In May FDW is hosting a new series on stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Click here for more on the series and a list of the contributors. This post was written by Tamara Lunardo who I first encountered through her book What a Woman is Worth and blogging at Deeper Story. She is absolutely worth your time.
Tomorrow I get to have my kids.
Since tomorrow is Mother’s Day, I’m sure that seems obvious—but it’s not. See, according to the schedule, I’ll have them next weekend, so I wouldn’t normally have them this weekend (per item 4), but this Sunday is Mother’s Day, and that’s item 6(b), which takes precedence. Whew.
This is the life I wanted. Well, that might not the most precise phrase. But, “This is the schedule upon which my five children, their dad, his girlfriend, her son, my fiancée, and I must base our daily lives, and, somehow, it works” is a bit wordy.
I remember talking to my therapist when I was in my darkest days of separation, and she asked me, without a hint of judgment in her tone, whether I might be happier parenting part-time. I had spent my life since age 19 staying home with my children; I had given so much that I was gone. So this suggestion, given not as an insult, but as a legitimate option, felt like reprieve. If I began spending part of my day investing in work that I found meaningful, maybe I would get some of myself back. Maybe my kids would get a healthy mom.
The separation ended, painfully and needfully, in divorce, so work became compulsory. And it became a delight. My kids came back to a purpose-filled mom at the end of the day, and I had the distinct pleasure of actually being happy to see them again.
And this parenting plan by which we live our healing, thriving lives does more of the same. It gives me two kid-free days a week to invest in my beloved, and it offers me a new chance, two days a week and every-other weekend (two in a row if the schedule’s in my favor), to be the full mom my kids deserve.
I no longer take for granted their faces, their voices, their mundane and extraordinary moments because when I have my children, I’m all too aware that it won’t be for long. (And even if you live with your children every day, I promise you, it won’t be for long either.) So when I have them, I have them—I listen, I cuddle, I savor.
And that’s the life I wanted.
She is currently writing a book of poetry and a book of how-Jesus-helped-her-be-gay. And since she enjoys actually earning money, you can hire her to edit your writing too.
She loves her future wife, their five children, the Oxford comma, and you.