It’s been nearly five months since Max and I picked up our lives and relocated to Washington state. This was not a random place we chose blindly, Max was born here. My parents and siblings live here. Also, Max’s father lives here.
Max’s dad and I split when he was one year old. The divorce papers stated that we would share our son, though I held sole custody. Despite what the arrangements were on paper, Max’s dad was in no condition to raise a child, and I was his only active parent. Until now.
Two to three days every week, Max is with his father. He lives two and a half hours from here and we meet in the middle at an espresso shop and trade my child like bought goods, except I hug my son more tightly that I would a package.
I hate this. I thought it might get easier, but it has become so paralyzingly difficult to not hear my son’s voice non-stop. There is nothing natural about not fully raising your child as a mother. I am overwhelmed with guilt every time he leaves and the guilt mounts hour by hour until I burst into tears and drive my car to where I have cell service so I can talk to him.
For almost eight years it was me and The Max and nobody else. Now, it doesn’t matter if I am surrounded by a million friends I feel insanely lonely when he is gone. Weird thing is I have never been a clingy mom. When Max is around, we do fun things together and have special activities we share, but most of the time we are just around each other. Sometimes, if he is too hyper and I need a break I tell him I get a Mommy time-out where I get ten minutes to sit in quiet.
Now, while I am certainly happy that Max’s dad is doing well and capable of now knowing his son, I still want my child here as opposed to there. I never had a baby with the intent of giving him away two days a week. But there is no happy medium for that. Some days I am tempted to make the five hour drive round trip so I can take Max to the park for a half-hour or just read him a story in bed. Some day I probably will, especially if the pain of this sharing arrangement continues to grow.