I hold a tight grip around what I think should happen. The kind of grip that has to be ripped off, where you have to hammer each finger repeatedly and pry and attempt to uncurl them. 

I don’t want this. 

I don’t want my oldest three daughters living their summer days a block away from my house with their stepmom while their dad works. 

Should I seat myself gingerly on a settee, spread my skirt folds around me properly and smile silently? Sit up straight with grace and poise and fan myself every so gently as I wave to my daughters  through my window?

But…I’m their mom. Should I pull out photos of myself with a weird mushroom haircut and toasted almond lipstick, pregnant at 21? A tent t-shirt, a layer of net maternity panties, a layer of cotton panel maternity jeans…with stylish boot cut openings barely skimming the top of my shoes because I never did find long length…is that what we all need to see to remember I’m the mom?

Should I highlight the “right of first refusal” clause and text it to Norman? I might have done that. And he says–that doesn’t apply anymore; they’re old enough that they don’t need a babysitter. 

Should I cry about it to my own mom? I might have. Should I create an analogy where Norman is at his house, I’m working 40 hours, and the girls are sitting at my house with their stepdad? I might have done that too. 

Should I think about our summer days of years past…dying their hair with punky colors, watching them play softball, giving each other manicures, taking them to swim, signing them up for the summer reading program, taking them to my gym where I ran the kids’ summer fitness program, teaching them how to crochet, helping them set up an eBay business to sell their outgrown clothes, tie-dying tank tops and tshirts, watching them learn to swim like champions with Tideriders, driving them to church camp…

Should I throw my phone at the bed and leave the room? Should I call my lawyer? Should I argue and debate and push my side of things down his throat? Should I say that she doesn’t have a right to play house with my daughters?

Maybe I did do all that.

Should I pray?

Should I feel my grip relax in a calm, peaceful way that no hammer could produce? Should I see his side? Should I let go?

I’m not saying I’m some shy, agreeable fairy by nature. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not full of gracious wisdom on my own. 

People don’t tell you this part of a divorce. And you don’t know it until you live it. And if you haven’t lived it, God love you, but you cannot relate. You literally cannot empathize. You can imagine as a friend or you can scoff as a non-friend, but that’s it. 

Sitting on the back deck with your two youngest daughters, close enough to hear your oldest three squealing and laughing in a yard just over the hump in the road. 

Maybe I should’ve just been a perfect person then? And not gotten two divorces…

Oh yeah, let me just get right on that. 

I wanted to be right. You know? I wanted things to go my way. I wanted to keep my grip locked tight, tight, tight. But I thought, and I prayed. And I texted back that we can do what he wants. I’m not saying I didn’t fight first, but…

It’s not always about being right. 

It’s about doing right.









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15 thoughts on “Grip

  1. While it is hard to be away from them, I hope you also know how very lucky you are that they have a father who is engaged with them and WANTS to see them, do things with them, share his and their lives, and has hopefully married someone who likes your kids and welcomes the opportunity to bring a new dimension to their lives. Not everyone has that…..I didn’t. My kids had a dad that once finished with me, was also finished with them. That was hurtful to them….hurtful in ways I will never be able to fix no matter how much I try to love it out of them. Knowing they have not one, but two sets of parents who have their best interests at heart must be an intensely peaceful feeling for them. Best of luck for the summer!

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  2. I cannot imagine how difficult and painful it must be to watch your children be raised in two homes. You will always be their mom no matter what. You don’t have to remind anyone of that. A great leader doesn’t have to go around telling people, hey I’m a great leader, listen to me. No, people follow them because they are in fact leaders.

    Your girls will never forget you and it sounds like they’ve got a dang good Dad who cares and is amicable and accommodating. It also sounds like your daughters stepmom is very gracious and kind. There are a lot of stepmoms out there that wouldn’t be as passive and loving. Maybe you don’t want to hear that. Maybe it makes you mad to even think about. But you are blessed beyond measure to have an engaged Father for your girls and a stepmom that isn’t evil and coniving, trying to turn your kids. I pray you find peace and joy where it can only be found. I am a part of a blended family too and understand very well how it can be hell on earth. I always have to ask myself this same question – is it best for them or am I upset because of how it affects me? Whatever is best for the kids is all that matters at the end of the day, no matter how long it hurts in the now – I’d rather them look back 20 years from now and say, my Mom handled it right and treated my Dad and stepmom with respect no matter what. To me, that would mean the most.

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      1. That wasn’t my full comment. I’m confused where the rest of it went to…or how the most important bits got deleted. I do understand because I am a part of a blended family. You have a lot to be thankful for.

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            1. Oh weird. Your comment said Candace Churchwell, and now they all say Marie Miller. But they are all from the same email and IP. Heh, either way…thanks for the prayers, Candace and/or Marie.
              I am sure your commentary and concern for me and my children comes from an unbiased, unmasked, loving place.

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