I stayed home with my children for seven years while I was married.
I loved being with them.
We had an idyllic lifestyle. Draft horses chewing hay. Pheasants calling from the meadows. Fresh whole milk on the table.
My ex traveled most of the time.
So we stayed home on the farm.
Sometimes we wouldn’t go to town for a month.
Meaning the kids and I. But when my daughter was two, things blew up. She’s my youngest, so she didn’t get as much of this peaceful living in her life before things became chaotic. Before the divorce.
But within two months of being potty-trained after two years of being cared for exclusively by her mother, my tiny little daughter was kept from me for more than 35 days while her dad continued his normal work and travel schedule and I sat waiting not five miles away. The court would not give me the first right of refusal. His sister kept them while he was gone.
When they came back to me, she clung to my side like a baby monkey. She did not smile. Even at the zoo.
She wouldn’t let her feet touch the ground.
I was not an addict. Not abusive. Not a troubled person. I never reciprocated. Never used my vacation days to block his time like he did mine. I tried to do the right thing.
So I still don’t understand why she had to endure that kind of pain.
But really, it was just the beginning.