was ever going to get married again. My response is typically that I don’t know. She then follows up with the question of whether or not I’m going to have another baby. To which I typically and emphatically answer No. (As an amusing aside to this story, I once accidentally told her we could get a puppy instead, which she has totally run with. She now tells everyone she’s getting a puppy even though I meant to tell her we could get a fish. She’s basically laid down the ultimatum that we either get a baby sister or a puppy. She’s holding my uterus hostage!!!) And then one day I thought to ask her if she wanted me to have another baby. She said “yes, because I want to be a big sister again”. It finally dawned on me that she doesn’t really want a new baby sister. She wants her old baby sister back. These questions are her trying to understand this loss in her life. Trying to understand why they aren’t coming back. Trying to understand how a man that told her he loved her and tucked her in at night, just disappeared one day, and took her baby sister with him.
And y’all, it’s tough to explain to your kids why relationships don’t work out. But it is even tougher to explain to them that they lost their family and probably won’t ever see them again. There is a lot of judgement going on in my head. I’m judging me because I put my kids in that situation. I told them to love her because family is forever. I judge him because now he isn’t the father he promised them he would be. But through all of that judgement, the hurt and loss that my kids feel is still there. There is no resolution because our relationship ended for a reason. But how do you tell your kids that you chose to end their relationships, too?
For now I’m dealing with their pain through trips to Space Camp and the beach, through sno cones and cheese dip, through lots of love and laughter of our own. We go on grand adventures on the weekends because we miss her less when we aren’t at home. I realize that is not an entirely healthy attitude about loss, but for now it is the only way I know how to help them. Because I can assure you that Amelia is not getting another little sister. Or a puppy. I can barely commit to a fish… I swear it’s like animals come to our house to die, and more loss is really just not in the cards right now. Did I tell you that their cat ran away the same weekend that Mike left?
Yes, life is hard some days. This is hard. And I pray daily for God to take my anger and guilt away about this. But so far peace hasn’t come. And so tonight I write. And tomorrow will be a new day.