This is a very difficult post to write. It leaves me feeling vulnerable. I am sure some of you will read this and disagree with my decisions. That is ok. I am reflecting on my own life. This is my story. These are my memories. I owe myself acceptance and closure.
I do not have full custody of my oldest daughter Josie. Her father and I have joint-custody. We have always shared our time with her. If you are interested, you can read part of that story here. When Josie was little, we split the days of the week evenly, so she would have equal time with both of us. We would alternate weekends, and that worked for us. For a while anyway. When she was three, love found me when I least expected it, and it turned my world upside down.
My husband and I have an amazing love story. I’ll try to keep it short and only explain how we met. My brother introduced us in 2009. I had just reached a point in my life where I thought I would never fall in love again, and I would quite possibly die alone. At first I was not interested in him at all. I knew he had to move around for work, and having a long distance relationship was not something I wanted. Also, I had a daughter. I was in no position to be traveling any time soon. Four days was all it took. We fell in love immediately. We were crazy about each other, head over heels, inseparable. ( by the way, we still are) We were married three months later, and eight months after that, our daughter Lily was born. Soon after, we got the news that would change everything. Our family was going to have to move from Maryland to Texas. We had three months to prepare and get our things in order.
The news crushed me. In my heart I had always known this day would come, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. I had Josie. What was I going to do? I was so angry, and I took my anger out on Josie’s father. I yelled at him. I wanted her to stay with us. I threatened lawyers and court, the whole nine yards. I was in an endless amount of pain, and in no way was I prepared to handle the inevitable. We were going to Texas. We had no choice. I remember praying harder than ever. I remember asking for peace and guidance. I knew I needed to take a step back and assess the situation. I needed to look at the entire picture. I needed to think of Josie and not just myself.
Josie’s entire life was in Maryland. Her father and I had been raising her together since the day she was born. Both of us and our families loved her more than anything. Everything and everyone she knew reside in Maryland. Including her school, her friends, and her family. Her father was in Maryland, and he really was a great father. Although he was not always my favorite person in the world, there is no denying that he has always been a wonderful father to Josie, and he loves her more than anything. Knowing all of this, what kind of person would I be if I took all of that away from her. My heart was breaking, but I never felt that taking her away from her dad and the only life she knew was the right thing to do. I soon came to the conclusion that I would have to leave my four year old in Md. while I moved to Texas with my husband and newborn. We both decided I would get Josie summers and holidays. My parents would be able to get her on the weekends.
I cried the entire drive to Texas. The next couple of years were the hardest in my life. I fell into a deep depression. I was riddled with guilt and I felt like a terrible mother for leaving. I blamed my husband, and our marriage suffered. So many days I wanted to run away. I thought of taking Lily and moving back. What was I thinking!? I loved my husband more than anything. He needed us, and we needed him. I was just hurting so bad. It was so hard to function without having Josie. I thought of her every second of everyday. I cried all of the time. I was physically ill. Anxiety took over my life. We skyped a lot, and we saw each other summers and holidays. Eventually, with time, things started to get better. Josie was doing great. She had adjusted so well. She was happy. I told myself that as long as she was happy, I could be happy too.
We moved to Rhode Island a little over a year ago. We are a lot closer now, and we are able to visit MD a lot more. We all miss Josie everyday. I still cry. Being away from her is one of the hardest things I have ever done, or will ever do. I struggle daily. When I look back on things, I know that I made the right decision. I would make it again if I had to. As hard as it was, I believe in my heart that as her mother, I made the right decision. My decision was selfless, and I did what I thought was best for her, not what was best for me. We are leaving for Maryland this weekend, and seeing Josie will be the best Valentines gift ever.
I feel like whenever I share this story with others, they judge me. Hell, you may be judging me right now. Us relocating was out of our hands. Even though I am her mother, it was not my place to take her away from her father. I believed that then, and I believe it now. It has been six years. We have made it work. It has not been easy at all, but I stand by the sacrifices I have made.